Zinc, a nutrient found throughout the body, supports the immune system and metabolic function. Zinc is also important for wound healing and the sense of taste and smell. With a varied diet, the body usually gets enough zinc. Dietary sources of zinc include chicken, red meat, and fortified breakfast cereals.
People use oral zinc to treat the common cold, but it can decrease the effectiveness of certain medications and cause side effects. The recommended daily allowance for zinc is 8 milligrams (mg) for adult women and 11 mg for adult men. zinc deficiency. People with low zinc levels seem to benefit the most from zinc supplementation. This type of defect is not common in the United States.
There is evidence that if zinc lozenges or syrup are taken within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms, supplementation may help reduce the duration of colds. However, the use of intranasal zinc has been linked to the loss of the sense of smell. Partly long-term or permanent. wound healing. People with skin ulcers and low zinc levels may benefit from oral zinc supplementation.
Oral zinc supplements can reduce symptoms of diarrhea in children with low zinc levels, such as those caused by malnutrition. There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of oral zinc in children with diarrhea who eat a healthy and varied diet. Age-related macular degeneration. Research suggests that oral zinc may slow the progression of this eye disease.
Uses Of Zinc
Zinc used topically is known as zinc oxide. Zinc oxide cream, ointment, or paste is applied to the skin to prevent conditions such as diaper rash and sunburn. It Supports the Immune System and also there is a long history linking zinc to optimal immune function. For example, people whose zinc levels are too low are known to have few or no infection-fighting T cells, and the thymus, the organ where T cells develop, is almost nonexistent says an expert.
When zinc-deficient people are given supplemental zinc, their thymus glands grow and start secreting these immune cells. When chemotherapy and radiation fail to cure a patient’s blood cancer, they undergo a blood stem cell transplant (also known as a bone marrow transplant). transplant) to get new, healthy blood stem cells to replace your cancerous blood cells and become infection-fighting white blood cells, oxygen-carrying red blood cells, and wound-healing platelets.
Before the blood stem cell infusion, patients receive treatments that kill their bone marrow and kill any remaining cancer cells. But these treatments and the transplant itself can cause side effects that increase the risk of low zinc levels.
This includes diarrhea and inflammation, but also the use of steroids to fight inflammation. In addition, Iovino said, we absorb less zinc as we age, and many blood cancer patients are in their 60s.
Can You Get Zinc Naturally From Foods?
Good food sources of zinc are:
- Red meat
- Fortified cereals
- Whole grains
- Beans and nuts
What Are The Risks Of Taking Zinc?
- Zinc supplements can irritate the stomach and mouth.
- May affect your sense of smell and taste for a few days. It can lower copper levels when taken long-term. on the body.
- Zinc nasal sprays have been linked to loss of smell, which can be permanent. interactions. It can interact with some medications like birth control pills and some antibiotics. And also interact with other supplements such as calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron. If you take any medication or supplement daily, ask your doctor if you can take zinc.
People who are allergic to zinc, have HIV or have hemochromatosis should not take zinc supplements without first talking to their doctor. Too much zinc can cause fever, cough, nausea, decreased immune function, mineral imbalances, changes in cholesterol levels, and other problems. In pregnant women, high doses can harm the fetus.
What Does Zinc Do?
Studies show that zinc is important in almost every aspect of the immune system: it helps skin cells and the cells lining our organs keep pathogens away, and it keeps the thymus gland and bone marrow, which are responsible for producing the immune system, functioning properly are cells. usually. Zinc “is found in all parts of the immune system.
Zinc’s Role In The Immune System
Most research to date has focused on zinc’s role in the innate immune system, the body’s first line of defense that launches rapid, non-specific attacks against foreign invaders. Zinc appears to be involved in breaking down physical barriers such as B. making the cells lining our organs more resistant to invasion and ensuring the proper functioning of macrophages, important white blood cells that engulf pathogens and send chemical signals to recruit others. cell soldiers. To ensure there is enough zinc for all of these tasks, levels of the mineral in the body are tightly controlled.
- At the onset of an infection, immune cells such as macrophages rapidly produce a zinc transport protein called ZIP8. This protein controls the amount of zinc that gets into these cells, which is important for maintaining the cells’ ability to absorb Knoell, and others have found that zinc is also important for the adaptive immune system, which creates memories of past threats uses to launch specific attacks via antibodies and T cells.
How Much Zinc Is Too Much Zinc?
The recommended daily allowance or RDA for zinc depends on your age and gender. Include the zinc you get from the food you eat and any supplements you take.
- Children: The recommended RDA is between 3 mg and 8 mg per day.
- Women: 14 years and older, the recommended daily dose is 9 mg to 12 mg.
- Male: 14 years and older, the RDA is 11 mg per day. Sambucol products contain between 20% and 50% of the recommended daily allowance for adults.
Risks And Side Effects Of Using Zinc
Taking zinc has risks and side effects. Taking too much zinc can cause fever, flu, nausea, mineral imbalances, changes in cholesterol levels, and even decreased immune function. Zinc may also interact with other medications such as birth control and some antibiotics.
It may also interact with dietary supplements such as calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron. When taken long-term, zinc lozenges can lower levels of copper in the body. It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement.