Zinc is an important mineral that the body requires and cannot produce on its own or store, although it is the second most abundant trace mineral in the body after iron you need to eat enough foods that are rich in Zinc to meet your daily requirements you can obtain Zinc from some types of food and supplements and it can be found in some over-the-counter cold remedies you should only use them under medical supervision since they can decrease the efficacy of some types of drugs like penicillamine, thiazide diuretics, and quinolones.
Why do we need Zinc?
- Zinc is essential for the function of over 300 enzymes as it plays a major role in The catalysis of their enzymatic functions such as digestion, metabolism, and nerve conduction.
- It plays an important role in boosting your immune system which is why it is widely used in treating colds, it can be found in lozenges and syrups as it can help shorten the duration of your cold.
- Zinc is required for the healthy growth and development of children as it is needed for protein synthesis.
- it is also important for pregnant females to help them develop a healthy fetus as it plays a major role in DNA synthesis and cell division and signaling.
- Zinc is required for healthy skin and has been used to treat some skin conditions like infections, acne, and ulcers as it accelerates wound healing.
- It is important for nerve health and has been proven to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration in the eye.
- it plays a role in the efficacy of your senses most importantly the sense of taste and smell, Zinc deficiency has been shown to reduce your ability to taste and smell.
How much Zinc do I need daily?
Recommended daily needs of Zinc are:
- From birth to 6 months old babies need 2 mg of Zinc daily
- 7 months: 3-year-old children need 3 mg of Zinc daily
- 4: 8-year-old children need 5 mg of Zinc daily
- 9:13-year-old children need 8 mg of Zinc daily
- 14: 18-year-old children need 9 mg of Zinc daily
- Adults over 19 years of age need 11 mg of Zinc daily
- Pregnant and lactating females need 12 mg of Zinc daily
Zinc Deficiency Symptoms
Zinc deficiency causes different symptoms in all age groups but it is usually mild, and severe Zinc deficiency is very rare, commonly found in people with genetic mutations and those on immunosuppressive medications mild deficiency can present with:
- Acute diarrhea is very common in infants and children
- It can lead to delayed growth and development in children
- More episodes of infection as it weakens your immunity so you get the flu frequently
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Reproductive problems and infertility
- Increased risk of child morbidity in pregnancy causing premature birth, and low birth weight
- It interferes with the sense of taste and smell
- Delayed wound healing
- Delayed nerve conduction causing cognitive changes and psychological disturbance