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Zinc is a type of mineral. Because very small levels of zinc are required for human health, it is referred to as an “essential trace element.” Because the human body does not keep excess zinc, it must be ingested regularly. Zinc is found in pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, red meat, poultry, and fish, among other foods. Short stature, a reduced capacity to taste food, and the inability of the testes and ovaries to function normally are all symptoms of zinc deficiency. Zinc is necessary for a variety of bodily activities. It helps the body create proteins and DNA, aids wound healing, and aids in childhood growth and development, in addition to strengthening the immune system. It has anti-oxidant qualities as well.

Natural sources of zinc

The natural sources of zinc can be listed as follows :

1.Pumpkin seeds

2.Sunflower seeds

3.Hemp seeds

4.Chickpeas, lentils, and beans

5.Cashews and other nuts

6.Milk

7.Cheese

8.Red meat

9.Whole grains

10.Dark chocolate

Functions of Zinc

1. Immunity

The immune system needs zinc to function correctly. Zinc deficiency can raise the risk of illnesses like pneumonia. Zinc is a popular cold treatment, right up there with vitamin C. Zinc is required for immune cell growth and function. Because zinc plays such an important part in immune function, experts believe that increasing zinc consumption when you’re sick or just before you get sick can help decrease the duration of your sickness or perhaps prevent you from being sick.

Zinc is required for the appropriate growth and function of cells that mediate innate immunity, such as neutrophils and natural killer cells (NK cells). Zinc deficiency affects macrophages as well. Zinc deficiency affects phagocytosis, intracellular death, and cytokine generation. T and B cells’ development and function are harmed by zinc deficiency. Zinc’s ability to act as an antioxidant and to maintain membranes implies that it may have a role in preventing free radical-induced harm during inflammatory processes.

2. Regulating blood sugar

According to Megan Wong, RD, a Vancouver-based nutritionist with AlgaeCal, zinc plays a function in the storage and secretion of insulin, the hormone that permits cells to utilize glucose from food so they don’t build up in the blood. Zinc levels in the blood are lower in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes because zinc is lost through increased urine. Zinc supplementation has been demonstrated to ameliorate the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes by lowering cholesterol and HbA1c levels in the blood. Within the thick core insulin-secreting granules of pancreatic cells, zinc concentrations range from 10 to 20 µM. Zinc is required for the storage and processing of insulin in the body. Zinc levels in the pancreas are much lower in diabetes patients. Zinc deficiency in the blood plasma affects the secretion and production of insulin by the islets of Langerhans. Zinc is also involved in the production of insulin crystals, insulin release, and insulin transport (Khanam S.,2018).

3. Macular Degeneration

A few critical vitamins and minerals, including zinc, can be used to treat this eye illness, which tends to deteriorate with age. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)Trusted Source, zinc protects retinal cells and may help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss. It is doubtful, however, to stop the degradation. Zinc deficiency may play a role in the progression of this disease.

4. Wound healing

Zinc aids in the maintenance of healthy skin. Low zinc levels are common in those who have long-term sores or ulcers. Zinc supplements may be recommended by healthcare providers for persons who have chronic wounds. Zinc is essential for wound healing at every stage, from skin repair to infection prevention.

5. Reproductive health

Zinc is especially crucial for the health of male reproductive organs. Zinc is detected in high amounts in both prostatic fluid and sperm. Males with low zinc levels may experience delayed sexual development, reproductive troubles, and other sexual health problems.

Other health benefits of zinc include

  • Alleviation of common cold symptoms
  • Acne vulgaris
  • Learning and memory
  • Osteoporosis
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diarrhea in children

Sources and references : https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263176#11-benefits

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