Micronutrient for the Human Body

What Is Zinc?

Zinc is a basic element, #30 on the periodic table, and it is a transitional metal. In manufacturing it is used to produce various alloys, and is also used as a non-corrosive metal coating. These zinc coatings are used to help protect other metals from natural wear and tear, helping the products to last longer in natural environments. However, zinc serves a far more crucial role to humans, as it is a required micronutrient, needed to achieve ideal health.

How is zinc beneficial to the body?

Overall, zinc only makes up approx. 0.0003% of the average human body. Still, zinc is necessary for the immune system to protect your body. It's crucial for children to facilitate healthy growth. It is part of your senses of taste, smell and sight. It's a necessary part of cell duplication. However, the body can only process zinc, it is unable to store it. As such, daily intake of zinc is required for the upkeep of these functions.
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What is the recommended daily portion of zinc?

Although the exact portion can be affected by age, gender, heritage, etc. an average adult needs approx. 11mg daily to maintain a healthy level of zinc in the body. DO NOT take a significatly larger dose then necessary. While not immediately fatal, zinc overdosage can contribute to longer term health concerns. It is also a waste because the body can't store it for future use.
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What are the risks of Zinc deficiency, or Zinc excess?

When the balance of zinc is lost, one's zinc level can cause issues for the body. If one does not get enough zinc in their diet, they might experience a lack of energy, a weakened immune system, and in younger people, abnormal growth. Should zinc be taken in significant excess, one might experience a metalic aftertaste, diarrhea, and even an increased risk of prostate cancer.
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Who might want to consider taking Zinc supplements?

Sufferers of Sickle Cell Disorder, vegetarians, alcoholics, pregnant women, and those afflicted by certain digestive disorders may all require extra zinc. Anyone living with these conditions should consult a doctor or other qualified medical practicioner before taking supplements, given the consequences of excess zinc consumption. However, zinc can be fairly easy to work into one's diet given the abundance of possible sources, and the relatively low requirement.

Where can Zinc be found in food?

The most concentrated food source of zinc is oysters which, when eaten even in small portions, can exceed the daily recomendation. However, more moderate doses can be found in most red meats, fish, poultry, various legumes, as well as certain dairy products, and any product fortified with zinc. Due to the low daily requirement of zinc, caution should be taken when eating foods high in zinc, such as oysters, to avoid excess.



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Greg Robson

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