Zinc Supplement: Benefits, Uses, Deficiency, and More
Zinc is one of the essential minerals that we must provide to our bodies. This is because it is present in all the cells of the body, so a deficit of this mineral could lead to health problems.
If you have ever wondered what zinc is used for, you should know that its properties are involved in our growth, the health of our immune system, and the condition of our skin, hair, and nails, in addition to other benefits that we will explain later.
If you're not ingesting the right amount of zinc through the indicated foods, different damages can occur in the body which mainly results in a weak immune system. In this article, we will explain the benefits of zinc in the body, as well as the symptoms of its deficit and the proper dosage.
Why do our bodies need zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in protein synthesis, as well as contributing to the regulation of the production of cells of the immune system.
In this way, the benefits of zinc intervene in the growth and development of the body and the formation of DNA, among others. As a consequence, a zinc deficiency could translate into an increased susceptibility to certain diseases, a point we will focus on later in this article.
The vast majority of zinc is absorbed in the small intestine, and this process is saturable, as levels can be reduced and, as a consequence, the transport rate also decreases. Once the mineral has been absorbed in the small intestine, it is transported to the liver, and from this organ, it is distributed to different tissues.
Among all the benefits of zinc for the body, the following are worth mentioning:
Proper development of the organism
This mineral plays a fundamental role in the growth and development of the human body. Zinc acts in the formation of bones and their mineralization, as well as in that of the reproductive organs.
That is why a zinc deficiency can lead to growth retardation in children. Together with minerals such as calcium, copper, and magnesium, zinc is used to stimulate bone mineralization in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Zinc has the function of activating T-lymphocytes, which are useful in dealing with different types of infections. Thus, this mineral intervenes in the control and regulation of immune responses and fights cancer cells.
Therefore, one of the main benefits of zinc in the body is to fight infections, as well as possible diseases, by strengthening the immune system.
Promotes prostate health
An adequate dose of zinc can have a positive effect on men. This is because this mineral blocks the production of a derivative of testosterone, which can cause an enlarged prostate.
Zinc for diabetics
Zinc is involved in the processing, secretion, and storage of insulin. The consumption of zinc can be positive for people suffering from diabetes since they tend to eliminate this mineral through urine. Thus, consuming zinc would help to maintain optimal levels and avoid a deficit.
Something as frequent as diarrhea could be combated with an adequate dose of zinc. This is because, being one of the essential minerals, zinc is useful in the synthesis of proteins and cell growth, as well as intervening in the transport of water and electrolytes in the intestines.
A lack of zinc facilitates the duration of diarrhea and increases the risk of gastrointestinal infections. In addition, this mineral stimulates the production of acids needed to digest food properly, the lack of which can cause food to back up into the esophagus (food pipe), causing heartburn.
Other benefits of zinc for the body
Zinc for hair, skin, and nails
Zinc is an essential mineral for healthy skin, hair, and nails. It helps protect the mucous membranes of the skin and regulates the oil glands, which is essential for preventing acne. It is also involved in the synthesis of collagen and various proteins necessary for optimal skin health. A lack of zinc can lead to white spots on the nails, poor-looking hair, and other signs on the skin.
Zinc for eyesight
Another benefit of zinc has to do with eye health. In the eyes, there are the highest levels of zinc, so having the right amount can be crucial in avoiding vision problems.
In this same context, this mineral has been used as a treatment for macular degeneration (age-related vision impairment condition).
Zinc is one of the minerals that help maintain libido. In men, this mineral is effective for erectile dysfunction, as well as being vital for the health of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency
Like any other mineral, zinc must be found in the body in the right amount. Otherwise, various signs may appear as a result of a shortage. When this happens, the functions explained above may be disturbed. The main symptoms of zinc deficiency are
Weak immune system. As a result, the person is more prone to certain infections and diseases
Sight, taste, or smell problems
Growth problems in children
Recommended doses of zinc
The dose of zinc that each person needs may vary depending on the individual's health. Thus, some of the people who may require higher levels of this mineral are:
People with anorexia
People who have suffered from malnutrition
People suffering from Crohn's disease
People suffering from ulcerative colitis
People who have undergone intestinal surgery
The recommended dose of zinc in women is 8 mg/day, while in men, the dose is 11 mg/day.
Zinc is one of the essential minerals that our bodies need for proper functioning, and it is contained in every cell.
If you suspect you are zinc deficient, visit your doctor and ask for a test to confirm if you need supplementation of this extraordinary mineral.