Zinc is an essential mineral required by the body for:
maintaining a strong immune system,
building proteins, muscles, bones,
facilitating the function of enzymes and hormones,
maintaining a sense of smell and appetite,
keeping our DNA healthy,
maintaining memory and happy mood,
eye and skin health,
and many more. Over 300 biological functions in the human body rely on Zinc as a vital nutrient for our health.
The newest data shows a possible benefit of Zinc in prevention and treatment of pancreatic, prostate and breast cancers. (Hoang BX, et al. Zinc as a possible preventive and therapeutic agent in pancreatic, prostate, and breast cancer. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 08/19/2016)
Zinc has been heavily promoted as a “cold remedy”. The studies confirmed the benefit in decreasing the duration of symptoms if started in the first 24 hours. But you also need to use the right formulation: acetate or gluconate, and the correct dose. Other products, containing citrate, tartar, or glycine can actually worsen cold symptoms. And the dose of more than 300 mg can make you sick. (Jellin JM, Gregory P, Batz F, et al. Pharmacist's Letter/ Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 3rd ed. Stockton, Calif: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2000:1148-1151)
Zinc deficiency is widespread in the USA, and other industrialized countries, particularly in the population consuming large amount of cereal and grain proteins and not enough meat, seafood and dairy, like vegetarians.
The best source of Zinc is animal foods and oysters. Unfortunately, humans are not able to absorb Zinc from plant food well.
The deficiency of Zinc can contribute to and cause symptoms of chronic fatigue, ADD, neuropathy (numbness, tingling and even unsteady gait and confusion), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), infertility, slow wound healing, etc.
You should never take Zinc without first consulting with your doctor. Zinc overdose can create more problems, like:
nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of taste,
abdominal pain and diarrhea,
anemia due to disruption in absorption of iron and copper.
The level has to be monitored by blood work.