Typically when you hear zinc you think about the classic lifeguard with a white nose standing on the beach. You don’t necessarily think of the fact that zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in our bodies and is vital to our overall health. Yes it can be used as a sunscreen, but it can be used to treat a variety of health conditions as well. In this article, we will go over 6 benefits of taking zinc supplements.
What is Zinc?
Zinc is considered to be an essential nutrient because your body does not produce or store it, so it must be constantly supplied through our diet.
It plays many important roles in our body’s overall health. It is present in every single cell and is the second most abundant trace mineral in the body – iron being the first.
Zinc is involved in numerous processes in the body including immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, gene expression, enzymatic reactions, wound healing, and cell growth and division.
Zinc is found in most plant and animals foods, but is scarce in highly processed food. For those who do not get an adequate amount of fruits, veggies, and lean protein in their diet, they may be at risk of a zinc deficiency.
Zinc Deficiency Symptoms
About 2 billion people worldwide have zinc deficiency due to their poor or inadequate diet. While some symptoms are more severe and require professional medical treatment, mild symptoms may be treatable through zinc supplementation.
Severe symptoms of zinc deficiency are considered rare. They include genetic mutation, behavioral issues, impaired wound healing, skin rashes, chronic diarrhea, impaired growth and development, and delayed sexual maturity.
Fortunately, there are benefits of taking zinc supplements for those with mild symptoms.
6 Benefits of Taking Zinc Supplements
1. Strengthen Immune System
Zinc is found in many over the counter medications and natural remedies due to its ability to strengthen the immune system. One of the benefits of taking zinc supplements is that they stimulate particular immune cells and reduce oxidative stress.
A review of seven studies found that 80–92 mg of zinc per day may reduce the length of the common cold by up to 33%.
2. Blood Sugar Control
Zinc is also important in the body’s blood sugar control and insulin secretion. Studies have shown that zinc supplements may help keep blood sugar levels steady and improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
3. Helps Clear Acne
For those who suffer from acne, it may be a sign of their body’s zinc deficiency. Fortunately for them, there have been studies on the skin benefits of taking zinc supplements.
One study showed that taking zinc sulfate reduced symptoms of severe acne.
4. Decreases Inflammation
One of the benefits of taking zinc supplements is that it decreases oxidative stress and lowers levels of inflammatory proteins in your body.
5. Accelerates Wound Repair
Your body’s skin holds about 5% of the total amount of zinc in your body and is why impaired wound healing is associated with zinc deficiency. In fact, many hospitals use zinc as a treatment for a variety of skin conditions, such as burns or ulcers.
Zinc also aids in collagen synthesis and inflammatory response. Supplementing zinc has been scientifically shown to speed the wound healing process in those with skin injuries.
6. Reduces Risks of Some Age-Related Diseases
Another amazing benefit of taking zinc supplements is that it significantly reduces the risk of some age-related diseases, such as pneumonia, infection, and macular degeneration.