Zinc is an essential mineral. Zinc is required for the manufacture of hundreds of crucial enzymes making this mineral crucial for growth and maintenance of the body throughout life. Food sources of zinc include red meat, fish, oysters, shellfish, poultry, cheese, legumes, whole grains, tofu and green beans.
Supplement sources of zinc include all multivitamin-mineral supplements, multi-mineral supplements, and many prostate health formulas.
Zinc is particularly important for a strong immune system. Zinc lozenges, for example, have shown effectiveness in shortening the duration and severity of colds. As an antioxidant co-factor, zinc helps neutralize damaging free radicals in the body caused by environmental pollutants and toxins.
Those most susceptible to zinc deficiency include the elderly, alcoholics, those following an extremely low calorie diet, and individuals suffering from anorexia, malabsorption syndromes and chronic diarrhea.
Low levels of zinc are associated with the following conditions: diabetes, eating disorders, low fertility (male), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, diarrhea in infants, alcoholism, HIV disease, pregnancy, an increased risk of contracting tuberculosis, and taking birth control pills.
Zinc's Health Benefits
Zinc is critical to overall health. Research shows that besides helping shorten the intensity/duration of colds, zinc may help improve wound healing, hormonal status and protect against osteoporosis by preserving bone mass and increasing bone growth.
Using Zinc Supplements
Use zinc supplements as directed. Zinc should also be taken with solid food to minimize any chance of the stomach upset that occurs when zinc is taken with insufficient amounts of solid food. Consult your physician before using any dietary supplements if you are currently taking any medications, as zinc may interact with other medications or drugs you are taking.