Raulin identified zinc as an essential trace metal in 1869. This is one of the most important minerals in the body and is found only in the fat free tissue.
Taken best in a chelated form for higher 'bioavailability' (better absorption). The immune system requires Zinc for many aspects of its function. It helps combat harmful wastes and substances in the body, has an anti-bacterial effect that is useful for acne and wound healing and it stimulates white blood cells and is thought to reduce inflammation. Zinc is also helpful during acute and chronic infection and in the management of chronic fatigue syndrome.
In a recent study, 100 patients with symptoms of the common cold who used lozenges containing zinc nearly halved the duration of the symptoms. Another recent clinical trial involving 100 patients with symptoms of the common cold revealed similar results. The duration of symptoms such as coughing, headache, hoarseness, nasal congestion, post nasal drip and sore throat was significantly shortened in those patients who were given Zinc lozenges, dissolved in the mouth every two hours, compared with those patients who did not receive the Zinc lozenges.
Zinc is associated with proper taste sensation and may be deficient in people with poor appetites and poor digestion. It can also be used to help with bad breath and mouth ulcers as Zinc stimulates oral immunity. It may also be useful for malabsorption of nutrients. The earliest signs of Zinc deficiency tend to be seen in the nervous system with non-specific psychological disturbances such as mood and behavioural changes. Zinc may be helpful in the management of chronic stress, poor concentration, learning difficulties, sleep problems, depression and moodiness, schizophrenia and epilepsy.
Deficiencies in Zinc levels can be associated with general skin problems such as acne, dermatitis and psoriasis. Zinc helps stabilise all membranes and helps preserve the strength and integrity of the skin as a barrier. Zinc may be useful in the management of prostatic hyperplasia (prostatic enlargement) and the reduction of the symptoms associated with it. Levels of Zinc are often low in men with prostatic hyperplasia. Zinc helps remove the toxic metal cadmium from the body. Cadmium is one of the factors that can contribute to prostatic hyperplasia. Zinc is involved in many aspects of the male hormone system. It is the reduction in normal levels of male hormones that can lead to prostatic hyperplasia.
Zinc deficiency is most often seen in children, adolescent females and women with young children. The signs and symptoms of Zinc deficiency include loss of appetite, growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation in adolescents, decreased sperm production, sexual dysfunction, poor hair growth and hair loss, dermatitis, lowered immunity, night blindness, slow wound healing, altered sense of taste, white spots or streaks in the fingernails, fatigue and anaemia, depression and a feeling of mental 'sluggishness'.
Recommended Daily Intake of Zinc:
· Infants 7 to+12 months 4.5 to 6 mg
· Children 4.5 to 18 mg
· Adults 6 to 15 mg. Recommended daily allowance is 0.2 mg/kg bodyweight/day.
Oysters (highest level in foods), herring, kelp, seafood, beef, liver, wheat germ, rolled oats porridge, ginger, pumpkin seeds and yeast. Zinc is available as a nutritional supplement in tablet or lozenge form.