Zinc is essential for the maintenance of immune system strength and gland health. It can be rapidly depleted when the body is fighting an illness such as cold and flu. Zinc promotes immune system health by activating the production of white blood cells. Zinc is the tenth most abundant element in the human body. Zinc is found in all organs, tissues and cells, and is involved in the function and activation of over 200 enzymes. Enzymes are the unique essential proteins that make the human body function properly.
Zinc activates the production of numerous hormones necessary for growth and development. Like enzymes, hormones are proteins essential to the body's health. These proteins are produced in specific organs in the body, passed into the bloodstream and carried to distant cells and organs to stimulate numerous biological processes.
Arsenic, cadmium, and lead are a few of the toxic elements that zinc helps to eliminate from the body.
Studies have shown that zinc is essential for intestinal wound healing. Consequently, zinc should be considered as a good supplement for gastrointestinal problems from heartburn to Crohn's disease.
The most common symptoms of zinc deficiency are skin problems. Zinc deficiency also expresses itself in a loss of the sense of taste and in general fatigue. Other possible symptoms of zinc deficiency are hormonal imbalances and childlessness. Zinc deficiency may also be associated with dysfunctions of the brain, in dyslexia for example.
In fact, this mineral plays an important role in the proper functioning of some of our most overt senses, such as our ability to smell, taste, and see. In some studies, taking zinc supplements was able to counter vision loss due to macular degeneration, while, on the other hand, a deficiency in zinc sometimes leads to a dulling of the taste buds and ability to detect scents. Low zinc levels have also been shown to coincide with low sperm counts in men.
Zinc may help protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or at least retard it in those who already have the disease. This condition, a major cause of blindness in older adults, is thought to be caused by damage to the retina caused by free radicals. Zinc helps guard retinal tissues, and is found in high concentrations in the retina. Two years ago a study found that a supplement containing zinc, carotenoids, and other nutrients slowed down AMD in those who already had the disease.
Zinc supplements can inhibit the absorption and availability of copper. If more than 50 mg of Zinc Supplement is taken daily, 2 mg of Copper Supplement should also be taken to prevent deficiency.
Zinc is a mineral essential for formation of superoxide dismutase, one of the bodyís most important free radical scavengers and one that cannot be directly supplemented.
More zinc is found in the body than any other trace element except for iron. Relatively large amounts are found in bone and muscle, and itís also prevalent in the prostate and retina of the eye.