Zinc is one of the most Zinc is an important metal found of our body. After iron, it is the second most abundant component of the body, as it participates in many biochemical processes and acts as a cofactor for many enzymes. Let’s get to know it better.
What is zinc and where do we find it?
Zinc belongs to the group of metals. Foods rich in zinc are red meat, chicken, fish, mainly shellfish, eggs, legumes, and many cereal products are enriched in zinc. Rich dietary sources of zinc are mainly animal feeds and, to a lesser extent, herbal foods, while its absorption increases when there is protein in the meal. The body has the capacity to absorb about 20-40% of the food. Zinc is also available in the form of nutritional supplements.
Zinc deficiency is not a common condition. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite, impaired immune function, hair loss, diarrhea, delayed wound healing, taste abnormalities. Some population groups at increased risk are:
– Older people
– People with anorexia
– People who have a particularly strict and restrictive diet
– People with malabsorption syndromes (Crohn’s disease or celiac disease)
Zinc – properties
Zinc is considered as a key element for biochemical reactions. It has strong antioxidant properties, it participates in the metabolism of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) while it is a cofactor for over 300 enzymes. In addition, it participates in gene expression, cell proliferation, body defense system, taste, vision, and smell, as well as in the action of many hormones, such as insulin and thyroid hormones.
Acne and psoriasis
Lack of zinc results in dermatological issues. Many studies have shown that taking zinc supplements or topical use of creams with zinc help reduce the intensity of acne symptoms and can also be combined with antibiotics. Even in cases of psoriasis, there was a significant reduction in the intensity of symptoms.
Ulcer and intestine permeability
Zinc contributes to wound healing and faster mucosal repair. Many studies have found that zinc helps accelerate the healing of the stomach mucosa in cases of ulcers, and significantly enhances the intestinal mucosa.
One of the most common and popular uses of zinc is for the treatment of common colds and flu. Zinc is a key element for a strong immune system. Taking zinc may reduce the intensity of the symptoms (runny nose, cough, and sore throat), but even the duration of the cold. There are indications that taking adequate zinc may reduce the chances of developing cold or getting sick, especially high-risk groups, such as the elderly.
Studies have shown that people with depression have lower levels of zinc in their bodies, while people with high levels of zinc have a correspondingly lower risk of developing depression, in general. Supplemental zinc intake along with antidepressant treatment may have benefits in reducing depressive symptoms. In any case, consult a doctor before taking any supplement.
Reduction of glucose levels
Zinc is a trace element that is involved in the action of insulin, a hormone responsible for the metabolism of glucose and carbohydrates. Investigations have shown that supplemental zinc may significantly enhance the action of insulin, particularly in obese people with insulin resistance or zinc deficiency. To avoid hypoglycemia, people who take insulin or diabetic medication, it is advisable to first consult their physician before taking zinc supplements.
Cold sores are due to the HSV-1 virus (Herpes Simplex Virus -1). Zinc has very strong antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that people using creams with zinc oxide every 2-3 hours have faster healing and reduced intensity of symptoms (itching, pain, etc.).
Zinc deficiency also adversely affects the health of hair and nails. A study has shown that people with hair loss have significantly lower levels of zinc, and restoring serum zinc levels with supplements, there was a significant improvement of hair growth.
Zinc may contribute to the fertility of men with low testosterone levels. It also appeared to have a positive effect on the amount of sperm.
Available forms and types of zinc
Various forms of zinc are available in the market. The most common are Zinc sulfate, Zinc Picolinate, Zinc Citrate, Zinc orotate, and Zinc gluconate. Other less common forms are zinc acetate, zinc glycerate, zinc oxide, but they are usually less absorbable. The percentage of elemental zinc varies in form. For example, about 23% of zinc sulphate consists of elemental zinc. Therefore, 220 mg zinc sulphate contains 50 mg elemental zinc. Chelated zinc forms are also more absorbable.
Among the most absorbable form is picolinic zinc, which ensures greater bioavailability. Conversely, zinc sulphate has little availability and may cause stomach upset. Zinc is available in tablets, capsules and pastilles. It is often combined in formulas with magnesium in their aspartic form (ZMA).
The recommended zinc intake depends on gender, age and stage of development. In adults it ranges from 8-11 mg while in pregnancy and lactation, the needs are increased to 12-13 mg per day.
As a usual dose, they are 5-15 mg per day, and if there is a risk of zinc deficiency, the dose may be increased by more than 25 mg per day. The upper daily intake limit is 40 mg (Tolerable Upper Limit). Overdose can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, nausea, metallic taste and diarrhea.
Taking iron in excess of 25 mg can significantly reduce zinc levels. In addition, zinc may reduce the absorption of copper; it is often recommended to take copper and zinc preparations simultaneously, especially if zinc supplements are taken in high doses or over a long period of time.
Zinc interacts with various types of drugs such as antibiotics (quinolone, tetracycline) and penicillamine. Taking the drug at least 2 hours before or 4-6 hours after taking zinc minimizes this interaction. Diuretics increase the excretion of zinc in the urine.
In Vita4you you can find a wide range of dietary supplements with zinc.