Zinc is an essential mineral found in cells throughout the body. It plays a key role in growth, immune function, and reproduction.
What Are The Benefits of Taking Zinc?
Zinc has a diverse list of benefits that are critical to an individual’s overall health, such as:
How Can I Get Zinc Through My Diet?
Common dietary sources of zinc include meat and fish. Fortunately, for vegans and vegetarians, there are excellent plant-based sources, including:
Adult men need about 11 milligrams per day, while women need about 8 milligrams per day. However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will need about 12 milligrams per day. Excess zinc does not get stored by the body. Therefore, to ensure you are getting an adequate amount of zinc every day, it is important to eat various zinc-rich foods throughout the day. If not, consider taking a zinc supplement.
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency:
Most individuals are able to get a sufficient amount of zinc through their diet every day. However, vegans and vegetarians are at greater risk of zinc deficiency because they do not consume foods highly saturated with zinc, such as animal products.
Inadequate intake and malabsorption are the most common causes of zinc deficiency and can lead to physical ailments. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be at risk and should consider consulting with your doctor.
- Slowed growth
- Low insulin levels
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Rough and dry skin
- Slow wound healing
- Poor sense of taste and smell
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Erectile dysfunction
Groups at High Risk of Zinc Deficiency:
Zinc is critical for growth. Therefore, these groups at greatest risk of zinc deficiency due to increased growth demands are:
- Infants and children
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Elderly adults
During these growth periods, these individuals need to fuel their bodies properly and consider taking supplements.
How Does Zinc Effect Sex Health?
Zinc plays a critical role in sex health as it is the building block for testosterone levels, prostate health and sperm quality. According to multiple studies, high levels of zinc equate to higher levels of testosterone. This is important because low testosterone is associated with low libido, fatigue, low muscle mass and erectile dysfunction. Similarly, higher levels of zinc are linked to a healthier prostate and lower risk of prostate cancer due to zinc’s anti inflammatory properties. In addition, zinc increases sperm quality, which is important for male fertility. If you or your partner are experiencing any of these issues, it is worth consulting your doctor and evaluating your zinc levels.
Zinc and COVID-19:
Because zinc plays a critical role in fighting off invading bacteria and viruses to support the immune system, it is highly recommended that individuals ensure they are getting adequate zinc every day in addition to other vitamins and minerals amidst the pandemic.
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