Zinc is an essential trace element, a necessary nutrient for life. Zinc is necessary for immune function, growth & development, proper sexual function, thyroid function, blood clotting, and much, much more. Although only tiny amounts of zinc are necessary for human health, those tiny amounts perform many different and important functions in the body. Things go south very quickly if we don’t get enough zinc! Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism, and each one of our cells contains some amount of zinc. Zinc insufficiency can cause headaches, a weakened immune system and more serious problems such as hair loss, appetite loss, mental lethargy, diarrhea, and developmental issues.
The body doesn’t have a way to produce or store its own zinc, so it’s important that we get enough from outside sources. Zinc is widely available in supplement form, but many foods are also sources of zinc. Oysters, spinach, beans, nuts, red meat, poultry, crab, lobster, whole grains, dark chocolate, and dairy products all contain zinc.
Here are just a few of the ways that zinc helps us out:
Zinc supports and regulates the immune system. Many people increase their zinc intake during cold & flu season. Zinc lozenges are a great to have on hand during riskier times. Zinc can be helpful in treating colds, ear infections, and preventing lower respiratory infections.
Zinc promotes healthy skin. It helps to protect the skin and mucous membranes, helping wounds to heal faster if there are cuts or abrasions. It discourages acne and can also discourage the growth of bacteria and inflammation that are sometimes seen with severe wounds.
Zinc is among the nutrients that prevents vision loss. When used in conjunction with other treatments, zinc can also help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Zinc promotes learning and memory function. Insufficient amounts of zinc can lead to delayed mental development and memory impairment.
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