Health And Wellness

The Important Health And Immunity Benefits Of Taking Zinc, According To A Nutritionist

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Medical Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. The information is a result of years of practice and experience by Nancy Addison CHC and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. 

There has been a lot of discussion about the benefits of zinc recently because it's one of the most important minerals used by the body. It helps with the production and function of hundreds of enzymes, contributing to building up the immune system.

Zinc is required for protein and DNA synthesis, insulin activity, liver function, and is important for the detoxification of chemicals and metabolic irritants. It's also involved in the metabolism of the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal gland functions.

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What are the benefits of taking zinc?

Normally, 60 percent of the zinc stored in the body is in the muscle, 30 percent in the bone, and 6 percent in the skin. The highest concentration of zinc in the body is found in the red and white blood cells, and in men, in the prostate gland and sperm.

Zinc deficiency is very common. Studies show that a fourth of the population in the world is zinc deficient.

Zinc deficiency appears as a skin problem, impairment of smell and taste, poor immune system, hair loss, skin rash, diarrhea, fatigue, low sperm count, brittle nails, a wound not healing properly, fatigue, mental lethargy, or a poor or slow growth rate in infants.

According to PubMed, the National Library of Medicine, "An abundance of evidence has accumulated over the past 50 years to demonstrate the antiviral activity of zinc against a variety of viruses, and via numerous mechanisms. The therapeutic use of zinc for viral infections such as the herpes simplex virus and the common cold has stemmed from these findings.”

Zinc has been shown to be a very effective remedy for the Covid symptoms people have been experiencing.

It's not really stored in the body so you need a regular supply.

Men need about one-third more zinc than women because the prostate gland and semen are highly concentrated with zinc. Sexually active men need a good supply of zinc consistently.

Good sources of zinc include lentils, peas (chickpeas are good), seeds (sesame tahini paste is good, and so are pumpkin seeds), whole-grain cereals or breads, beans, cheddar cheese, yogurt, eggs, wheat germ, hemp seeds, oysters, beef chuck roast, Alaskan Crab, and chicken (dark meat).

Some fair sources are peanut butter, figs, oranges, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, and almonds.

The zinc in animal foods is more bioavailable.

This means that your body can absorb and use the zinc easier due to animal proteins improving zinc absorption.

The presence of sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine and cysteine) helps improve zinc absorption. The sulfur-containing amino acids act as antioxidants that neutralize free radicals.

Even if you eat zinc-rich foods, you may need a supplement, because phytic acid and dietary fiber in certain foods can inhibit the absorption of zinc.

You only commonly absorb between 15 and 35 percent of the zinc you consume.

To reduce the phytic acid/phytates in plant-based foods for better absorption of zinc, soak the grains, lentils, legumes, beans, rice, nuts, and seeds in water for 12 to 18 hours.

This will sprout them and remove the phytic acid/phytates. Do this before you cook them as it will allow your body to absorb more of the zinc in these foods.

In addition to that, if the body has high levels of cadmium, iron, copper, or calcium, those will compete with the zinc to be absorbed. You can get cadmium from various sources such as secondhand cigarette smoke.

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Chemicals added to processed foods can also impair the body’s absorption of zinc.

Avoid ingesting zinc supplements or eating zinc-rich foods simultaneously with anything containing iron, calcium, or copper because they also can prevent zinc absorption.

It's best to take your zinc and quercetin supplements alone with quality water to allow for more optimum zinc absorption.

There are two pharmaceutical medications that have both been found to be very effective at escorting zinc into the cells for better absorption and for managing Covid symptoms.

Hydroxychloroquine has been commonly used safely for decades to treat and prevent malaria.

Ivermectin was "originally introduced as a veterinary drug, it soon made historic impacts in human health, improving the nutrition, general health, and well-being of billions of people worldwide ever since it was first used to treat onchocerciasis (river blindness) in humans in 1988."

A natural supplement that's a good alternative to Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin is Quercetin, a natural flavonoid that is a water-soluble plant compound not created by the body.

It's one of the most common antioxidants that play a leading role in the reduction of free radical damage to cells. Quercetin taken with zinc has been shown to help open up the cell and allow the zinc into the cell.

Tonic water has quinine, which has been around since the 1820’s when the Peruvian natives discovered its therapeutic properties. Chloroquine (Hydroxychloroquine) is related to quinine because both of them are extracted from the bark of the cinchona tree.  

Quinine and chloroquine work as anti-viral because they change the pH in the cells, making them more alkaline. This alkalinity disables the ability of a virus to replicate.

Second, quinine and chloroquine are zinc ionophores. They help bring otherwise bio-unavailable zinc into your cells, and the zinc inhibits the ability of the virus to replicate inside your cells. Quinine needs zinc to be effective.

If you do take a zinc supplement, take a high-quality, whole-food supplement.

According to Dr. Michael Murray, iHerb's Chief Scientific Advisor and the author of more than 30 books, including the bestselling Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, avoid supplements made from zinc sulfate.

They are generally less expensive, but zinc sulfate is a badly absorbed form of supplemental zinc and can also cause gastrointestinal distress.

Zinc picolinate, acetate, citrate, bisglycinate, oxide, or monomethionine are all acceptable forms of zinc. There is research to support these forms as being very well-absorbed. Most zinc lozenges are made with zinc gluconate, which can be an absorbable form of zinc.

In adults, the dosage range for zinc supplementation for general health support and during pregnancy or lactation is 15 to 20 mg.

For children, the dosage range is 5 to 10mg. According to Dr. Murray, zinc supplementation for a health challenge or specific health concerns should be a dosage range of 30 to 45 mg for men and 20 to 30 mg for women.

When you have a common cold, use lozenges that supply 15 to 25 mg of elemental zinc and dissolve them in the mouth every two waking hours.

Continue for up to seven days but avoid doing this on a regular daily basis. High doses of zinc can impair immune function, avoid a daily intake of greater than 150 mg of zinc for longer than one week

In conclusion, research has found that low zinc levels should be avoided in order to maintain digestive function and reduce infectious illness. Make certain that you add adequate zinc to your diet on a daily basis.

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Nancy Addison is a nutritionist, educator, best-selling author, international speaker, healthy chef, and radio show/podcast host with over 57 thousand podcast downloads a month on IHEART Radio, in 58 countries. She's the award-winning author of multiple books on living an Organic Healthy Life.