Are you ready to delve into our brand new guide on another amazing supplement? This article is all about zinc, a trace element that's essential to our health. Keep reading to figure out if you need to add a zinc supplement to your diet, in which quantity and how to avoid any undesirable side effects.
Zinc supports the formation of new white blood cells, thereby strengthening our natural defenses. It also provides strength and vitality to hair, nails and skin. According to some studies, as many as one in three people suffers from particularly low zinc levels, an issue that negatively impacts their immune system, fertility and general well-being.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best Zinc Supplements
- 4 Buyer's Guide: Everything You Should Know About Zinc
- 4.1 What exactly is zinc?
- 4.2 How is zinc useful?
- 4.3 What is the recommended zinc dosage?
- 4.4 Which foods are rich in zinc?
- 4.5 What are the signs of a zinc deficiency?
- 4.6 Who should take zinc supplements?
- 4.7 How will zinc supplements benefit me?
- 4.8 What kinds of zinc supplements are available?
- 4.9 Can I take too much zinc?
- 4.10 Can I use zinc supplements while pregnant?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- Zinc is an essential trace element, and it's the second most crucial following iron when it comes to maintaining optimal health conditions in your body.
- Zinc deficiency is linked to a weak immune system that leaves individuals more prone to certain diseases ranging from the common cold to more serious pathologies like cancer.
- Significant quantities of zinc are found in foods of animal origin, but fruits and vegetables are poor in zinc. For this reason, vegetarians and vegans should be especially careful to avoid deficiencies.
Our Selection: The Best Zinc Supplements
Figuring out which zinc supplement is best for you can be a challenge, with so many different products available. To make it easier for you, we've gathered the very best zinc supplements on the market. We hope you'll find something that's just right for your needs.
Buyer's Guide: Everything You Should Know About Zinc
Your body needs zinc for over a hundred metabolic reactions. These processes can be divided into three primary groups:
- Regulation of enzymatic (chemical) reactions at the cellular level
- Maintenance of tissues in good condition (wound healing)
- Protection (shielding DNA from oxidative damage and promoting the formation of new white blood cells)
What exactly is zinc?
In 1961, a group of malnourished children who suffered from growth retardation was treated with zinc supplements. The experiment was a success, showing a clear improvement in the symptoms presented by the children. From then on, the importance of zinc for the proper development and maintenance of tissues has been clear.
Although a healthy person only needs a tiny amount of zinc to meet their daily requirements, there are many people with zinc deficiencies. Diets poor in animal products and rich in seeds and fiber can result in zinc deficiency, especially among those experiencing growth, the elderly and women who are pregnant or lactating.
How is zinc useful?
|Immune||Formation of new white blood cells, strengthening of immunity|
|Brain||Neural connection enhancer, stress resistance|
|Skin, hair and nails||Protection of the epithelial barrier. Scarring. Antioxidant. Hair and nail growth|
|Cellular metabolism||Anti-inflammatory. Antioxidant. DNA protection.|
|Reproductive||Increased fertility, libido and sexual function|
|Sensory (taste, sight, smell)||Supports normal vision, improves night vision. Sensitises taste buds and smell. Boosts appetite.|
|Cardiorespiratory||Improvement of respiratory and cardiac function. Regulates blood pressure. Creation of blood cells|
What is the recommended zinc dosage?
|Population group||Suggested daily dose|
|Infants 0-6 months||2 mg|
|Babies 7-12 months||3 mg|
|Children 1-3 years||3 mg|
|Children 4-8 years||5 mg|
|Children 9-13 years||8 mg|
|Boys 14-18 years||11 mg|
|Girls 14-18 years||9 mg|
|Adult males||11 mg|
|Adult females||8 mg|
|Pregnant or lactating women||11 mg|
|Men over 61||10 mg|
|Women over 61||10 mg|
Many individuals over the age of 61 are thought to suffer from a zinc deficiency, which interferes with the proper healing of wounds, weakens the immune system and raises the risk of respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections.
Which foods are rich in zinc?
Other food sources known to have zinc include chocolate, pumpkin seeds, nuts, yeast and even wine and beer. Meanwhile, cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables do not contain zinc. They actually contain phytates or phytic acid, which are compounds that prevent the absorption of zinc. That's why vegans and vegetarians need to pay special attention to their zinc levels.
What are the signs of a zinc deficiency?
Zinc deficiency directly impacts the structure and stability of tissues, leading to a deterioration of the immune system. The severity of the deficit will affect the gravity of its manifestations:
- Higher occurence of colds and seasonal flu
- Lower testosterone levels (lowered sexual desire and potency)
- Deterioration of night vision
- Slow down of metabolism or weight loss
- Hearing impairments
- Lowered sense of taste; lack of appetite
- Skin issues such as acne, wrinkles, dry skin
- Slow wound healing
- Trouble concentrating; tiredness and apathy
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- White marks on nails (leukonychia)
- Growth retardation in children and teens
- Impotence in men and loss of libido in men and women
- Accelerated aging
- Severe changes to the senses: taste, smell and sight
- Possible rise in cancer incidence
- Severe metabolic disorders (insulin and thyroid hormones)
Who should take zinc supplements?
- Those who tend to lose a lot of fluid through sweat (athletes, manual laborers)
- Those who get frequent colds
- Vegans and vegetarians
- The elderly, especially those who suffer from vision conditions or limited appetite
- Those with aphthae, mouth ulcers or halitosis
Zinc supplements are also suitable for:
- People with acne or acne scars
- People with eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia)
- People with joint and bone pain
- People suffering from muscle cramps
- People who have suffered extensive burns
- Hypertensive people taking diuretics (under medical supervision)
How will zinc supplements benefit me?
- Reduced frequency of flu, colds and gastrointestinal diseases
- Healthier hair and nails, with higher growth rate and limited loss/breakage
- Relief for acne, ulcers and cold sores
- Improved healing of wounds and burns
- Higher levels of testosterone in men and women (increased sexual desire and potency)
- Antioxidant impact on the skin, preventing the appearance of wrinkles and lines
- Prevention of sports injuries and faster healing
What kinds of zinc supplements are available?
These compounds may affect the absorption of zinc, and thereby influence your experience with the supplement. That's why it's important for you to be familiar with the main preparations available:
- Zinc orotate: This particular compound associates two molecules of orotic acid. Under normal conditions, the bacteria found in the intestinal tract can synthesise this acid, which is linked to better absorption and assimilation of zinc.
- Zinc picolinate: This organic acid can pass through the cell membrane, and is therefore especially effective in achieving absorption and transport of zinc.
- Zinc gluconate: This is the most common form of zinc supplementation, in which zinc is associated with an acid of glucose origin. Some critics have argued that this compound offers the lowest absorption capacity.
- Zinc bisglycinate: This supplement consists of zinc and two small glycine amino acids. Its absorption is comparable to that of zinc picolinate.
- Zinc citrate: Citrate is a salt derived from citric acid, with an absorption capacity akin to that of zinc gluconate.
Can I take too much zinc?
An excessive zinc intake can produce immediate symptoms like vomiting, headache and muscle cramps.
Consuming too much zinc over an extended period, meanwhile, can lead to chronic disturbances in your metabolism. These may include anemia, immune function issues and cholesterol alterations. Speak to your doctor before you begin long-term zinc supplementation.
In order to avoid excess zinc, some users only take the supplement during the coldest months of the year (to protect themselves from seasonal flu), and others choose to take half a dose rather than a full tablet.
Can I use zinc supplements while pregnant?
In principle, healthy pregnant women are not advised to take zinc supplements. Speak to your doctor about the potential of supplementing. Tests will help them determine whether zinc is necessary.
In this next section, we've compiled some of most important purchasing factors for you to consider as you choose your zinc supplement:
Allergens and Interactions
Pretty much any zinc supplement approved by authorities has been manufactured according to strict health standards. Most of these supplements are vegan-friendly, gluten-free and don't contain sugar or any transgenic elements. Always take a look at the label to check that it's suitable for you.
Be aware that supplementing with zin can result in interactions with the following medications:
- Antibiotics: Zinc may interact with common antibiotics and deactivate them. For this reason, you should take your medication at least two hours before or six hours after taking zinc.
- Penicillamine: Penicillamine is a medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Zinc prevents ideal absorption of the drug, so be sure to check with your doctor before supplementing.
Zinc supplements generally have an impact on your whole body, but zinc gluconate in particular has indicated higher efficiency to prevent infections. Keep this in mind when you're deciding which supplement to purchase.
The one "safe" method of administration for zinc that has been accepted internationally is the oral route. Intranasal supplementation was tested during, but the results were inconclusive and saw some undesirable side effects.
Oral zinc supplements normally come in these forms:
- Tablets: Keeping a tablet in your mouth for a while will lead to its disintegration, and you may notice a bitter taste. Some tablets have little notches that make it easy to divide them.
- Pills: Pills have a coating that prevents them from melting in your mouth, so they have a better taste and are easier to swallow.
- Capsules: Unlike tablets and pills, capsules contain powder inside. They are normally made of gelatin or a vegan alternative. The capsule facilitates ingestion and quickens absorption. Capsules can be hard or soft (the latter is considered easier to swallow).
Value for Money
Zinc supplements generally offer good value for cost. Remember that products with more supplements offer the best value. But be careful, since some manufacturers offer a high quantity but with less zinc in each serving.
An easy way to check that you're making a good purchase is to divide the product's price by the number of tablets.
Zinc is crucial for our well-being. This mineral supports general health, strong nails, beautiful skin and increased energy, desire and fertility. Nonetheless, you should be careful while supplementing with this trace element. Be sure not to exceed the daily recommend dosage.
We hope that this article provided you with enough information to make the right choice for your needs, so that you can enjoy all the advantages of this trace element without ruining your budget.
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(Source of featured image: Yemelyanov: 48592451/ 123rf.com)