Zinc is a naturally occurring mineral. Zinc is important for growth and for the development and health of body tissues.
Supporting research & information
Zinc is an essential mineral for many reasons. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements lists zinc as important for wound healing, for protein synthesis and to support immune function. It is especially important during pregnancy and childhood for growth and development. Zinc also promotes healthy skin and it may help reduce acne. It is present in many foods and may also be taken as a zinc gluconate supplement.
Zinc has so many health benefits that it’s almost impossible to cover them all in one post. Zinc is important for balancing immunity, decreasing inflammation, as an antioxidant, cognitive function and so much more!
Zinc is an essential mineral found in all organs, tissues, and fluids in the body.
As the second most abundant trace mineral in the body after iron, it plays a pivotal role in a variety of biological processes.
Zinc is required for catalytic activity of more than 300 enzymes involved in the synthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, nucleic acids, and other micronutrients.
Zinc also plays roles in stabilizing cell and organ structures, immune function, wound healing, cell division, growth, blood clotting, thyroid function, vision, taste, and smell.
Despite having such critical functions, it is not stored in the body and requires a regular dietary intake.
Good dietary sources of zinc include red meats, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
However, zinc is more easily absorbed from meat and animal proteins. Vegetables are not ideal sources because they contain phytate, a compound in plants that prevents zinc from being absorbed.
Because it plays such a critical role in the immune system, zinc deficiency contributes significantly to the global burden of disease, making it a major public health issue.
Groups at risk for zinc deficiency include people with digestive disorders, vegetarians, pregnant and lactating women, alcoholics, and people with sickle cell disease.
Zinc Boosts Cognition and Protects Neurons
Zinc supplementation was able to enhance cognitive recovery in zinc deficient people who experienced an ischemic stroke. A double-blind trial in children found that zinc supplementation resulted in superior neuropsychological performance, particularly attention and reasoning skills when compared with controls.
A randomized trial showed that zinc supplementation in infants and toddlers led to increased activity, mental development and motor quality.
In elderly Alzheimer’s disease patients, zinc therapy protected against cognitive decline by lowering free blood copper levels, which can be toxic to the brain.
Many animal studies show that in moderate concentrations, it is neuroprotective and helps preserve learning and memory function.
In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, zinc supplementation reduced pathological factors associated with progression of the disease (i.e., β-amyloid and tau protein loads) and improved mitochondrial function and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the hippocampus.
Another study showed that maternal zinc supplementation enhanced spatial learning and memory in rat pups.
A study found that moderate doses (12 mg/kg) prolonged survival in a mouse model of ALS.
Zinc May Treat Psychiatric Disorders
A study in OCD patients showed that the addition of zinc to fluoxetine therapy was able to reduce symptoms (as assessed by the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive rating scale). Since it can suppress glutamate release and transmission, it could have improved OCD symptoms. In combination with methylphenidate (a CNS stimulant), zinc supplementation reduced hyperactivity and impulsivity in children with ADHD according to one study. A study in schizophrenic men found that zinc in combination with risperidone improved many symptoms associated with the disorder (e.g., aggression, hallucinations, and delusions). This effect is in part attributed to its antioxidant and antidepressant properties.
Zinc Reduces Stress and Improves Mood
Zinc supplementation has shown efficacy in treating mood disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety) clinically and in animal models. It also increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, which are low in people with depression. A study found that zinc therapy was able to improve overall mood in overweight subjects, likely through increasing BDNF levels.
Zinc Improves Sleep Quality
Women and children with higher blood zinc concentrations have better sleep quality. A study in infants revealed that zinc supplementation was able to prolong sleep duration.
Zinc Combats Fatigue
Low concentrations of zinc in the blood are associated with many symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (e.g., fatigue, depression, and concentration difficulties). One study found that blood zinc levels were significantly lower in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients than in normal controls and that symptom severity was negatively correlated with blood zinc levels.
The study concluded that zinc may be effective in attenuating CFS symptoms because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.Gut inflammation (caused by a leaky gut) is common in people with CFS. A study found that treating leaky gut with a mixture of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances including zinc in CFS patients resulted in a significant improvement of symptoms.
This ingredient is found in the following Eudeamon products: