Certain natural substances are essential for good health. Among these are various vitamins and minerals. While calcium and iron may be two of the best known because of their effect on bone strength and red blood cell production respectively, other minerals are also important in keeping yourself healthy. One of these minerals is Zinc. Let’s take a look as to why Zinc is an important part of your daily diet.
Zinc is considered an essential mineral. The body doesn't have a storage system for Zinc, so – like vitamin C – regular intake is required to maintain healthy blood and tissue levels. Zinc is naturally present in some foods, with oysters being one of the best food sources to contain Zinc. Three ounces of cooked oysters contain 74 milligrams of Zinc. Zinc is often added to breakfast cereals and is also available in the form of lozenges and supplements.
Zinc is required for proper activity of approximately 100 different enzymes, proper immune system function, the manufacture of protein, the creation of DNA, and cell division. During pregnancy childhood and adolescence, Zinc supports normal growth and development. In addition to its other important functions, Zinc is required for proper taste and smell. Zinc deficiency can affect growth and development, and cause hair loss, diarrhea, impotence, delayed wound healing, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Zinc and Health
Supplemental Zinc through the use of cold lozenges has been found to decrease the duration of cold symptoms, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health, and adequate Zinc intake may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss. Too much Zinc can be a problem, as it may inhibit copper absorption. Zinc toxicity can cause severe nausea and diarrhea, abdominal cramps and headaches. Zinc may also interact with antibiotics, most notably quinolone and tetracycline, as well as other medications.
Your Zinc Intake
Most people can obtain adequate Zinc by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Zinc is more easily obtained from an animal than plant sources, however, so vegetarians and especially vegans may be at risk of Zinc deficiency. Alcoholism, gastrointestinal surgery or conditions like ulcerative colitis may impair Zinc absorption, and people with sickle cell disease may be Zinc deficient. Older adults may also need Zinc supplementation. When supplementation is necessary, ZMA® from InterHealth Nutraceuticals is a formula that contains Zinc and helps support healthy testosterone levels.
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