Zinc, a nutrient found throughout your body, helps your immune system and metabolism function. Zinc is also important to wound healing and your sense of taste and smell. With a varied diet, your body usually gets enough zinc.
Zinc supports several functions in the human body. As well as supporting the immune system, it enables the body to make proteins and DNA, contributes to wound healing, and plays a role in childhood growth and development.
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Why is zinc good for you? Zinc occurs naturally in many foods, such as beans, meat, and fish. It is also available as a dietary supplement.
This article looks at the health benefits of zinc, why is zinc good for you, what happens if a person does not have enough zinc, and useful sources.
Is zinc good for you to take everyday?
People use oral zinc to help treat colds, but it can decrease the effectiveness of certain drugs and cause side effects.
The recommended daily amount of zinc is 8 milligrams (mg) for women and 11 mg for adult men.
When oral zinc is taken long-term and in high doses, it can cause copper deficiency.
People with low copper levels might experience neurological issues, such as numbness and weakness in the arms and legs.
The National Institutes of Health considers 40 mg of zinc a day to be the upper limit dose for adults and 4 mg of zinc a day for infants under age 6 months.
Don’t use intranasal zinc. This form of zinc has been linked with the loss of the sense of smell.
Is zinc good for you when pregnant?
Getting enough zinc during pregnancy is important for your baby’s health and your own.
Your baby needs zinc for cell growth and brain development. This essential mineral also helps support your immune system, maintain your sense of taste and smell, and heal wounds.
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Pregnant women ages 19 and older require 11 milligrams (mg) of zinc per day.
Why is zinc good for you? Foods that contain zinc include red meat, shellfish, poultry, pork, dairy products, fortified cereal, beans, and nuts.
Is zinc good for your hair?
Zinc plays an integral role in building and repairing hair tissues, ensuring that the oil glands around the follicles work seamlessly. A deficiency of this micronutrient often leads to hair loss and thinning.
Why is zinc good for you? Zinc deficiency results in protein structure changes of hair follicles, weakening their integrity that leads to new hair falling out quicker than usual. There have been recorded cases of how people revived their hair color, texture, and strength with a zinc-rich diet.
This hair regrowth specialized micronutrient plays a crucial role in DNA and RNA production, being a requirement for the efficient division of follicle cells, leading to an improved anagen stage through the hair growth cycle.
Zinc also helps to facilitate complex body functions such as physical growth, immunity, wound healing, development, and more.
Zinc inhibits the formation of steroids associated with male pattern baldness, as per the National Institutes of Health study in the USA (1988).
Hence, keeping zinc deficiency at bay is better but always with a fine line to walk on either side because consuming high dosage of zinc can lead to further hair loss.
Why is zinc good for health?
Because it’s one of the most widely available and cost-effective forms of zinc, zinc gluconate can be a good option to help bump up your intake without breaking your bank.
However, if you’re able to invest a bit more, zinc picolinate may be better absorbed.
Available in capsule, tablet, and lozenge form, there are plenty of options to get your daily dose of zinc — regardless of the type you choose.
Zinc is vital for many aspects of health and has been associated with a variety of benefits.
May Improve Immune Function
Many over-the-counter medications and natural remedies feature zinc due to its ability to boost immune function and fight inflammation.
One review of seven studies showed that zinc lozenges containing 80-92 mg of zinc may reduce the common cold duration by up to 33%.
Why is zinc good for you? Zinc may also act as an antioxidant, helping reduce inflammation and protect against chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
One study in 50 older adults found that taking 45 mg of zinc gluconate for one year decreased several markers of inflammation and reduced the frequency of infections.
May Promote Blood Sugar Control
Zinc is well known for its role in blood sugar control and insulin secretion. Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from your bloodstream to your tissues.
Why is zinc good for you? Some research suggests that zinc may help keep blood sugar levels steady and improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
One review reported that zinc supplements were effective at enhancing both short-term and long-term blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
Other research shows that zinc may help reduce insulin resistance, which can improve your body’s ability to use insulin efficiently to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Helps Fight Acne
Zinc supplements are often used to promote skin health and treat common skin conditions like acne.
Zinc sulfate has been shown to be especially useful for decreasing symptoms of severe acne.
A 3-month study in 332 people found that taking 30 mg of elemental zinc — a term that refers to the actual amount of zinc found in a supplement — was effective at treating inflammatory acne.
Why is zinc good for you? Zinc supplements are also often favored over other treatment methods as they’re inexpensive, effective, and associated with far fewer side effects.
May Improve Heart Health
Heart disease is a serious problem, accounting for roughly 33% of deaths worldwide.
Why is zinc good for you? Some research shows that taking zinc may improve several risk factors for heart disease and may even lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
A review of 24 studies found that zinc supplements helped decrease levels of total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides, which could potentially aid in preventing heart disease.
Additionally, one study in 40 young women showed that higher intakes of zinc were linked to lower levels of systolic blood pressure.
However, research evaluating the effects of supplements on blood pressure is limited.
Other research suggests that low levels of serum zinc may be associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease, but findings remain inconclusive.
Slows Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is a common eye disease and one of the leading causes of vision loss around the globe.
Zinc supplements are often used to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and help protect against vision loss and blindness.
One study in 72 people with AMD showed that taking 50 mg of zinc sulfate daily for three months slowed the progression of the disease.
Why is zinc good for you? Similarly, another review of 10 studies reported that supplementing with zinc was effective at reducing the risk of progression to advanced macular degeneration.
However, other studies in the review suggested that zinc supplements alone may not produce significant vision improvements and should be paired with other treatment options to maximize results
Top Benefits of Zinc
Here are some of the best reasons to take a zinc supplement.
Zinc may reduce the duration of cold symptoms, support blood sugar control, improve severe and inflammatory acne, decrease heart disease risk, and slow the progression of macular degeneration.
How much zinc you should take per day depends on the type, as each supplement contains a different amount of elemental zinc.
For example, zinc sulfate consists of about 23% elemental zinc, so 220 mg of zinc sulfate would equate to about 50 mg of zinc.
This amount is usually listed on the label of your supplement, making it easy to determine how much you should take to meet your daily needs.
For adults, the recommended daily dosage is typically 15–30 mg of elemental zinc.
Higher doses have been used for treating certain conditions, including acne, diarrhea, and respiratory infections.
However, due to the potential side effects associated with excess zinc consumption, it’s best not to exceed the upper limit of 40 mg per day — unless under medical supervision.
Different zinc supplements contain varying concentrations of elemental zinc. The recommended dosage for daily supplements is 15–30 mg.
Safety and Side Effects
When used as directed, zinc supplements can be a safe and effective way to increase your zinc intake and improve several aspects of your health.
However, they have been associated with adverse side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
Exceeding 40 mg per day of elemental zinc can cause flu-like symptoms, such as fever, coughing, headache, and fatigue.
Zinc can also interfere with your body’s ability to absorb copper, potentially leading to a deficiency in this key mineral over time.
Furthermore, zinc supplements have been shown to interfere with the absorption of certain antibiotics, reducing their effectiveness if taken at the same time.
To reduce your risk of side effects, stick to the recommended dosage and avoid exceeding the tolerable upper limit of 40 mg per day — unless under medical supervision.
If you experience any negative side effects after taking zinc supplements, decrease your dosage and consider consulting with your healthcare professional if symptoms persist.
Zinc can cause negative side effects, including digestive issues and flu-like symptoms. It may also interfere with the absorption of copper and reduce the effectiveness of certain antibiotics.
Zinc is a mineral essential to many aspects of health.
Supplementing with 15–30 mg of elemental zinc daily may improve immunity, blood sugar levels, and eye, heart, and skin health. Be sure not to exceed the upper limit of 40 mg.
Zinc’s side effects include digestive issues, flu-like symptoms, and reduced copper absorption, and antibiotic effectiveness.
Zinc supplements are widely available online, at your local health store, or pharmacy.
Plus, if you want to try and increase your zinc intake through your diet, many foods are rich in this mineral, such as nuts, seeds, legumes, meat, seafood, and dairy. Start a custom weight loss program
Why is too much zinc bad for you
Yes, if you get too much. Signs of too much zinc include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. When people take too much zinc for a long time, they sometimes have problems such as low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol).
The daily upper limits for zinc include intakes from all sources—food, beverages, and supplements—and are listed below. These levels do not apply to people who are taking zinc for medical reasons under the care of a doctor:
|Life Stage||Upper Limit|
|Birth to 6 months||4 mg|
|Infants 7–12 months||5 mg|
|Children 1–3 years||7 mg|
|Children 4–8 years||12 mg|
|Children 9–13 years||23 mg|
|Teens 14–18 years||34 mg|
Why is zinc good for you
Zinc is a mineral that’s important to the body in many ways. Zinc keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth.
Zinc deficiency occurs frequently in developing countries. Zinc deficiency in the U.S. is rare because most diets provide more than the recommended dietary allowance.