The Benefits of Zinc

zinerZinc is an essential trace element necessary for the human body to function and maintain health.  Zinc is needed for proper thyroid function, wound healing, proper blood clotting, immune system functions and many other functions.  It is thought to aid in treating ear infections, common colds, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, muscle cramps, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Down syndrome, peptic ulcers, sickle cell disease, weak bones,  ringing in the ears, macular degeneration, night blindness and cataract prevention .  It also may aid athletics with endurance and strength.  Zinc is necessary for the brain to process taste and smell sensations and may aid with treating anorexia.  Zinc deficiency may lead to hair loss and premature graying.  Zinc is thought to also aid with protection of the prostate gland in men and with women’s  menstrual problems..

Zinc is available in food and a healthy balanced diet is the best way to get adequate zinc for our bodies.  Meat will provide the highest source of zinc.  Other food sources of zinc include seafood, nuts, legumes, dairy products and whole grains.

For treating aging skin and  acne and to aid wound healing zinc is sometimes applied to the skin.  Using zinc on broken skin may cause burning, tingling and itching. There is a shampoo containing zinc which is said to help prevent dandruff.  Nose sprays containing zinc are available, but these have in some cases caused a loss of the ability to smell.

In addition to food, zinc is also available as a supplement.  Levels of up to 30 mg daily are usually well tolerated by adults.  Too much zinc may cause cramps, nausea and vomiting, headache, drowsiness, a metallic taste in the mouth.  Before starting any supplement be sure to check with your health care professional for guidance. A good diet usually can provide the necessary levels of zinc.