Zinc is found in every cell in the body and is a component in over 200 enzymes, more than any other mineral. Zinc is stored in muscle, red and white blood cells, bone, skin, kidneys, liver, pancreas, retina, and prostate in men.
Zinc is most well-known for its role in immune function and skin health.
Zinc is involved in virtually every aspect of immunity (the master gland of the immune system ), and white blood cell (T-cell and lymphocyte ) production and activity. Zinc supplementation has a dramatic effect on secretion of the thymus hormone thymulin. Although this would benefit all ages, it is especially critical to restoration of immunological strength in the elderly. Zinc is also directly anti-viral, against several viruses that cause the common cold, significantly reducing the duration.
Zinc’s influence on protein synthesis encourages skin tissue regeneration and wound healing, including even acne. It is also useful in various other skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis herpetiformis.
In regards to male sexual health, zinc is used in virtually every aspect of male reproduction, including hormone metabolism, sperm formation, and sperm motility. Zinc deficiency is associated with reduced testosterone levels.
Zinc is also protective of the prostate gland. The proliferation of prostate gland cells is triggered by the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT ). In puberty this process is necessary for development; however when prostate tissue growth is over-stimulated by DHT in adulthood then benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH (prostate enlargement ) can result. Zinc reduces the activity of the enzyme responsible for the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
In children zinc is of course necessary for normal growth and development (including development of the foetus ) so it is important that pregnant women have adequate zinc intake.
Food sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, nuts, peas, and wholegrains.
As with other minerals there are various types of zinc. The best absorbable forms include zinc amino acid chelate or citrate. Zinc is relatively inexpensive. Nature’s Plus Zinc 50mg, for three months supply, costs €10.15.