Zinc benefits are not to be ignored. Why? Because zinc is an essential mineral. That means proper zinc doses are essential for human health and well-being. A deficiency in zinc can present health concerns too. And zinc is the second most abundant trace element in your body. So, it’s a big deal.
Proper zinc levels help with growth of cells. Zinc picolinate is the acid form of this trace mineral. Zinc orotate is the most bioavailable form of zinc. Zinc gluconate helps with cells’ division and activation.1 Zinc is also essential for the catalytic activity of enzymes. This helps your body process fats and carbohydrates.2
Since zinc gluconate is so important, you can see why you would want the recommended daily intake. If you don’t, you may become deficient. And you likely already know oral zinc could help fight the common cold. To learn more about how zinc benefits can increase your health, read on.
What are the Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency?
You can see why meeting the recommended daily intake of zinc is important. If the serum zinc levels in your body get low, you may experience the effects of zinc deficiency. Have concerns about low zinc levels and absorption?
You might experience symptoms related to upsets in your…
- Immune system
- Skeletal cells
- Central nervous system
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Reproductive system
A deficiency in zinc levels might also lead to decreased white blood cells. Other symptoms may also present.3 So, if you’re troubled by low zinc absorption, talk to your doctor. They can help teach you about helpful zinc doses and dietary supplements.
How can zinc deficiency affect your skin and body in all these ways? Generally, zinc exists in your body tissues, brain, muscle, bone, and even your skin. That’s why zinc oxide nanoparticles appear in cosmetics and products – to help your skin.4
Does Zinc have Powerful Antioxidant Properties?
One of zinc’s superpowers is how it helps your immune system fight the common cold. That’s why you find it in some nasal sprays. Study after study shows that zinc deficiency can upset immune function. Studies indicate that a lack of zinc increases the risk of illness as a result of viruses and bacteria.5,6
Oral zinc supplementation helps because zinc functions as an antioxidant. What is an antioxidant?
An antioxidant is a compound that slows down the damaging effects of oxidation.
Oxidation is a chemical process that creates free radicals. And free radicals act negatively on cells in your body. Antioxidants help eliminate these negative chemical processes.
One study reports zinc helps reduce fat peroxides in your bloodstream, reducing cellular stress.7 Another study reports zinc helps combat swelling and redness.8 Research shows zinc may also help with swelling-induced digestive issues. These might include nausea, vomiting, ulcers, red and puffy skin.9
What are Some Food Sources That Help Provide Zinc for Vegetarians?
Given the positive zinc benefits for your body and skin, don’t you want to know where to find the best food sources of zinc? Of course, you do. Who wouldn’t want to get rid of deficiency symptoms?
Tofu and tempeh happen to be quite versatile. They’re also high in zinc and other nutrients like calcium. Tofu is also wonderful if you’re on a plant-based diet. And tofu can offer up omega-3 fatty acids, too. Fermented foods like tempeh have become favored meat substitutes.
In fact, one cup of tempeh provides about 1.9mg of zinc. That’s 13% of your recommended daily value.10
Beans and nuts are magical. They’re high in zinc and other nutrients. Think garbanzo beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans. Among beans, those are the best sources of zinc.11 Legumes like lentils and peanuts also boast healthy zinc content. And nuts (eg: cashews, almonds, and pecans) are high in zinc too.12
Spinach and other leafy green vegetables contain excellent nutrients, including zinc. Take spinach, for example. One cup of spinach offers good zinc content.13 Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, and cruciferous veggies can also help increase your zinc levels.
Eating these foods can help you meet your recommended dietary allowance.
What are the Likely Health Effects of Zinc?
There are many benefits to zinc supplementation. Zinc absorption has been reported to accelerate wound healing and improve burn symptoms.14,15 Zinc is linked to decreases in risk for some health issues. This is because zinc supports the growth and rehabilitation of cells.
Studies have come out about low zinc levels in those dealing with hardening of their arteries. Zinc deficiency was associated with heart health concerns and discomfort in the chest. If you suffer from such symptoms, you’ll want to address it right away with your doctor.16,17
Zinc can also help your blood sugar levels and bind to insulin receptors. It can reduce insulin output to help tissue recover from stress and damage.18 Deficiency can result in an increase in your body’s insulin resistance.19
Anything Good About Zinc Deficiency?
There is one pro when it comes to discovering you’re zinc deficient. Ready? Here it is: The amount of zinc you actually need to consume in a given day is pretty low. That means it’s really not hard to boost your zinc intake.
Check it out: The daily allowance for women is 8 mg of zinc. For men, you only need 11 mg of zinc each day.20
However, if you’re pregnant, you’ll want to up your zinc intake. That’s because zinc plays a role in growth and development.21 Kids, infants, and teens may want to do the same.
So during those phases of life, try to get more zinc gluconate for yourself and give more zinc to your infants.
Zinc for Women’s Health
As mentioned above, zinc is a majorly needed nutrient for pregnant women. That’s mostly because zinc is necessary for healthy fetal growth and development.
Surprisingly, women throughout the world who are of childbearing age often experience zinc deficiency. Why is getting the zinc you need so important? For one thing, if you have sufficient zinc levels, you’re less at risk of delivering your baby preterm.
Women should try to get at least 8 milligrams of zinc every single day. Pregnant women should consume at least 11 milligrams of daily zinc. And women who are breastfeeding should consume at least 12 milligrams of daily zinc.22
How About Zinc for Your Skin?
Zinc has been used to support skin health for some time. Topical ointments that include zinc oxide and zinc pyrithione are said to have UV-protecting and soothing abilities.
Poor zinc absorption can lead to changes in your skin (and exterior body parts) like…
- Burn-like lesions on the skin
- Abrasions around your cheeks, ears, and mouth
- Issues with the skin of your feet, hands, fingers, and toes
- Bacterial issues under your nails and nail weakness
- Loss of hair
- Redness of the eyes
Your skin contains nearly 6% of all the zinc in your body.
Even though zinc travels through your tissues, there’s nowhere to store excess zinc. This is important for metabolism, cell growth, and tissue repair. Make sure your skin absorbs as much zinc as it can.23
More About Zinc’s Benefits
Other symptoms of deficiency could be related to not getting the proper doses of zinc. These symptoms involve skin, prostate health, erectile dysfunction, foot ulcers, and macular issues. Pretty odd list, right?
When insulin gets messed up, symptoms like ulcers can occur on the skin of your feet. Zinc helps improve foot ulcers. Zinc deficiency may also lead to macular degeneration. This can cause vision loss and night blindness. When part of your retina — the macula — deteriorates, zinc can help slow macular damage.24
Men who are curious about zinc benefits may wonder about their prostate health and erectile dysfunction? Research shows high zinc levels are essential for prostate health.25And studies show zinc deficiency is a reversible cause of erectile dysfunction in some cases. If you’re having issues with intimacy, talk to your doctor about zinc.26
Zinc supplements are an easy way to up your levels of zinc. If you’re worried about the risk of zinc deficiency symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may know which supplement would be the best for you – and not just when you’re fighting a common cold or trying to clear up your skin.
If you don’t feel like supplements are the answer for you, add zinc-rich foods to your diet. Remember, spinach and leafy greens can go a long way to making you feel healthy.
You can improve zinc levels by eating the right foods. And this goes for infants and those well into their golden years. Pay attention to the nutrient levels in healthy foods. Your skin, body, and mind will appreciate your efforts. Just wait to feel your body say “thank you.”