Any malaise today is usually attributed to burnout, workload at work, lack of time, a change in the weather, however, poor health may be due to a deficiency of just one trace element, and health problems are quite impressive.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 2 billion people on the planet already suffer from chronic zinc deficiency. Zinc is an essential mineral, the deficiency of which causes irreversible consequences. Zinc cannot be produced in the human body on its own, but it is extremely important for the stable functioning of the immune system, all organs and hormone secretion.
How to recognize zinc deficiency
Zinc is one of the basic essential trace elements in the human body, which both children and adults need. A sufficient amount of the element contributes to the normal development and formation of internal organs in children in the womb. The lack of the trace element zinc during pregnancy can trigger irreversible pathological processes of fetal formation, which will lead to malformations. In the composition of the human body, zinc is the second largest metal after iron. Normally, an adult’s body contains about 2-3 grams of zinc. The highest concentration of the substance is found in muscles, up to 60% and in bones up to 30%. The role of zinc in the work of the human body cannot be overestimated, it participates in metabolism, increasing immune forces, has powerful antioxidant properties. Zinc activates over two hundred enzymes used by the body to digest food and absorb beneficial nutrients.
If the body does not receive enough zinc, it signals problems with the following symptoms: deterioration of night vision, constant eye fatigue, hair loss, gray skin tone, eczema, acne, impaired taste and smell, digestive disorders, slow wound healing, decreased concentration, dystrophy, disruption of the nervous system, high nervous excitability, irritability, fatigue. Alcohol abuse, prolonged use of hormonal medications, as well as the recovery period after operations and injuries depletes zinc reserves. Pregnant women, vegetarians, people with chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and diabetics are also at risk for the development of deficiency.
Zinc: benefits for the body
The antioxidant properties of zinc prevent the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, oncological diseases and heart defects. The trace element reduces the risks of developing an inflammatory process in the body in the off-season. Studies show the effectiveness of zinc preparations for colds: zinc consumption reduces the duration and severity of SARS symptoms, and timely systematic intake for preventive purposes can help to transfer the disease in mild form or prevent it altogether. In addition, zinc reduces the level of cortisol — a stress hormone that undermines the immune system and destroys even muscle fibers. Regular use of zinc improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, helps to clear blood vessels of cholesterol and triglycerides, helps to stabilize systolic pressure. Regular use of the trace element stimulates brain activity, improves memory, stabilizes general well-being and psychoemotional background. Zinc regulates sugar levels and participates in insulin secretion. Doctors recommend zinc supplements in the diet with a tendency to dermatoses and in the complex fight against severe forms of acne and cystic acne. By stimulating the production of collagen, zinc increases the elasticity of the skin and even smoothes wrinkles. Zinc accelerates the absorption of vitamin A, preventing the disease blepharitis and cataracts. And it is also able to stop macular degeneration, this is one of the most dangerous eye pathologies, macular degeneration, leading to complete loss of vision. And what is important, external attractiveness, zinc for women reanimates lifeless strands, stimulates hair growth, strengthens nails.
Zinc dosage and consequences of overdose
Subject to the dosage, zinc supplements are extremely beneficial. However, violation of the doctor’s recommendations and abuse, more than 40 mg per day, can cause side effects. Among them are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headaches, cough, loss of strength. Attention should be paid to the fact that uncontrolled and long-term use of zinc preparations can disrupt the digestibility of copper. What will provoke a deficiency of copper in the blood, it threatens unpleasant consequences for the body. Also, taking zinc during antibiotic treatment may reduce their effectiveness. In such cases, it is necessary to seek qualified medical advice.
Many familiar and affordable products are rich in zinc. Zinc is found in large quantities in protein–rich foods – seafood, fish, nuts and seeds. However, eating even zinc-rich foods, unfortunately, does not guarantee that the body will fully assimilate the valuable trace element. Zinc, which is contained in the products, is absorbed by about 30%, so the best way to avoid deficiency will be dietary supplements. Dietary supplements are vital for pregnant and lactating women, professional athletes, vegetarians and people who follow a low-protein diet. When and at what time should zinc be taken – during the day with meals, because on an empty stomach it can cause nausea. It is not recommended to take it simultaneously with iron or calcium.
How to take zinc
The required dosage of the mineral depends on the characteristics of the body and individual needs. The average daily dosage of zinc for men and women over the age of 18 is 10-20 mg per day. Zinc for preschool and school-age children should be prescribed by a pediatrician after detecting a deficiency based on the results of tests. If a person is exposed to high loads, has suffered a serious illness and is in the recovery process after illnesses and injuries, the dosage can increase many times, and only your doctor can calculate it correctly. To satisfy the need of a healthy body for a daily dose of a trace element, it is necessary to take a special vitamin complex.