Food

Zinc – The Forgotten Supplement

Ah, zinc!  The trace element that does not get any attention… until perhaps someone catches a cold!

Required to attain a healthy immune system, a lack of it may increase a person’s susceptibility to disease and disease. Our body needs zinc for a wide range of roles, from development and growth to neurological functions. Our cells’ capacity to respond to infections and to help regulate inflammation is essential for our immune system.  And zinc is a part of all of that.

The Daily Requirement

Generally, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for zinc is around 8 to 14 mg/day, depending on age, gender, and whether pregnant or lactating.  Since zinc is an element, our bodies cannot produce it and so it must come from our food, such as beans, shellfish, whole grain, and milk products. If you have very low zinc levels, you may experience weight loss, you will be more likely to become ill, and you may have diarrhea.

Major Health Benefits

Zinc activates what are known as T-cells in our body. The T-cells help to regulate and control the immune response, and T-cells also attack infected cells.  Aside from immunity, zinc plays a role in the brain too.  It plays a crucial role in regulating the activity of neurons, in the shaping of memories and in how we think.  People with chronic wounds or ulcers often have poor metabolism of zinc and lower levels of zinc in their blood.

For less severe issues, zinc is thought to be useful when taken at the onset of symptoms to reduce the duration and severity of the common cold in people who are otherwise healthy.  In skin creams, zinc is also used to treat diaper rash or other skin irritations.

The Bottom Line

Zinc affects several immune system aspects. It is critical for cells that help us with immunity.  A deficiency has a detrimental effect on cell growth and function. Zinc’s capacity to act as an antioxidant and stabilize membranes suggests that it has a role in preventing free-radical damage during inflammation processes.

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Please consult your health care professional prior to implementing any of the information contained within this or any medically-related article.  Your particular health situation may differ from the general aspects described, or certain medications may interfere or have an adverse reaction to certain supplements.

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Wathen serves as one of our community writers here at The Lintonian. He typically writes here focusing mostly on business, legal, tax, and financial news articles, especially those appealing to local small businesses.  He has also written a children’s story, books on landlording and health, as well as a racy romance.  You can find one of four books he has published to-date, by visiting here.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

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