An essential trace element necessary for your overall health and wellbeing, zinc is needed for growing, for having a strong immune system and for healing wounds. Though zinc is found throughout the body, it must be obtained through the diet. Abundant in fish, red meat and poultry, zinc is also found in fortified breakfast cereals, dairy, eggs, nuts and whole grains. Let’s take a look at the many important roles that zinc plays in the human body.
Zinc for the Skin
People who have long-term lesions or ulcers would particularly benefit from making sure that they are getting plenty of zinc. This is because zinc plays an important role in every aspect of the wound healing process. It repairs your skin, as well as helps to prevent further infections.
Zinc is needed to keep your cell walls stable and to help cells divide as they experience growth. Zinc acts like an antioxidant, in that it helps protect your skin from free radicals and even harmful UV rays.
There is also some evidence to show that zinc may be helpful in treating some skin conditions such as acne vulgaris, atopic dermatitis and diaper dermatitis.
Zinc for Your Eyes
By preventing cellular damage in the retina, zinc has the ability to keep your eyes from experiencing vision loss, and actually slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Zinc works by helping vitamin A create a pigment called melanin, which protects your eyes.
Fighting the Common Cold
Zinc has the most notable reputation for fighting the common cold. In fact, evidence has shown that if you take zinc lozenges within 24 hours after experiencing cold symptoms, the length of your cold will be lessened. Zinc in lozenge form is especially helpful as it coats the mouth and throat, which is where the cold virus takes hold. It works by reducing inflammation in the throat area. Though zinc lozenges don’t prevent colds, they can help make life easier if you are coming down with one.
Promotes Blood Sugar Control
Research has shown that zinc helps to keep blood sugar levels stabile, therefore improving your body’s sensitivity to insulin. In people with diabetes, zinc supplements were shown to enhance both short-term and long-term blood sugar control. Helping to normalize blood sugar levels in all individuals is yet another of its helpful attributes.
Signs of a Zinc Deficiency
According to Harvard Research, even a very mild zinc deficiency can cause viruses and bacteria to invade your immune system. Having low levels of zinc raise your risk of contracting infections such as pneumonia. Pregnant women, vegetarians and individuals with gastrointestinal diseases may be the most at risk of being deficient in zinc.
You may have a zinc deficiency if you experience some of the following symptoms:
- Loss of smell or taste
- Loss of appetite
- Weakened immunity
- Hair loss
- Slow wound healing
Zinc Supplementation for Your Health and Wellbeing
If you feel that your body may be low on zinc, or if you just want to enhance your health and wellbeing with the benefits of zinc, supplementing zinc in your diet just makes sense. Whether you are looking to scare off the common cold, strengthen your immune system, get clearer skin or prevent potential problems with your eyes later in life, making sure that you get enough zinc gives you one less thing that you have to worry about.