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What Is Vitamin Zinc Good For

What Are The 4 Health Benefits Of Zinc

The health benefits of Zinc

Four potential health benefits of zinc intake include:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Zinc helps keep the immune system strong, which is particularly good for the common cold. Because it is essential for immune cell function and cell signaling, zinc deficiency can prompt a weakened immune reaction.
  • Zinc supplements help stimulate specific immune cells and reduce oxidative stress.
  • Helps heal wounds
  • Zinc is regularly used in hospitals as a treatment for burns, certain ulcers, and other skin wounds. This mineral plays a critical role in collagen synthesis, immune function, and inflammatory reaction, so it is essential for proper healing.
  • May reduce the risk of certain age-related diseases
  • Lessen the danger of age-related diseases, such as pneumonia, infection, and age-related macular degeneration.
  • Reduce oxidative pressure and work on immune response by boosting the activity of T cells and natural killer cells, which assist with shielding the body from infection.
  • May help treat acne
  • Studies recommend that both topical and oral zinc medicines can effectively treat skin break out by reducing inflammation, repressing the growth of bacteria, and reducing oil-gland activity.
  • It Can Improve Wound Healing

    In one study that was published in Wound Repair and Regeneration in 2017, researchers divided 60 participants with diabetic foot ulcers into two groups. One group supplemented with 50 milligrams of zinc for 12 weeks, while the other group received a placebo. The group that supplemented with zinc had a significant reduction in the size of the ulcers.

    As an added bonus, this clinical trial demonstrated that zinc supplementation also improved several metabolic health parameters , antioxidant status and glutathione levels, and key biomarkers of chronic inflammation.

    It Helps Improve Blood Sugar Regulation

    According to a 2015 review of both test tube and human studies, zinc has many beneficial effects on both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Specifically, zinc appears to play an important role in pancreatic -cell function, the activity of insulin, modulation of glucose, and the process by which diabetes develops and has complications.

    So if youre trying to prevent, reverse, or manage diabetes, in addition to watching your weight and eating a largely plant-based diet, make sure you get enough zinc to keep your pancreas firing on all cylinders .

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    Toxicity And Dosage Recommendations

    Just as a deficiency in zinc can cause health complications, excessive intake can also lead to negative side effects.

    The most common cause of zinc toxicity is too much supplemental zinc, which can cause both acute and chronic symptoms.

    Ingesting too much zinc can also cause deficiencies in other nutrients.

    For example, chronic high zinc ingestion can interfere with your absorption of copper and iron.

    Reductions in copper levels have even been reported in people consuming only moderately high doses of zinc 60 mg per day for 10 weeks .

    What To Look For

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    Without question, the best source of zinc is real foods. These include beef, lamb, pork, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, milk, cheese, eggs, whole grains, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

    If you decide to use a daily supplement, either on its own or as part of a multivitamin formulation, try not to exceed the daily value listed on the product label unless your doctor tells you otherwise. The DV is described as a percentage of what you typically need each day.

    When buying a supplement, always choose those that have been tested and approved by a recognized certifying body like the U.S. Pharmacopeia . Never use expired supplements, eye drops, or topical ointments.

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    Zincs Roles In The Body

    As discussed earlier in this guide, zinc is a trace mineral, which means it isnt created by the body. This means that we obtain zinc from the food we eat as well as through supplementation as needed.

    Zinc is used by the body in countless ways. In fact, its the second most abundant trace mineral in the body. Zinc is found in every cell, which shows just how important it is in maintaining a healthy body thats working efficiently and effectively.

    So what exact roles does zinc play? Here are a few that highlight the criticality of this mineral:

    Needed by more than 300 enzymes that play a role in nerve function, metabolism, digestion, and other processes

    Necessary for the development and function of immune cells

    Fundamental to skin health, including wound healing

    Plays a role in protein production and DNA synthesis

    Necessary for properly functioning senses of taste and smell

    Healthy body growth and development also relies on proper zinc levels. This is because zinc plays a major role in cell growth and division.

    These roles only scratch the surface of the many ways that zinc is involved in day-to-day internal body functions and processes. With a high quality zinc supplement, like one from Elm and Rye, you can have peace of mind that your body has the support it needs.

    It May Promote Skin Health

    In addition to wound healing, some forms of zinc may also help clear up your skin. Although acne causes are multifactorial, preliminary research indicates that zinc’s anti-inflammatory properties may benefit those with acne .

    What about other skin health conditions? In one small study published in the International Journal of Dermatology,participants with rosacea were given either 300 milligrams of zinc sulfate or a placebo for three months. After the treatment period, the group taking zinc experienced significant improvements in rosacea, with minimal side effects.

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    Decreases Risk Of Preterm Birth

    Zinc helps the body make proteins and DNA, and its needed for proper growth and development, too, according to the NIH. Because of these functions its an important mineral for pregnant women and young children, and zinc supplements may help pregnant women avoid early labor.

    A review published in February 2015 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found there was a 14 percent reduction in preterm birth when pregnant mothers took a zinc supplement. But the researchers noted that this could be because most of the studies they looked at involved low-income women who may have had poor overall dietary quality and been deficient in zinc to begin with. Therefore, the reduction in preterm birth may have been the result of the supplements correcting deficiencies rather than an added benefit of supplementation.

    Best says shed only recommend a zinc supplement to a pregnant woman if she had a known deficiency. But for pregnant women and young children, its important to avoid deficiency by making sure youre getting enough zinc in your diet. And its important to note that the recommended daily intake of zinc is increased for women who are pregnant to 11 mg per day for women 18 and older who are pregnant and 12 mg per day for those 14 to 18 years old who are pregnant.

    Mechanism Of Innate Immunity During Common Cold

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    When a respiratory virus is inhaled it first binds to nonspecific receptors on the respiratory epithelium, usually glycolipids or glycoproteins. Membrane fusion or endocytosis follows, thus internalizing the virus and enabling subsequent replication, transcription, and translation of new viruses which can then be released to infect new cells. Once a cell has been infected, pathogen-associated molecular patterns on the virus can be recognized by various intracellular innate pathogen recognition receptors such as the toll-like receptors , retinoic-acid-inducible gene-I- like receptors , and nucleotide binding-oligomerization domain like receptors . Pulmonary epithelial cells have been shown to express all of the known human TLRs and RLRs that detect viruses, and ligands for these PRRs activate epithelial cells in order to initiate a rapid immune response against viral invasion . In addition to direct infection of epithelial cells, intraepithelial dendritic cells residing just below the respiratory epithelium and tissue-resident macrophages continually sample particles in the airway lumen and can internalize them by phagocytosis and macropinocytosis, thus activating PRRs and initiating an immune response .

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    What Drugs And Food Should I Avoid While Taking Vitamin C Plus Zinc

    Avoid taking more than one multivitamin product at the same time unless your doctor tells you to. Taking similar products together can result in an overdose or serious side effects.

    Avoid the use of salt substitutes in your diet if your multivitamin and mineral contains potassium. If you are on a low-salt diet, ask your doctor before taking a vitamin or mineral supplement.

    Do not take this medicine with milk, other dairy products, calcium supplements, or antacids that contain calcium. Calcium may make it harder for your body to absorb certain minerals.

    Health Benefits Of Zinc Supplements

    Zinc is an essential trace element that plays a role in many body functions, including immune system health, fertility, growth, and wound healing. Its the second most abundant trace mineral in your body after iron and you cant make or store it. While most people get enough zinc in their diet, certain groups, like those with digestive issues or who are pregnant/lactating, may be at higher risk for developing zinc deficiency. Over-the-counter zinc supplements can normalize your zinc levels, maintaining your overall health.

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    Final Thoughts On Zinc Supplement

    A high quality zinc supplement is something that can benefit you year-round. While most people load up on zinc during cold and flu season, this trace mineral is one that can boost and support your immune system and overall health no matter the month or time of year.

    Studies have also shown that zinc can help with skin health, heart health, and even the bodys ability to regulate blood sugar levels. With the right supplement, zinc can help you feel your best inside and out.

    Whats most important is that you choose a high quality zinc supplement. Taking a supplement that contains low quality zinc or low levels of zinc isnt going to offer the benefits that you want. We suggest using a trusted brand, such as Elm and Rye, that is known for providing high quality supplements that are potent, safe, and effective.

    So if youre on the fence about taking a zinc supplement, discuss with your doctor. Once you receive medical clearance, be sure to buy a trusted supplement that will provide the benefits you want and need!

    Too Much Zinc Hurts The Immune System

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    In one study, 300 mg/d of zinc as two divided doses of 150 mg zinc sulfate decreased important markers of immune function, such as the ability of immune cells known as polymorphonuclear leukocytes to migrate towards and consume bacteria. The most concerning effect in the context of COVID-19 is that it lowered the lymphocyte stimulation index 3-fold. This is a measure of the ability of T cells to increase their numbers in response to a perceived threat.

    The reason this is so concerning in the context of COVID-19 is that poor outcomes are associated with low lymphocytes .

    While 300 mg/d zinc did not lower lymphocyte counts, the fact that it lowered their ability to multiply in a lab dish suggests that such high doses could prime a person to have a poorer ability to maintain their lymphocyte count in a disease.

    There are some suggestions that lower doses don’t cause this problem:

    • Radiation therapy lowers lymphocyte counts. 150 mg zinc/d does not lower them any further or hurt the ability to recover them in patients with head and neck cancer.

    • In patients with a parasitical infection known as leishmaniasis, 45 mg/d did not hurt the ability of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, a group that includes lymphocytes, to replicate in a stimulation index test.

    • In HIV-infected patients with tuberculosis, 50 mg/d did not hurt lymphocyte counts.

    • In patients with Crohn’s disease, neither 60 mg/d nor 200 mg/d hurt lymphocyte counts.

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    The Best Sources Of Zinc

    Many foods naturally contain zinc, according to William Li, M.D., author of Eat to Beat Disease and president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation.

    Meat is a particularly rich source of zinc. For context, a 3-ounce serving of beef offers 7 milligrams of zincand that of crab offers 6.5 milligrams of zinc, while the same amount of chicken contains about 2 milligrams, according to the National Institutes of Health. Dairy products, on the other hand, contain a moderate amount of zinc .

    Some plant foods including whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, along with some veggies, and fruits also offer the mineral, but they’re not nearly as rich in the nutrient as meat. Case in point: Half-cup servings of kidney beans and diced portabella mushrooms contain less than 1 milligram each. Moreover, the little zinc that is in whole grains and legumes is difficult to absorb. That’s because both foods are high in phytates, aka natural chemicals that “impair absorption of minerals like zinc, iron, and calcium in the digestive system,” explains Dr. Li. Phytates do this by binding to the mineral , reducing how much your body absorbs.

    An Effective Dosing Protocol

    It seems likely that maximal zinc absorption, over the long-term, would be provided by a dose somewhere between 40 mg/d and 110 mg/d. We also know that zinc absorption is greater when the dose is spread out, and when it is not accompanied by sources of phytate, such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes). Therefore, I recommend maximizing zinc absorption as follows:

    • Since it takes food about 4-6 hours to move through the stomach and 4-6 hours to move through the small intestine, I’m assuming the short-term saturation of zinc transporters resulting from the presence of zinc in food and supplements would be more or less reset every five hours.

    • Aim for a total zinc intake of 40-110 mg/d, split evenly into doses that can be separated by 5 hours.

    • Consume zinc supplements away from any meals containing whole grains, nuts, seeds, or legumes, whenever possible.

    The protocol I use in The Food and Supplement Guide for the Coronavirus fulfills these criteria and can be summarized as follows:

    • Consume 7-15 mg zinc four times a day, spread out as much as possible.

    • If possible, take it on an empty stomach. If that causes nausea, take it with some phytate-free food.

    • Use one zinc acetate lozenge per day, providing an additional 18 mg zinc. Before and after any deliberate potential exposures to the virus, use an additional lozenge. If a potential exposure is an accident, use a lozenge afterwards.

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    Other Potential Problems Of High

    Other adverse effects of zinc include gastrointestinal distress at 50-150 mg/d and stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches at 225-450 mg/d.

    Zinc can interact with certain medications. It should be taken at least two hours away from the antibiotics cephalexin and penicillamine, the antiretroviral drugs atazanavir and ritonavir, tetracycline, and quinolone antibiotics.

    Signs Of Deficiency And Toxicity

    How To Choose Best Zinc Supplements


    A zinc deficiency is rare and is seen most commonly in people who do not absorb zinc well due to digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases or who have undergone gastrointestinal surgery. Those with chronic liver or kidney disease are also at risk. Excessive or prolonged diarrhea can lead to a zinc deficiency, as well as severe conditions with increased zinc needs like burns and sepsis . Zinc is more efficiently absorbed when taken in smaller doses and in people who are deficient in the mineral.

    Other groups at risk for zinc deficiency:

    • Pregnant women. Increased zinc needs for the fetus and during lactation.
    • Low amounts of zinc in human breast milk. High amounts of calcium and phosphorus in cows milk can lower zinc absorption.
    • Vegetarians/vegans. Zinc intake is limited to plant foods like whole grains that have lower bioavailability than from animal foods.

    Signs of deficiency include:

    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Poor appetite

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    How Zinc Helps Your Immune System

    There are a number of ways zinc supports the immune system but primarily it activates enzymes that break down proteins in viruses and bacteria so they are less able to spread.4

    Zinc also increases the activation of cells responsible for fighting infection.5

    In 2011, French researchers discovered that zinc helps cells destroy microbes such as E. coli by overloading them.6 Essentially, this poisons them, killing them off.

    Dont worry though the daily RDA for zinc is 7mg for women and 9.5mg for men.7 Youd have to consume at least 25mg a day for it to cause any problems.8

    A 2017 US study carried out over six weeks found that taking just 4mg extra of zinc a day made a major difference to the health of cells, which in turn makes your body better able to fight infections and diseases.9

    The team concluded that zinc reduces oxidative stress and damage to DNA that helps protect against chronic diseases.

    Zinc Benefits For Men

    Taking zinc provides a range of benefits for men and women, but it has some significant perks for men. One benefit of taking zinc for men is that it may help to regulate testosterone levels in the body. Zinc may also help men reduce the risk of an enlarged prostate and can potentially help those dealing with symptoms like frequent urination. Men may also benefit from taking zinc in other ways, such as promoting healthy, thicker hair and assisting with protein synthesis for strong muscles.

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    Should I Be Taking Vitamin C To Protect Against Coronavirus

    Similarly to the situation with zinc and vitamin D, theres currently insufficient data supporting for or against using vitamin C for the treatment of COVID-19.

    Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid, and its an antioxidant that impacts the immune system. Vitamin C also protects against damage caused by cigarette smoke, air pollution and UV sun rays. Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit, are a great source of vitamin C, as well as vegetables like broccoli and baked potatoes.

    Most people in the United States are getting enough vitamin C from their diet, but some people need more than others. If youre a smoker, or are often exposed to secondhand smoke, you may need more vitamin C in the form of a supplement so its important to talk to your doctor if you might not be getting enough.

    While there hasnt yet been enough research done to know the full impact of vitamin C on coronavirus, many people think it can be a remedy for the common coldbut research shows that vitamin C supplements dont actually reduce the risk of getting a cold. It is true, however, that cold symptoms can be milder and last for a shorter length of time in those who do take vitamin C supplements.

    There are currently clinical trials underway to further research whether or not vitamin C can effectively be used as a treatment for COVID-19.


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