Zinc is a trace element which is essential for hundreds of reactions that take place in the body. It is also necessary for the body’s defenses and for maintaining healthy bones, skin, hair, nails and vision, as well as for mental function. In addition, it supports normal fertility and reproduction.
Despite its importance to health, zinc cannot be stored by the body and therefore needs to be ingested daily from the diet, and if necessary, from zinc supplements. Needs can vary depending on several factors including gender, age and weight, as well as dietary intake of phytates. These are compounds found in certain plant-source foods which prevent zinc from being absorbed by the body. In 2014, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) established the following reference values for average zinc requirements:
Note: recommended daily amounts can vary depending on country and dietary habits.
Everyone needs a daily intake of zinc but some studies suggest that, for various reasons, a third of the world’s population does not consume enough of this trace mineral. Vegetarians and vegans are at particular risk here because zinc is primarily contained in meat and seafood. Zinc requirements also increase at certain stages of life. During pregnancy, for example, it is even more important to consume enough in order to ensure the healthy development of the baby. Finally, intestinal absorption of nutriments can be affected by several factors. Older people, those suffering from intestinal problems and alcoholics are particularly vulnerable to zinc deficiency.
Numerous scientific studies support the benefits of taking zinc supplements. Following analysis of various findings, health authorities have moreover recognized a number of health claims made for zinc supplementation. It appears to support the following functions:
There are two possibilities: a highly-bioavailable form such as zinc orotate, or an enhanced combination product such as MultiMineral Complex. Nowadays, zinc supplements are not only taken to prevent or correct deficiency, but also to capitalise on the many benefits offered by this trace-element. Immunity, antioxidant defense, vision, skin … alongside these previously-mentioned virtues, the latest research suggests that supplementing with zinc may also help fight age-related macular degeneration (AMD), treat the common cold and even stop diarrhea.
While they represent only a tiny part our nutritional needs, micronutrients are central to vital functions. What do they do and where are they found?
The Japanese art of shinrin-yoku – which translates as forest bathing or sylvotherapy – is becoming increasingly popular. In this article, we explore its benefits, exercises and potential risks.
Exhaustion, pale skin, shortness of breath … could it be anemia? Read on for how to remedy this blood count abnormality which is much more common than you might think.
Based largely on Taoism, traditional Chinese medicine dates back more than 2500 years. Let’s take a look at its key principles and characteristic remedies.
A recent study has challenged common perceptions of coffee’s effects, especially on blood pressure. What, ultimately, are the positive and negative effects of coffee on health?
Though somewhat overshadowed by Chinese medicine, traditional Japanese or Kampo medicine has much to teach us. Here we explore its key principles and the plants that make up its pharmacopoeia.