Zinc

Zinc is one of the most common elements in the chemical makeup of your body, just behind iron. It is important for all sorts of bodily functions, but the primary role is the regulation of the immune system. It is used in the stimulation of over 100 enzymes in the body.

While significant deficiencies are rare, it is important to look at where it comes from and how to make sure that you are getting enough. Deficiencies can have an impact on your immune system, as well as other issues.

Functions and benefits

Zinc has multiple functions, with the end goal largely being the maintenance of the immune system.  It impacts on the function and development of cells in particular:

  • Cell division across the body
  • Cell growth. In particular for pregnant women, when the fetus needs it in order to develop.

Additionally, it improves the production of insulin. This is important because insulin aids the absorption of glucose, which is key to energy levels and keeping the cells active.

One impact of being used for cell division is that zinc is important to skin and hair. As a result zinc can be important in trying to reduce hair loss.

Sources of Zinc

As mentioned, Zinc deficiency is relatively rare. This is largely because there are a lot of sources of it which occur naturally in your diet. However, certain people can struggle, in particular if they have specific dietary needs. These could include vegans or people who mostly eat vegetables. Key sources are:

  • Protein from animals. In particular beef, pork and dark chicken. As a result, many people get enough zinc from meat protein alone. However, this does pose issues for people looking to reduce their meat intake.
  • Nuts and grains are alternative options for vegetarians. While they are less high in zinc per 100g in comparison to dark meat, they have enough for vegetarians to get by.

Sources of Zinc

As mentioned, Zinc deficiency is relatively rare. This is largely because there are a lot of sources of it which occur naturally in your diet. However, certain people can struggle, in particular if they have specific dietary needs. These could include vegans or people who mostly eat vegetables. Key sources are:

  • Protein from animals. In particular beef, pork and dark chicken. As a result, many people get enough zinc from meat protein alone. However, this does pose issues for people looking to reduce their meat intake.
  • Nuts and grains are alternative options for vegetarians. While they are less high in zinc per 100g in comparison to dark meat, they have enough for vegetarians to get by.

Potential consequences

Because the primary function of zinc is the regulation of the immune system, the main risk of a zinc deficiency is that you will become ill more easily. Therefore, a major threat is that you will be more susceptible to colds and other more minor illness threats.

Also, because zinc is used testosterone production, another potential threat is hair loss. This is even more important in as you get older, as testosterone production decreases.

 

Potential consequences

Because the primary function of zinc is the regulation of the immune system, the main risk of a zinc deficiency is that you will become ill more easily. Therefore, a major threat is that you will be more susceptible to colds and other more minor illness threats.

Also, because zinc is used testosterone production, another potential threat is hair loss. This is even more important in as you get older, as testosterone production decreases.

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