The many uses and benefits of zinc

Disclaimer: This is an educational and informative post, nothing in it is meant to take the place of medical treatment, neither does it claim to treat, cure or diagnose any condition.

What is zinc?

Zinc is an essential nutrient.
Essential meaning your body cannot produce it, you need to get it through food sources such as fish, eggs and dairy products. Cereals, grains, nuts and legumes contain smaller and less efficiently absorbed amounts of this element.
Bioavailability of zinc is better from animal sources than from plant food sources due to phytates in plants inhibiting the absorption of zinc.



Zinc is Required for:

• immune function
• gene expression
• DNA synthesis
• protein synthesis
• growth and development
• cell growth
• wound healing
• skin health
• hormone synthesis
• antioxidant action
• eyesight
• cognitive function
• skin, hair and nails



Zinc Deficiency:

The main cause of deficiency is inadequate dietary intake, which is common in many parts of the world. In 2001 it was estimated that almost half of the global population at that time was at risk of zinc deficiency.

People at most risk for deficiency include those with sickle cell anemia, pregnant and breastfeeding women, vegetarians and vegans, those with chronic kidney disease and untreated Celiac disease.


Deficiency signs:
• diarrhea
• loss of hair or thinning hair
• impaired taste or smell
• fertility issues
• impaired wound healing
• Psoriasis and other skin issues
• Brittle nails
• thyroid issues



Zinc and the Thyroid

Selenium and zinc are needed for converting T4 to T3. Zinc deficiency impairs Thyrotropin-releasing hormone synthesis, but also TSH, T3, and T4. Those with hypothyroidism often have reduced levels of zinc and copper.

There is a bi-directional relationship: Hypothyroidism leads to zinc deficiency and zinc causes hypothyroidism.



Zinc deficiency in males results in impotence, hypogonadism or delayed sexual development. Testosterone being involved. In Women a Zinc deficiency impairs FSH which is what tells your ovaries to produce progesterone. Zinc is also needed for the production of estrogen and insulin.



Did you know?

A Blood (serum) test is not a reliable indicator of zinc levels and normal values may be obtained in the presence of sub clinical zinc deficiency. The concentration of zinc in hair is a more reliable indicator of chronic zinc deficiency.



PMID: 30772815

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