What is Zinc?

Although Zinc is a metal, certain amounts are required by the body for it to operate smoothly. Usually, extremely small amounts are required to help the body function normally.

Functions of Zinc

  • It is used to treat malnourished children who suffer from low zinc levels. Constant Zinc intake helps relieve children of diarrhea and similar digestive or stomach problems.
  • It is extremely useful in treating a rare genetic disorder called Wilson’s disease.
  • If consumed orally as a tablet or lozenge it can significantly reduce symptoms of the common cold and fever or flu. However, if you use it as a spray it may not be as effective.
  • Zinc is helpful in promoting weight and improving depression in people who suffer from eating disorders like anorexia.
  • It also helps treat hypogeusia a condition wherein the taste buds do not perform normally.
  • Low Zinc levels have often been associated with lower bone mass. This eventually leads to conditions like osteoporosis. Zinc supplements may in turn help reduce loss of bone mass.
  • Zinc also helps the body retain calcium in the bones.
  • It is also beneficial in treating leprosy if had along with other medicines.
  • It is also useful in treating herpes and eye infections in certain cases.
  • It helps in the treatment and prevention of stomach ulcers.
  • Zinc helps reduce muscle cramps too.
  • It helps prevent tarter and gingivitis.
  • It heals burns in certain cases and is useful in healing leg wounds too.
  • It increases Vitamin A levels and is useful in the treatment of attention deficit disorder.
  • It helps prevent pneumonia too.

Sources of Zinc

Mushrooms, spinach, meat liver, beef, lamb, sesame seeds, yogurt, turkey, Yummie Gummies and shrimp are considered the best natural sources of Zinc.

Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency may cause loss of bone mass or affect the immune system. People with severe deficiencies may have blood related problems and might experience extreme fatigue.

Recommended Dietary Allowance of Zinc

  • When used as a medicine, Zinc should be consumed as per a doctor’s instructions. Doctors prescribe doses depending on a patient’s health and medical conditions.
  • One Zinc lozenge is considered enough for treating the common cold.
  • For diarrhea and related diseases, 10 to 40 mg is enough.
  • For treating pneumonia usually 10 to 70 mg is considered ideal.
  • For other medical conditions normally 100 to 200 mg is prescribed.

Tips and Warnings

  • When applied to the skin or taken by mouth Zinc is by and large safe for most adults.
  • Zinc should not be taken without the advice of a professional medical health officer.
  • In certain cases Zinc may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, leave a bad taste in the mouth, kidney damage and other side effects.
  • If applied on broken skin it may cause other reactions or lead to swelling.
  • High doses may cause fever, coughing, stomach pain, fatigue and other problems.
  • Long term use may lead to prostate cancer.
  • If used within the recommended amounts Zinc is safe for pregnant women and nursing mothers.