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Zinc - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

What is Zinc?

Zinc is one of a number of important minerals that our body needs on a daily basis to function normally. Unlike some nutrients, our bodies cannot make zinc so it is important that we get it in our diet every day. Zinc is essential for the metabolism and structural stability of nucleic acids. Zinc is critical for proper functioning of the male reproductive system. It is involved in processes that contribute to normal sperm counts and regulation of the metabolism of testosterone and sex drive. It is also believed to enhance fertility in both men and women. Every single cell in the body needs zinc for structural and energy producing functions. Zinc is an essential trigger for many biochemical reactions and also for protein production.

Uses and Benefits of Zinc

  1. Zinc helps prevent and lessen duration of colds, flus and infections.
  2. Zinc supplementation has been useful in facilitating expediency in healing wounds and skin lesions suffered by some zinc deficient individuals.
  3. Zinc is used in treating ailments like arthritis, underactive thyroid, fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis.
  4. It improves insulin levels and may help with diabetes and aids digestion problems.
  5. It helps with building healthy hair and scalp.
  6. Zinc also helps with hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcers.

Deficiency Symptoms of Zinc

  1. Zinc deficiency most often occurs when zinc intake is low in our diet. When there are increased losses of zinc from the body or when the body’s requirement for zinc increases it's deficiency occur.
  2. The deficiency symptoms in zinc are weight loss, lack of sexual development in females, growth retardation, dwarfism, delayed puberty in adolescents, rough skin, poor appetite, mental lethargy, delayed wound healing, short stature, diarrhea, pneumonia, stretch marks or white spots on fingernails.
  3. Other symptoms may be reduction in collagen turnover and synthesis, poor immune system, acne, cross-linking of collagen, hyaluronic acid abnormalities, defective connective tissue, and macular degeneration.

Recommended Dosage of Zinc

The daily recommended dietary allowances for different age groups are as follows:

  • Adults should have to use 15 mg per day
  • Children/Adolescents should have to use 10 mg per day
  • Infants should have to use 3 to 5 mg per day
  • Lactation should have to use 25 mg per day
  • Pregnancy should have to ues 20 mg per day.

Rich Food Sources of Zinc

The good sources of zinc are Liver, beef, crab, lamb, turkey ham, pork, chicken, eggs, oysters, seafood, dried beans, split peas, fortified cereals, wheat germ, brown rice, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, chedar cheese, milk and American cheese. It is also found in peanuts, pork, rye bread, whole wheat and whole wheat bread. The herbs like alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, milk thistle, and mullein also provide zinc in fair quantity.

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