By: Dr. Keith Kantor
What is Zinc?
Zinc is an essential trace mineral and actually a metal. It is commonly known as a barrier to the sun (commonly used on the nose and lips), and as a natural cold remedy.
Zinc is actually essential in small doses every day. It is found in cells throughout the body, needed to build and boost the immune system to work at its best. It plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates.
Zinc is also needed for the senses of smell and taste. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Zinc also enhances the action of insulin.
Specific Benefits of Zinc Include:
Zinc acts like a powerful antioxidant and research suggest it help reduce the risk for certain cancers due to its ability to support healthy cell division, preventing cancerous cell mutation and stunting tumor growth.
Zinc also promotes healthy hormone balance and fertility. It boost testosterone naturally and adequate zinc needs to be present in the production of female sex hormones.
Improves Symptoms and Complications Associated with Diabetes. Another benefit includes reducing diabetic symptoms due to its ability to bind to insulin naturally and help process carbohydrates allowing glucose to be used as fuel for the body rather then being stored as fat.
Promotes Healthy Blood Vessels and Heart Health
Zinc is needed to maintain the health of cells within the cardiovascular system, while also lowering inflammation and oxidative stress. The blood vessels rely on adequate levels of zinc. Zinc benefits heart health by supporting healthy circulation, improving high blood pressure and cholesterol levels from clogged or damaged arteries.
Helps with Muscle Growth and Repair
Zinc plays a crucial role in cell growth and repair. Zinc benefits muscle growth by making it possible for the body to heal itself and maintain strength in the muscular and skeletal systems. Zinc also helps with the release of testosterone, growth hormones and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), all of which help build lean muscle and promote a healthy metabolism.
Can reduce or eliminate symptoms of diarrhea.
Zinc supplementation is a critical new intervention for treating diarrheal episodes in children. Recent studies suggest that administration of zinc along with new low osmolarity oral rehydration solutions / salts (ORS), can reduce the duration and severity of diarrheal episodes for up to three months. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF recommend daily 20 mg zinc supplements for 10 – 14 days for children with acute diarrhea, and 10 mg per day for infants under six months old, to curtail the severity of the episode and prevent further occurrences in the ensuing -two to three months, thereby decreasing the morbidity considerably.
Food Sources of Zinc Include:
*It is important to note that zinc is best absorbed through high quality all natural chemically pure animal products. Preservatives and chemicals can lead to poor absorption of the zinc and benefits associated with it.
The USDA Recommends the below doses of zinc for specific ages and genders:
- 0–6 months: 2 milligrams/day
- 7–12 months: 3 milligrams/day
- 1–3 years: 3 milligrams/day
- 4–8 years: 5 milligrams/day
- 9 –13 years: 8 milligrams/day
Adolescents and adults:
- Males age 14 and over: 11 milligrams/day
- Females age 14 to 18 years: 9 milligrams/day
- Females age 19 and over: 8 milligrams/day
Zinc is usually available in various forms, including lozenges, syrups, gels and capsules. Zinc is also found in most multivitamin and mineral supplements. These supplements can contain zinc in the form of zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate or zinc acetate. As of now, all are believed to work in very similar ways so one type is not thought to be superior over the others.
Zinc deficiency is a common problem in those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, individuals who take hormone replacements including birth control pills, due to the disruption of natural hormone balance and those who suffer with “leaky gut.” Leaky gut syndrome is related to poor digestion and nutrient absorption, it is becoming more common because the general population eats more refined and processed carbohydrates instead of high quality meats, seafood and other raw animal products destroying the lining of the digestive tract. The toxins in our processed animal proteins (additives, preservatives, dyes, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics etc.), are one of the major causes of leaky gut since they cause inflammation.
Signs and Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
- Unexplained weight loss
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Lack of alertness and ability to focus
- Decreased sense of smell and taste
- Loss of appetite
- Open sores on the skin
Consume high quality all natural animal products daily to ensure your zinc needs are met. If you are a vegetarian, on hormone replacement, or suffer from leaky gut syndrome additional supplementation may be needed. All natural and chemically pure foods are optimal for adequate absorption of zinc and it’s benefits.