Zinc is most popularly known for boosting immunity and keeping the common cold at bay. In addition to its role in keeping the body’s immune system strong and preventing infection, this trace mineral is important for a multitude of functions, including energy production, alertness, mood, and healthy brain function. It also plays a central role in hormone production, digestion, neuroprotection, and healing processes in the brain and body. And there’s more – but you’ll need to read on to learn all the amazing benefits of this remarkable health-promoting and healing mineral.
What Does Zinc Do To Your Body?
Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It strengthens your immunity and even contributes to the production of proteins and DNA. It also helps in wound healing.
Zinc is also present in all the body tissues and is imperative for healthy cell division. It has antioxidant benefits too – the mineral fights free radical damage and can even slow down aging. That’s about zinc in a nutshell. For more detailed information on the benefits, keep reading.
What Functions Does Zinc Have in Your Body?
Zinc is found in virtually all of the body’s 30-100 trillion cells and plays an important role in over 100 enzyme systems in the human body. Along with its companion nutrients, such as magnesium and B-vitamins, it is required for healthy cell division and the formation of new cells. It’s also an important antioxidant mineral that is needed for the proper function of the powerful antioxidant enzyme, Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD), which soaks up highly reactive, free radicals before they harm delicate cellular components. Though, for this anti-aging enzyme to work properly, it needs adequate levels of both copper and zinc – with a deficiency of either element resulting in impaired function of this important, protective enzyme system.
That’s just the beginning. For more information on the benefits, keep reading.
What Are The Benefits Of Zinc?
1. Builds Immunity
Zinc plays a key role in your body’s immunity to bacteria, viruses, and fungi. In studies conducted on both young adults and the elderly, zinc supplementation was found to decrease oxidative stress and halt the generation of inflammatory cytokines (1). Zinc deficiency weakens the immune system in both humans and animals, increasing a person’s susceptibility to colds and infections
Due to its inhibitory effect on viruses, the mineral works miraculously well in preventing and treating the common cold. Though you want to make sure you get a form of zinc that produces lots of zinc ions (Zn2+) when consumed. The reason for this is, it’s the zinc ions that inhibit viral replication by binding to the viral RNA. The form of zinc that produces the most ions is zinc acetate with zinc sulfate and zinc gluconate (commonly used in cold formulas) producing lesser amounts, but coming in a close second.
In addition to its immune strengthening effects, zinc also promotes faster wound healing as well. And according to the World Health Organization, zinc supplementation might also help boost respiratory health in children (3). This makes a lot of sense given its important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body, but you don’t want to overdo it. All you need is between 15-30 mg per day for a strong immune system and optimal health.
Too much zinc (> 30 mg per day) can potentially low copper stores in the body, which is another trace element important for a strong immune system. So, it’s recommended to have your copper level periodically tested if you’re taking a daily zinc supplement. Many multivitamins have zinc balanced with a small amount of copper to prevent a copper deficiency, but if you eat a lot of foods rich in copper, such as almonds or almond butter, other nuts, seeds, chocolate, legumes, avocados, whole grains, and seafood, you don’t need to worry about your copper and should be fine as long as you don’t overdo the zinc.
It’s a good idea to have your copper level tested if you’re taking a daily zinc supplement that exceeds the RDA of 15 mg and are experiencing unusual fatigue, muscle weakness, low thyroid, or skin issues, which may signify a copper deficiency. Remember, everything functions in balance