Did You Know How Important Is Zinc For Your Body?

Are you up to speed when it comes to minerals and vitamins from A to Z? If yes, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that zinc plays a crucial role in our bodies.

An essential trace mineral, zinc is found in abundance in human body. It is involved in the production of about 300 enzymes and is important to perform a number of body functions, ranging from production of DNA to damaged cell repair. That’s not all zinc also helps us to sleep better at night, which again provides a host of other additional benefits.

So How Does Zinc Make Things Happen?

With so many zinc vitamins and zinc supplements at your local health store, you may find yourself wondering about the importance of zinc for the body.

Zinc earns its strips by supporting immune function in order to fight illness, promote healthy cell growth and development and also helps ensuring a proper sense of taste and smell. Other benefits of zinc include:

  • Bone formation: Zinc is used by enzymes for the production of collagen and alkaline phosphate (ALP), both of which are essential for bone formation. It is also used in the production of calcitonin, a hormone used to inhibit breakdown of bone.
  • Thyroid formation: Zinc is used in the production of a hormone (TRH), which signals thyroid to make thyroid hormones. It functions by converting the proteins we eat into amino acids to power the thyroid hormone production.
  • Cell replication: Almost 30% of zinc available in cells is found in the cell nucleus. This means, zinc is involved in DNA formation and also helps in replication of cells and proteins required by the body.

How Important Is Zinc For Immunity?

Zinc is an extremely important mineral in the first line of defense for our bodies. The first line of defense is mainly represented by the physical barriers, including skin and mucous membranes lining the inside of our bodies. Zinc is essentially present in the mucous secretions of the respiratory system and also on the surfaces of throat and lungs.

Zinc has an antimicrobial effect, which helps in killing inhaled viruses and bacteria before they get a chance to attack the immune system. It is also secreted in the saliva along with mucous membranes of the digestive system to destroy the ingested invaders.

The benefits of zinc don’t just end there – zinc is also used to support white blood cell production. It helps activating the B and T cells, which are needed by the immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria.

Antioxidant benefits of Zinc

Zinc helps in protecting the cell membranes against the oxidative damage caused by other metals, such as copper and iron, present inside the body. It also forms an essential part of an important antioxidant in the body, called as superoxide dismutase, which is used by liver in order to bind toxins to be removed from the body.

Are You Aware Of Zinc Deficiency Symptoms?

Deficiency of zinc in your body can be the leading cause for:

  • Stretch marks
  • Poor sense of smell and taste
  • White spots on nails
  • Acne
  • Anorexia
  • Poor growth
  • Hair loss
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Poor wound healing
  • Poor night vision
  • Dry skin

What Can Lead To Zinc Deficiency?

It should be noted that zinc absorption is significantly impaired by high quantities of iron, calcium and copper. Phytates that is commonly found in corn, wholegrain, legumes and rice is another factor that reduces zinc absorption. High perspiration, oral contraceptives, diabetes, caffeine and stress are other contributing factors that reduce the body’s capacity to absorb zinc.

How to Maintain Proper Zinc Levels?

Animal proteins, such as lamb, eggs, beef and chicken can help you maintain healthy zinc levels inside your body. Nuts, legumes, tofu, green beans, mushrooms and avocado also constitute rich sources of zinc. In case of severe zinc deficiency, you can also add high quality zinc supplements to your diet.

How Does Zinc Help Your Body?

One of the most essential minerals for our bodies, zinc plays a crucial role in performing various cellular functions. It is extremely vital for hair, skin and eye health and also for supporting cognitive functions.

However, the most observable effect of zinc is its impact on your immune system. According to research, zinc has proven benefits to effectively fight off symptoms of cold.

Zinc Benefits for Women

According to research, sufficient intake of zinc may help women ward off symptoms of PMS. Zinc is extremely essential for pregnant women as its deficiency may greatly increase the risk of low birth weight. Also, the lactating women transfer zinc to their babies to help them grow faster.

Zinc Benefits for Men

Zinc is directly related to the natural testosterone production in the body. Testosterone is the hormone that is largely responsible to make up everything in a man, right from facial hair to musculature. It also plays an essential role in preventing the production of estrogen in males.

Elixir of life: Vitamins & Minerals – 1

So what’s the big deal about vitamins and minerals any ways? Do you really need to worry about getting adequate amounts of these “essential nutrients”?

Let’s have a look at what the fuss is all about. Vitamins and minerals together are called “essential nutrients” because they perform literally hundreds of different functions in the body.

This three part blog will arm you with all the information that you will ever need on these “essential nutrients”. Let’s start with an overview of the functioning of these micro nutrients as a whole. In the later parts we will take a closer look at the vitamins and minerals individually.

Now that we have the importance of these micro nutrients, let’s get a couple of things down:

  • Eating a well-balanced diet still remains the best way to get adequate quantities of these essential nutrients.

  • Like all things in life there is a fine line between getting the right quantity and having too much which can cause several complications.

Essential nutrients for your body

These nutrients are essential for your body as they provide the raw material that is required to produce bones, muscle, skin as well as adding in a number of life-supporting processes. Together these 30 odd vitamins, minerals, and dietary nutrients are essential for survival and must be sourced from external sources as the human body cannot produce them in sufficient quantities on its own.

In addition, these nutrients together work synergistic-ally to perform hundreds of additional roles in the body, they support healthy bones, aid in the healing process, and bolster your immune system. They also play a vital role in converting food into energy, and help repair damaged cells.

What if you don’t get adequate amounts of these micro-nutrients?

Having gotten the importance part out of the way let’s look at what can happen if you don’t get the adequate quantities of these essential nutrients. Vitamins and minerals are also known as micro-nutrients because they are only required in minute quantities. Yet failing to meet the adequate quantity of these nutrients virtually guarantees diseases. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Scurvy: Used to be prevalent in sailors as the job enlisted months on end at sea without access to fresh fruits or vegetables rich in vitamin C— the disease is marked by bleeding gums and lethargy of scurvy.

  • Blindness: Failing to get adequate quantities of vitamin A can cause blindness. Blindness due to vitamin A deficiency is still prevalent in a number of countries in the developing world.

  • Rickets: This disease is caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, a condition that causes the bones to become soft and weak which in turn can cause skeletal deformities such as bowed legs.

Okay enough fear mongering; let’s look at the benefits of a well-balanced diet that provides for the adequate quantities of these essential nutrients. Just to name a few:

  • Strong bones: together vitamins D and K along with calcium, phosphorus and magnesium help build strong bones that are more resilient to fractures. This combination should be of interest to you, especially if you’re over 35 and for post-menopausal women.

  • Prevention of birth defects: It is highly recommended that folic acid supplements be taken during early pregnancy as it aids in prevention of brain and spinal birth defects in offspring.

  • Healthy teeth: The mineral fluoride often found in a number of toothpastes these days aids not only in bone formation but also keeping teeth cavities at bay.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals are often mentioned in a single breath no doubt; however these two are different nutrients. The biggest difference between the two being that vitamins are organic in nature and are fragile and break down upon exposure to air and/or heat, minerals on the other hand are more resilient as these are inorganic in nature.

Why do you need to know the difference between vitamins & minerals? Well, learning the basic difference between vitamins and minerals is important as most minerals required by your body can be absorbed by through various food sources that you consume. But it’s tougher to maintain the vitamin content of the food as cooking, storage, or even simple exposure to air can inactivate these more fragile compounds.

Interacting— both good and bad

A number of these nutrients interact with each other and not always in a positive fashion. For instance, Vitamin D and calcium share a positive interaction; vitamin D facilitates the absorption of calcium from various food sources and in turn aids maintaining bone strength. Likewise Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron.

As mentioned earlier the interplay of micro nutrients isn’t always positive. For example, it is known that higher quantities of vitamin C block copper absorption. Similarly, excess of manganese can worsen iron deficiency.