Zinc is an essential mineral. There is small amount of this mineral in our body. The highest concentrations of zinc are found in bones, teeth, hair, skin, liver, muscles and white blood cells.
We need this element for proper function of our body. Zinc is responsible for many functions in the body and helps in stimulating the activity of more than 100 different enzymes. The low level of zinc in the body disrupts the immune system and makes us susceptible to disease.
Zinc helps the body in different ways, for example, assist in the creation of hormones, growth and recovery, improve immunity and ease digestion. Also, as an antioxidant, zinc fight the damages in the body caused by free radicals.
It is believed that zinc has an antioxidant effect, which protects against premature aging of skin and muscle. Without enough zinc in the diet, it is possible to feel the negative effects of zinc deficiency such as frequent illness, fatigue and weakness, poor concentration, slowed growth and the inability of the body to heal wounds.
Lack of zinc is common worldwide and occurs more often in people who do not eat enough foods that contain this element, or in people who have problems with the absorption of zinc, due to problems with digestion.
Zinc can be found in food rich in protein, especially animal protein, fish or dairy products. Zinc also can be found in legumes and grains, but the absorption is not the same as is case with zinc from meat.
It is believed that a varied diet can provide adequate amounts of zinc. The best natural sources of zinc are meat (including red meat and poultry, in particular, beef, turkey and giblets) and fish and other seafood, especially oysters and other shellfish, crabs and tuna.
Significant sources of zinc are milk and dairy products, eggs and whole grains. Although, like we said, the utilization of zinc from plant food is much lower than those of animal origin, do not neglect vegetable sources of zinc, such as: nuts, peas, beans, soy, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, pumpkin and other seeds.
Certainly rich diet as varied fruits and vegetables, which also contains zinc.
Zinc deficiency today is very rare in developed countries. It is usually a result of inadequate nutrition, but can also occur under other conditions, such as malabsorption, some congenital diseases (Acrodermatitis enteropathica), chronic liver or kidney disease, sickle cell anemia, diabetes etc. Foods that are high in phytates, such as cereals and beans, caffeine from coffee and tea reduce the absorption of zinc.
Zinc Deficiency Symptoms
- Weak immune system
- Frequent infections
- Rapid increase or decrease in weight
- Digestive problems including diarrhea
- Poor concentration and memory
- Joint and Hip Pain
- Problems with skin (Dry Skin, Skin Inflammation, Acne)
- Hair loss
- White spots on nails
- Emotional Instability
- Chronic fatigue
- Slow wound healing
- Appetite Issues etc.
Recommended daily amount of zinc usually vary from 8 to 12 milligrams for women and 11 to 15 milligrams for men. Excessive intake can cause excess zinc in the body, which can cause an imbalance of other minerals, especially copper, iron and calcium, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, headache, dizziness, metallic taste in the mouth etc.