Minerals are very important for the healthy growth and development of the body. Minerals have building blocks and restorative effects in our body. Considering the current situation, we started to act more consciously about vitamins and minerals, especially thanks to their immune-boosting effects.

Do we have enough information about zinc, a mineral that we are starting to hear more about these days when we are struggling with Covid19, the importance of which has been understood for people in the recent past, and even take it as a supplement?

Zinc is a mineral that is essential for the human body and is found in the structure of approximately 300 enzymes of the human organism.

Although it has been known for a very long time that zinc is one of the essential elements for the development of plants and animals, it is an essential element for humans. 1960’sadopted over the years. There is approximately 2-3 grams of zinc in the human body, and this zinc is found in bones, liver, pancreas, kidney, epithelial tissue and blood cells.

What are the functions and benefits of zinc in the body?

Zinc is found in the structure of approximately 300 enzymes in the human body, and with this feature, it can be used from growth to reproduction; It has a wide variety of functions and benefits, from skin health to my body production rate. We can list these main effects as follows:

  • It accelerates wound healing.

  • Zinc is used by the central nervous system in many neural transmissions and is effective on the development and functions of the central nervous system.

  • It is protective against colds.

  • It strengthens the immune system.

  • It is effective in tasting and smelling.

  • It has an antioxidant effect.

  • It is important for skin health.

  • It is effective in skin health. It can help treat acne.

  • It is effective in growth and development.

  • It is necessary for cognitive function.

  • It is necessary for the regular functioning of the digestive system.

  • Zinc is essential for the male reproductive system. It is a mineral involved in hormone metabolism, sperm formation and movement. Zinc deficiency leads to a decrease in testosterone level and sperm count. Zinc deficiency can cause infertility.

What are the symptoms of zinc deficiency?

In the deficiency of zinc, which is necessary for reproductive health, enzyme activity, growth and development, various problems occur in the body. Here are the symptoms that give us the signal of zinc deficiency;

  • delayed healing of wounds

  • Hair loss

  • Disturbance in perception of taste and smell

  • Loss of appetite

  • chronic diarrhea

  • chronic fatigue

  • Growth and development retardation (dwarfism may be seen)

  • Delay in the development of the sex organs

  • Being immune to diseases

  • Decreased adaptation to darkness

  • Disturbances in the nervous and digestive system

How is the diagnosis of zinc deficiency made?

Biochemical indicators are used for the diagnosis of zinc deficiency. If the plasma zinc level is below 70 mcg/dl, the urine zinc level is below 150 mcg/day, and the hair zinc level is around 80-100 mcg, there is zinc deficiency. However, products such as shampoo can be misleading as they can affect the zinc level in the hair.

What is the daily requirement for zinc?

The amount of requirement differs by gender. In addition, the bioavailability of dietary zinc also plays a decisive role in the requirement. Daily zinc requirement; for an adult male 11mg, for an adult woman 8mg is. The amount of this requirement increases in pregnant and lactating women. In addition, since the absorption will be lower in individuals fed with vegetable weight, the need increases.

What are the dietary sources of zinc, which foods contain zinc?

Zinc need, which is important for a healthy body, can be met with an adequate and balanced diet. Zinc is a mineral found in both plant and animal foods. The best dietary sources are liver, red meat, seafood, dairy products, eggs, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, oilseeds such as pumpkin seeds, legumes, bulgur, wheat, mushrooms, okra, asparagus, pumpkin, garlic, spinach, peas. However, the absorption of zinc from animal origin is better than that found in plant sources. While the zinc absorption level is around 10% in only herbal nutrition, this rate rises to 40% in mixed nutrition. In addition, in a grain-based diet, zinc absorption is adversely affected due to the phytate in the grains. The interaction of calcium and zinc is also one of the researched topics. Calcium adversely affects zinc absorption in the presence of phytate. Calcium taken in the presence of very little phytate does not affect zinc absorption. It is reported that excessive intake of phosphate, copper and iron in the diet also reduces the absorption of zinc.

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