The zinc is an essential mineral in our body, participates in the major biochemical reactions that take place in the human body, specifically in the growth, development and strength of the immune and neurological systems.

Zinc serves in the human body in the prevention of diseases caused by viruses and bacteria (cold, flu, cough), in men for prostate problems, wound healing, strengthening nails, skin and hair, in general, its consumption allows important nutrition for the body.

He was not well known for human health issues. But studies carried out by Dr. Prasad in children and adolescents with iron deficiency anemia, revealed in 1963 favorable changes when taking zinc supplements.

General uses of zinc

Zinc is a very important mineral for the functioning of a strong immune system, assimilation of proteins and carbohydrates.

It is stored in muscles, in high concentrations in red and white blood cells, bones, liver, skin, and pancreas.

Important amounts of zinc are found in different foods and animals such as: legumes, nuts, cereals, ginger, seafood, among others. Their intakes ensure great benefits, for example:

Kids:

Consumption of appropriate doses of zinc is recommended during pregnancy. Since it counteracts excess copper in babies in the first years of life and increases growth and weight in children, as well as malnutrition, sickle cell, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders (ADHD). For this reason, it has been necessary to establish the Recommended Daily Intake (RDA) of Zinc for:

  • You drink between 0 to 6 months): 2mg a day.
  • Children between 7 months to 3 years: 3 mg per day.
  • Children between 4 to 8 years of age: 5 mg per day.
  • Children 9 to 13 years of age: 8 mg per day.
  • Girls between 14 to 18 years of age: 9 mg per day.
  • Children 14 and older: 11 mg per day.

Men:

Zinc has a great impact on the male reproductive system. Zinc has been shown to help men prevent prostate problems such as benign hyperplasia. It helps in the production of healthy sperm and to increase testosterone levels.

A deficit of zinc and in turn a low production of testosterone produces an imbalance in the body such as loss of muscle mass, sexual desire, accumulation of fat. Using supplements these alterations can be corrected correctly.

It helps the formation of muscles, such as those of the back, in the company of training routines to make them bigger and stronger.

Women:

For women, the consumption of zinc of 8 to 11 milligrams per day, is crucial in the stage of pregnancy.

The lack of this mineral at this stage can cause infections, hinder fetal development and contribute to the low birth weight of the baby.

For the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) the consumption of 10 milligrams per day helps to avoid the symptoms. You can get your intake of this nutrient through diet or through the use of supplements.

It helps to strengthen the elasticity of the skin, eliminating stretch marks and rejuvenating the tissues. It is also useful as a preventive method against the formation of cleft lip and Down syndrome in babies.

Zinc properties

  • Improves estrogen sensitivity in women.
  • Protects the liver
  • Antiviral agent : Strengthens the immune system. Protects against fungal infections and various infectious disorders such as: conjunctivitis and pneumonia. Calms cough, runny nose, and congestion.
  • Astringent : Relieves skin irritation
  • Healing : Heals wounds, burns and skin irritations.
  •  Liver protector :
  • Helps healthy hair and nail growth.
  • Skin protector : Zinc has components for vitamin A to act on the skin to make it look better. It is considered essential for the adherence of collagen to the skin and the prevention of wrinkles. In cases of acne vulgaris and severe herpes, lotions composed of amounts of zinc, erythromycin, and glycine are applied to the skin.
  • Antiseptic : In cases of acne vulgaris and severe herpes, lotions are applied to the skin made up of amounts of zinc, erythromycin and glycine.
  • Anti-inflammatory : Reduces chronic inflammation and risk of atherosclerosis.
  • Antioxidant : It is a powerful antioxidant; rejuvenating the skin and slowing down the oxidative process in the body.
  • Helps in blood clotting.

Zinc deficiency

As it has been previously read, zinc has important roles in human health, which is why the deficiency in our body has a direct impact on our body, causing:

  • Eating disorders
  • Loss of appetite
  • Neurosensory changes
  • Weightloss
  • Anorexia
  • Alopecia
  • Reproductive capacity alterations
  • Acne
  • Colds, frequent flus
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Delayed growth of children
  • Small white spots on the nails
  • Dermatitis.
  • Alterations of the bones.
  • Hair loss
  • Increased cholesterol

Precautions and recommendations

Despite providing a large number of benefits to the body, zinc may have certain contraindications and it is recommended:

  • High doses of zinc are implemented in people with health problems, under medical care.
  • To strengthen the immune system in adults, 300 milligrams is recommended.
  • For the general population; the intake of this mineral should be 10 milligrams daily.
  • People with hypertension are prone to low zinc and high copper levels.
  • It is advisable to avoid the consumption of zinc in people suffering from tuberculosis.
  • In cases of senile dementia in older people, the administration of zinc and magnesium is recommended.
  • Consuming excess zinc prevents copper absorption, which causes anemia and cardiac arrhythmia.
  • In cases of toxicity due to zinc, signs such as; abdominal pain, nausea, stomach pain, sore throat, diarrhea and vomiting. It is recommended that you drink several glasses of water and / or milk, followed by medical attention.

Foods rich in zinc

To have a balanced diet with significant amounts of zinc in the body, you can eat foods that you can include in your daily diet and among many are:

  • Dark chocolate: Contains 10 milligrams of zinc (without sugar).
  • Beef: Provides essential proteins for cell formation in the body and offers a contribution of significant amounts of zinc.
  • Beef liver: Food rich in zinc, but particularly veal liver is the one that contains the greatest amount. It supplies about 12 milligrams of zinc per 100 gram serving.
  • Legumes: beans, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas.
  • Beer yeast.
  • Nuts.
  • Vegetables: asparagus, cauliflower, potatoes, banana.
  • Nuts: pistachio, almonds and walnuts.
  • Yolk.

Good proportions of these foods in the daily diet can guarantee high levels of zinc in the body. Even the consumption of vitamin A, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and copper in combination with zinc, will enhance their actions in the body.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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