What is Zinc?

Zinc is known to be an essential mineral for human health. As your body does not naturally produce zinc it is important to obtain it through food or supplements. [1]. The daily amount according to the national health service (NHS, England) is “9.5mg a day for men and 7mg a day for women (19-64-year-olds).” [2]. According to the national diet and nutrition survey based in the UK, there was “A significant average yearly reduction in zinc intake of 0.1mg/day was observed in children aged 1.5 to 3 years, girls aged 4 to 10 years, boys aged 11 to 18 years and women aged 65 years and over.” This data shows that people are only getting 0.1mg of zinc a day compared with the 9.5mg a day for men and 7mg a day for women (19-64-year-olds) NHS, England requirements. [3].

From recent events such as COVID 19, we have learnt that it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and the importance of boosting and strengthening the immune system. But the main question is how to maintain zinc levels? Foods such as Guava, legumes, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds can really help in maintaining zinc levels in order to strengthen the immune system. [4]. Alternatively, there are supplements that can help maintain zinc levels. These foods and some supplements are both vegan and vegetarian friendly.

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5 Potential Benefits of Zinc

There are several benefits of zinc but here are the best-known health benefits of zinc for men and women.

  1. Promotes a Healthy Heart and Blood Vessels.
    Studies have shown that Zinc supplements can help with a number of factors related to heart health, including lowering total cholesterol. [5].
  2. Zinc helps with wound healing. Approximately “20% of the body’s total zinc stores are found in the skin; thus, large skin wounds lead to a loss of zinc.” [6]. This shows how important zinc is for tissue repair.
  3. Learning and memory. Studies have suggested that zinc can boost your cognitive function. This is important as the ability to be able to think, learn and process information is associated with daily activities that occur in our everyday lives. [7]. [7A].
  4. Zinc boosts the immune system. After recent events have occurred such as COVID-19, more and more people are acknowledging that it is important to strengthen our immune systems. Studies have shown that “Zinc has reduced the risk of infections and viruses and has helped the immune response of older adults.” [8]. Furthermore, autumn has approached, meaning people are more likely to experience colds. Studies have also suggested that “Taking zinc (within the daily requirement) can shorten common cold symptoms.” [9].
  5. Zinc could help people with rheumatoid arthritis and bone health. Studies show significantly lower zinc levels in people with rheumatoid arthritis compared to those without it. [10]. The lowest levels are associated with more severe disease. This could be an indication that zinc may help with rheumatoid arthritis which is associated with bone health.
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Zinc supplements have many different formulas, some zinc formulas are synthetic based such as zinc gluconate, zinc citrate and zinc oxide. Whilst others are natural such as Guavas, blackberries, cantaloupe and apricots [11] .

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Natural vs Synthetic Zinc

Natural supplements come from whole food sources which include: fruits and vegetables. These whole foods are dried and extracted to make supplements. The main benefit of having natural supplements containing whole foods is that the human body absorbs natural vitamins and minerals more quickly than their counterparts made using synthetic and chemical processes.

Furthermore, with synthetic supplements, there is a lack of quality ingredients that are being absorbed in the human body. Thus, why some people do not simply trust what is in some supplements. This is where “traceability” plays an important role where customers themselves are able to process the steps that are taken into making a supplement from farm to kitchen top. For example, the steps that organic zinc is extracted to create an immunity supplement.

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To conclude, zinc is an “essential mineral” for the human body. The problem is that many people worldwide are lacking in zinc. Many people may have the assumption that zinc is not essential. However, studies have shown zinc to have many benefits including zinc boosting the immune system, boosting cognitive function, helping with rheumatoid arthritis, promoting a healthy heart and blood vessels and helping wounds heal. Furthermore, the importance of having natural supplements with organic ingredients is beneficial in absorbing the nutrients we need to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. To help maintain zinc levels, it is recommended by the national health service (NHS) to get 9.5mg a day for men and 7mg a day for women (19-64-year-olds) of zinc.

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