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Health Benefits of Zinc

During the last three decades, Zinc has been established as an essential nutrient for humans.

Deficient in New Zealand soils, it is vital for a strong immune system, healthy skin, hair & nails, for a healthy prostate gland, men and women’s reproductive health and as a free radical fighter. Stress, illness and exercise can all deplete Zinc levels.

Zinc is essential for the proper functioning of the intestinal tract. When Zinc levels are low, absorption is inhibited so that all nutrients, including zinc, are very poorly absorbed. Overcoming the Zinc blockade requires high doses of a highly bio available zinc, together with the other physiologically related nutrients.

Zinc is definitely one of the most, if not the most, important trace elements all New Zealanders should consider taking.

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The functions and benefits of zinc in the body

90% of the body’s store of zinc is found in the muscles and bone. However other “target organs” are the brain, optic nerve, eyes, in semen, the prostate gland, pancreas and adrenal gland. Zinc has a variety of functions in the body:

Fertility - A lot of men are low in this vital element because it is found in high concentrations in sperm. Each time a man ejaculates he looses Zinc. Any man, who has poor quality sperm, low testosterone levels or is suffering with infertility, should consider taking zinc.

Diabetes - Zinc is a component of insulin. It has been found that the addition of Zinc to insulin, prolongs its effects on blood sugar. A diabetic pancreas contains only about half as much Zinc as does a healthy one.

Alcohol - Zinc is part of the enzyme that is needed to break down alcohol in the body. Zinc plays a part in carbohydrate digestion and phosphorus metabolism.

Healing - Recent medical findings indicate that zinc is important in healing wounds and burns and deficiencies of this vital mineral result in delayed wound healing.

Heart Health - Taking Zinc helps eliminate cholesterol deposits and has been successfully used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis.

Bones - There is a lot of evidence to show that zinc plays an important role in bone metabolism and that it is an essential cofactor for enzymes involved in the synthesis of various bone matrix constituents. A zinc deficiency has been implicated as a risk factor in the development of osteoporosis. It is also believed that a zinc deficiency during growth may impair the accumulation of maximal bone mass. Many studies have shown that both men and women with osteoporosis have significantly lower zinc levels than those who do not.

Zinc deficiency...

A deficiency of Zinc can cause retarded growth, delayed sexual maturity and prolonged healing of wounds. Stretch marks in the skin and white spots on the fingernails may be signs of a Zinc deficiency.

Brittle nails and hair, impotence in males and painful knee and hip joints in teenagers are also indications of a Zinc deficiency. Other deficiency symptoms include a loss of taste and smell, a poor appetite, a lowered immunity & increased risk of contracting viruses.

Zinc absorption & Zinc supplements...

The absorption of zinc is inhibited by excess sugar intake, insufficient stomach hydrochloric acid levels, a lack of pancreatic enzymes, gut inflammation and allergies.

Zinc supplements should not be taken at the same time as an iron supplement is taken, as zinc competes with iron for absorption.

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) of zinc for adults is 15mg; however this amount can be increased under supervision from your health care professional. Always take your zinc supplement after a meal, as if taken on an empty stomach, this may cause a nauseating effect. If this happens, having something to eat can help relieve this symptom.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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