Health Benefits of Zinc

February 13, 2018

 

 

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

  • controlling insulin activity and promoting conversion of thyroid hormones to their active form

  • maintaining a sense of smell and appetite

  • keeping our DNA healthy

  • supporting fertility

  • improving cardiovascular health

  • maintaining memory and a happy mood

  • promotes hair growth

  • improves eye health, like macular degeneration

  • reduces acne and herpes type 1 and 2 (fever blisters)

  • better nerve conduction and sensory perception (vision and taste)

  • heals gastric ulcers 

  • even controls impulsivity in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • 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. [1]

 

Zinc has been heavily promoted as a “cold remedy”.  Recent studies confirmed this benefit -- it decreases the duration of symptoms, if started in the first 24 hours.

 

But you also need to use the right formulation: acetate or gluconate as lozenges for cold symptoms.

 

As a replacement for Zn deficiency, patients can also use picolinate and sulfate.

 

Topically, Zinc can be used in sulfate or pythione form.

 

However, the dose of Zinc has to be monitored closely.

 

Other products, containing citrate, tartar, or glycine can actually worsen cold symptoms.  And the dose of more than 300 mg can make you sick. [2]

 

Avoid use of intranasal Zicam®.  Numerous reports exist on loss of smell, associated with Zicam® products.  These zinc-containing formulas have since been withdrawn from the U.S. market.

 

Zinc deficiency is widespread in the USA, and other industrialized countries, particularly in the population consuming large amounts of cereal and grain proteins and not enough meat, seafood and dairy, i.e. in people on vegetarian and vegan diets.

 

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

You should never take Zinc without first consulting with your doctor.  A Zinc overdose can create more problems, like:

  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, loss of taste

  • abdominal pain and diarrhea

  • headaches

  • anemia due to disruption in absorption of iron and copper

Zinc can also negatively interact with Herbs and Dietary Supplements.

 

Zinc may increase the risk of bleeding, when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding:

  • Ginkgo biloba

  • garlic

  • saw palmetto

Zinc may lower blood sugar levels.  Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar.  Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.

 

Zinc may also interact with:

  • antibacterials, antivirals, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements

  • anticancer herbs and supplements

  • antidepressants

  • antidiarrheals

  • antioxidants

  • antiulcer herbs and supplements

  • ascorbic acid, bromelain, caffeine, calcium, cat's claw

  • cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements

  • diuretics

  • dairy foods, fiber

  • chromium, citric acid, copper, folic acid

  • EDTA

Zinc can affect herbs and supplements that have:

  • estrogenic properties

  • immune system modulators

  • thyroid function and glands

Copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin D levels need to be monitored while taking Zinc.

 

Zinc level has to be monitored by blood work regularly.

 

For more information, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Koganski at 215-750-7000 or www.NewtownInternalMedicine.com

 

References:

[1] 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

[2]J ellin JM,  et al. Pharmacist's Letter/ Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 3rd ed. Stockton, Calif: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2000:1148-1151

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