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If there's one mineral that has incredible benefits to the human body, it is zinc. Until recently, zinc has been under the radar as far as how exactly it can help our bodies. Doctors and scientists have been conducting research to discover and share the benefits of zinc.
As stated above, zinc is a mineral. It is called an essential trace element because very small amounts of zinc are needed for human health. Since the human body does not store excess zinc, it must be consumed on a regular basis as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Common dietary sources of zinc include red meat, poultry, and fish. Without the proper amount of zinc, it can lead to zinc deficiency.
Zinc deficiency can cause short stature, reduced ability to smell and taste food, acute diarrhea in children, slow wound healing, low blood pressure, slow bone growth, depression, hair loss, pale and dry skin, fatigue, Wilson's Disease, and the inability of the testes and ovaries to function properly. To prevent zinc deficiency and its consequences, zinc is usually taken by mouth.
So, What is the Importance of Zinc?
The health benefits of zinc include a proper functioning of the immune and digestive systems, controlled diabetes, reduction in stress levels, improved metabolism, and an increased rate of healing for acne and wounds. It is also helpful in terms of pregnancy, hair care, eczema, weight loss, night blindness, cold, eye care, appetite loss, and much more.
To understand why zinc is so beneficial, we first must explore the role it plays in the body. Zinc plays a vital role in protein synthesis and helps to regulate the cell production in the immune system of the human body. It is mostly found in the strongest muscles of the body, and is found in especially high concentrations in the white and red blood cells, retina, skin, liver, kidneys, bones, and pancreas. In men, the semen and the prostate gland also contain significant amounts of zinc.
In the human body, there are more than 300 different enzymes that require zinc to function normally. Researchers believe that 3,000 out of 100,000 proteins have this vital mineral.
A healthy, normal person has two to three grams of zinc at any given time. There are organs in the body which secrete it, such as the salivary gland, prostate gland, and the pancreas. Even cells involved in the activity of the immune system secrete zinc. It is used up in various metabolic processes and eliminated through normal excretory and urinary channels, so it needs to be replenished often. If it isn't replenished, that is when symptoms of zinc deficiency will appear.
Important Sources of Zinc
The most important food source of zinc is meat, and other products like oysters, turnips, peas, oats, peanuts, almonds, whole wheat grain, pumpkin seeds, ginger root, and pecan nuts have smaller, but still worthwhile amounts of zinc.
15 Incredible Health Benefits of Zinc
1. Skin Care: Studies have shown that zinc can be an effective home remedy for curing acne. This mineral is also important for eliminating the acne from the skin. It regulates and controls the amount of testosterone in the body, which plays a dominant part in causing acne. In addition, zinc is also involved in collagen synthesis, which aids in normalizing the presence of oil under the skin, and improves the maintenance of healthy skin. Acne can leave permanent scars on the skin, and zinc can help reduce the evidence of those scars.
2. Treats Eczema: Eczema is mainly caused by a deficiency of zinc in the body. It plays an important role in healing chronic infections and assists the body in restoring its ability to heal properly and completely. This irritation can be cleared up by re-balancing the zinc content in the blood.
3. Prevents Prostate Disorder: This mineral is very important in dealing with prostate disorders. Its deficiency causes an enlargement of the prostate gland and makes it extremely vulnerable to cancer. It is advised to take 15mg of zinc every day, under close medical observation, when suffering from a prostate disorder. Studies have shown a reduction in tumor growth in the prostate when normal levels of this mineral are present in the system.
4. Improves Cognitive Function: Zinc has a strong impact on mental function because it can pair up with vitamin B6 to ensure the proper function of neurotransmitters that communicate within the body. It is also found in high concentrations in the hippocampus, which controls thought and memory. For those who have suffered an injury, zinc keeps the brain function strong, as it naturally diverted to other parts of the body for healing purposes.
5. Improves Senses: In particular, the senses of taste and smell. Taste buds and olfactory cells are reliant on zinc, and it is necessary for the proper development and growth of those specific cells. Studies have shown that raising zinc levels can improve those two senses and help them function at optimal levels.
6. Treats Cold & Flu Symptoms: Zinc supplements help in decreasing the severity and duration of a cold and other mild illnesses. This mineral reduces the number of pro inflammatory cytokines, which aggravate the body during cold or other infections. Also, its ability to stimulate white blood cell activity makes it ideal for reducing colds and infections. Zinc helps in protecting against infectious disorders and fungal infections, including pneumonia and conjunctivitis.
7. Weight Loss: Zinc plays a leading role in weight loss for obese individuals. A number of studies have connected it with a decrease in appetite, which prevents overeating. This is related to zinc's manipulation of the ghrelin hormone, which tells the body when it wants to eat.
8. Boosts Reproductive Health: Zinc is essential for the repair and functioning of DNA. It is essential for rapid growth of cells and for the building of major constituents of the cell over the course of pregnancy. The development and enzymatic activity that takes place during pregnancy make it one of the most important nutrients for infants and mothers. In males, zinc assists in spermatogenesis and the development of the sex organs. In females, zinc aids in all the reproductive phases.
9. Stimulates Protein Synthesis: Zinc acts as an antioxidant and is involved in some of the biochemically decisive reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, enzymatic function, and carbohydrate metabolism. Since this mineral is involved in so many integral systems and functions of the body, it must be included in your diet!
10. Regulates Cell Growth: Zinc is an essential component in a number of enzymes that help in regulating cell growth, protein synthesis, hormonal levels, DNA, gene transcription, energy metabolism, and other related functions.
11. Prevents Cancer: In males, zinc prevents premature damage or strain in the prostate gland, which can lead to problems such as cancer. The natural antioxidant properties of this mineral means that it actively seeks out free radicals, which can morph normal cells into cancerous cells by breaking down their DNA integrity. The elimination of free radicals by antioxidants is one of the most vital lines of defense against many types of cancer.
12. Relieves Chronic Fatigue: People suffering from chronic fatigue are usually told to consume fish oil, as it is rich in zinc. It is integral for normal muscle function.
13. Treats Alopecia: Alopecia causes loss of hair in both children and adults. Zinc is beneficial for strong hair, and with zinc supplements and capsules, studies have shown the symptoms of alopecia can sometimes be diminished.
14. Controls Bone Loss: This is a condition when the bones become weak and fragile. Zinc is a component of hydroxyapatite, which is a salt that makes the bone matrix strong and hard.
15. Treats Night Blindness: Consuming approximately 150-450mg of zinc will help to improve one's vision. Therefore, it is always recommended to consume food such as, beef, lamb, oysters, buckwheat, and crabs, as they are packed with zinc and will improve your ability to see. It is particularly helpful for those suffering from night blindness. Vitamin A, stimulates certain enzymes that cannot function without zinc, therefore making it necessary in reducing nighttime blindness.
Those are just 15 of the many ways that Zinc can improve your overall health and wellbeing. As with any vitamin or mineral, taking high amounts of zinc can be unsafe. To find out how much you should be taking, ask a medical professional for guidance.
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