Zinc is a very important mineral, which participates in many processes in the body. Like other minerals, zinc should be consumed regularly through your diet or supplement. It helps the body to function properly and easily fight diseases.
Why is zinc important?
More than 200 enzymes in the body need zinc to function properly. Zinc is required for the creation of many hormones, including hormones that tell the immune system to fight when you are attacked by bacteria or virus. Zinc is particularly important for those hormones that regulate growth of the body and the male hormone testosterone. The lack of zinc in men decreases testosterone levels and the number of sperm cells. The levels of testosterone affect the sexual activity, the size of muscle mass, bone growth, and other. So men need to devote more attention to zinc. The organism can easily handle with colds and flu when there is enough zinc in it, because zinc helps to boost the immune system. Besides that, zinc helps to maintain a good appearance of the skin. It controls the sebaceous glands and helps in the fight against acne. The good vision also largely depends on zinc. Most of the zinc in the body is concentrated in the skin, hair, nails and eyes (in men in prostate).
Symptoms for lack of zinc
Some of the symptoms that can occur when you have low levels of zinc in the body are:
Slow growth in children;
Slow healing of wounds;
Loss of sense of taste;
Irritation of the skin.
Which people can develop lack of zinc?
Strict vegetarians. Foods of animal origin are the best source of zinc. The fruit and vegetables contains half the amount of this mineral. Therefore, this group is particularly threatened by lack of zinc.
People who eat food that is high in fiber. Grain food like cereal combines with zinc and thereby it prevents its absorption by the body.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers. This group need additional zinc levels, because part of it is transferred to their baby.
People over 50 years of age. The ability of the body to absorb zinc decreases with increasing of age.
Alcoholics. Regular consumption of even small amounts of alcohol leads to reduced levels of zinc in the body.
Recommended daily needs
Babies (0-6 months) – 2mg
Babies (7-12 months) – 3mg
Children (1-3 years) – 3mg
Children (4-8 years) – 5mg
Children (9-13 years) – 8mg
Men (14-18 years) – 11mg
Women (14-18 years) – 9mg
Men (19 years and up) – 11mg
Women (19 years and up) – 8mg
Pregnant women (19 years and up) – 11mg
Nursing mothers (19 years and up) – 12mg
Men need to consume bigger amounts of zinc than women. Pregnant women and nursing mothers also have higher daily needs of this mineral.
Food rich in zinc
The daily needs of zinc is best to be satisfied through diet. Zinc is most present in red meat, fish and sea products (shrimps, oysters…), nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and eggs.
Fruits and vegetables contain minimal amounts of zinc. Some of them which contain more zinc are: pears, cherries, beans, peas and lentils.