Unless you’re trying to get rid of cold or flu symptoms, zinc is probably not the first nutrient on your mind. Zinc is more than a mineral that can help you recover from the common cold or other illnesses. It is an essential mineral that you should consume in small amounts every day. The reason for that is because the body cannot produce or store it, so consuming zinc daily can contribute to overall health and wellness.
The body needs zinc for various processes in the body. Behind iron, zinc is the second-most abundant mineral in the body. Zinc is involved with immune function, DNA synthesis, gene expression, growth and development, protein synthesis, wound healing, and enzymatic reactions. Zinc exists in a wide variety of plant and animal foods, but it is also available in supplement form. Because of its role in immune function, zinc is often included in lozenges, cold medication, and other cold treatments. Should you want to start supplementing with zinc, consider speaking with your healthcare provider to determine the right dosage. Read on to learn about the top five health benefits of zinc.
It Contributes To Healthy Immune Function
Zinc works to control inflammation and prevent elevated inflammatory responses, including the release of cytokines. It aids the body during an immune response, but it also helps it return to homeostasis, the state of equilibrium between interdependent elements. According to research, zinc may help with the development of immune cells and interfere with the molecular process that causes mucus and bacteria to accumulate in nasal passages. A 2020 review of clinical trials found that when healthy adults with cold symptoms took zinc supplements, the duration of symptoms was significantly reduced by about 2.25 days.
May Reduce The Risk Of Certain Age-Related Illnesses
Pneumonia, infection, and age-related macular degeneration are all examples of age-related illnesses. Researchers believe that zinc may reduce your chances of developing these types of illnesses. Older studies confirmed that older adults who supplemented with zinc improved influenza vaccination response. They also experienced a boost in mental performance and a reduced risk of pneumonia. A study from 2007 determined that taking 45 milligrams (mg) of elemental zinc per day may decrease the risk of infection in older adults by 66%. Additionally, other research confirmed that taking 80 mg of zinc per day, alongside vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, decreased vision loss.
It Helps Maintain Heart Health
The body needs zinc to maintain healthy cells within the cardiovascular system. Zinc also works to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of oxidative stress. The endothelium, the thin layer of cells that lines blood vessels, is slightly reliant on adequate intake of zinc. Zinc also assists the heart by supporting optimal circulation. Researchers note that zinc may aid with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels from damages or clogged arteries. One meta-analysis determined that adults with heart failure had lower levels of zinc than people with healthier hearts.
May Help Treat Acne
According to several studies, people with acne tend to have lower levels of zinc than those with clearer skin. Acne, a common skin disorder, affects about 9.4% of the global population. It is most common in teens, but it can affect adults as well. It is driven by the obstruction of oil-producing glands, inflammation, and bacteria. Various studies suggest that both oral and topical zinc treatments can effectively treat acne by inhibiting the growth of P. acnes bacteria. Zinc also works to suppress oil gland activity and reduce inflammation on the skin.
It Helps With Muscle Growth And Repair
Zinc is involved in normal cell growth and division, which means that it assists muscle growth and repair. How does it do this? Well, it makes it possible for the body to heal itself and maintain strength in the body’s muscular and skeletal systems. Zinc also works to promote the growth of muscle mass by increasing the amount of testosterone the body is able to produce post-exercise. This is especially true after a session of weight training or high-intensity interval training. Regarding testosterone, zinc aids with the body’s release of that hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), both of which are necessary for muscle mass and metabolism.