Friday, 26 February 2016

THE MANY BENEFITS OF ZINC SUPPLEMENTATION.

Source: Medscape
The element called ZINC is a metal, but the good kind of metal. It is an essential trace element  necessary for growth and proper functioning of a broad range of tissue systems, organs and the human body as a whole.


Zinc is very important in protein synthesis and its role in maintaining and modulating proper immune system responses to infections is well known. Zinc is also very important in wound healing and other biological actions.

The body requires only small amounts of zinc daily to enjoy these health benefits produced by zinc mineral, so ideally a human should get his daily recommended doses of zinc mainly from diet. Important food sources for zinc include;
  • Meat
  • Oysters
  • Oats
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Whole wheat grain
  • Peas
Unfortunately, today's diet and lifestyle has made it difficult for people to get desired amounts of this nutrient just from dietary intake alone.

Zinc deficiency syndrome ( a state where the body exhibits symptoms of low zinc levels) is not uncommon today and symptoms include:
  • Depressed immunity (Fall ill too often)
  • Frequent infections
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hair loss
  • Mental disturbances
  • Changes in taste and smell
  • Night blindness
  • Decreased spermatogenesis in men (Low sperm count)
To avoid and reverse symptoms related to zinc deficiency states, studies have shown that daily zinc supplementation of no more than 50mg - 100mg per day over a period of two to 3 months would prove beneficial.

Usually, the first good source of zinc should be through adequate, balanced diet rich in protein. Expect a daily yield value of about 10mg of zinc from such diets alone. Severe zinc deficiency states would however require additional zinc supplementation at a dose of about 50 to 100mg daily.


Benefits Of Zinc Supplementation

Studies have shown that daily supplementation with zinc supplements in zinc deficiencies states produce the following benefits

1.  Boosts immunity against infections. Believe it or not, zinc is a potent mediator of the body's resistance to infection. it is not fully clear how this action takes place but because susceptibility to a broad range of pathogens are affected by zinc it is very likely that multiple immunological effectors are involved in this action. A daily dose of 50mg - 80mg per day is effective to help produce this action.

2.  Zinc is vital for good, clear vision. Zinc is naturally present in high concentrations in the eye, mostly at the retina and the choroid. Zinc helps transport vitamin A from the liver to the retina so as to produce the protective melanin pigment for the eye.

In clinical settings zinc supplementation is recommended for people at high risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD) or already experiencing this disorder (Macular degeneration is a medical condition which may result in blurred or no vision in the centre of the visual field).

A study sponsored by the National Eye Institute (USA) demonstrated that a daily dose of 40 - 80mg of zinc taken along with beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C slows down age related macular generation by about 25%.

3.  Erectile dysfunction and Infertility in Men. Zinc plays an important role in the sexual health of mammals including man. Zinc is also very important in spermatogenesis and helps improve the natural levels of the male hormone testosterone.This is important because testosterone levels in men decrease with age and a decrease in testosterone levels correlates with an increase in the potential for erectile dysfuntion. Poor diet lacking in zinc impacts on the levels of testosterone in young men which may also increase the risk for erectile dysfunction, a probable sign in itself for zinc deficiency states in young males.

In clinical settings, 12 weeks daily supplementation with 50 - 80mg of zinc has been given to help reverse this condition in men with erectile dysfunction and also appreciably improve spermatogenesis.


4.  Zinc and hair loss. Zinc is one vitamin necessary for proper hair growth (another is vitamin D). Hair loss is a common symptom in zinc deficiency states. It is also very important in hair loss associated with hypothyroidism as hypothyroidism in itself results in acquired zinc deficiency states. Studies show that the hair loss associated with hypothyroidism may not improve except if zinc supplementation is added to treatment so as to address the associated zinc deficiency state.

A daily dose of 50 - 60mg per day of zinc supplement (in the form of zinc gluconate) would prove helpful in reversing hair loss associated with zinc deficiency and hypothyroidism states.


5.  Zinc and Your Skin. Zinc produces its good benefits to the skin by aiding cellular generation and facillitates vitamin A transport to skin to improve formation of melanin.  Zinc also helps trigger cellular apoptosis which is necessary for the cells of the skin so that old skin sloughs away to reveal newer skin. Zinc deficiency states impacts this process, making the skin look dull, lacking lustre and causing all manner of skin problems such as persistent acne. This is one common sign of zinc deficiency especially seen in individuals on strict vegetarian diet with little source for dietary zinc intake.

Daily supplement with 30mg - 40mg Zinc ( as Zinc picolinate) would prove helpful in reversing the effects of Zinc deficiency states on the skin.


Appropriate Caution For Use Of Zinc Supplement

Healthcare providers should note however that the expected efficacy and dosing of zinc in whatever form should be effectively balanced with the body's associated need for copper (as copper and zinc levels in the body go hand in hand at proper ratios.) and potential for Zinc toxicity. At low to normal dose of zinc, zinc is very beneficial in therapy but doses exceeding the range of 100 - 350mg of zinc intake per day presents the risk of zinc toxicity.

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