The Power of Zinc: The Trace Mineral You Might Be Missing
Zinc is a trace element and micronutrient essential for our overall health. Without zinc in our body, we would not be experiencing optional health, and this temple we call a body will begin to show it. Zinc is a mineral we all need for our body to function optimally. Second, to Iron, Zinc is the most abundant trace element, involved in various catalytic activities in the body.
Zinc is found in some foods naturally and is used in the form of dietary supplements. If are eating a poor diet lacking real foods like fruits and veggies and some lean meats, your diet is most likely lacking zinc.
Zinc deficiency in humans includes manifestations like diarrhea, alopecia, weight loss, intercurrent infections, neuro-sensory disorders, emotional disorders, and problems with wound healing. As someone who is in recovery from a wide variety of eating disorders, I know first hand the toll your body takes when you are lacking proper nutrition. Minerals like zinc are the foundation for our body to build on. We cannot absorb vitamins without minerals and zinc is on that list. If you are feeling stress make sure you read Mother Trucker Yoga’s 10 Quick Ways to Reduce Stress Blog to help.
It can be confusing when you start to pay better attention to your health, how much of what do you need and where to get it all. So in the charts below, you can easily see how much zinc you need depending on your age and what some sources of zinc could be in your diet today.
Required Daily Amount
|0-6 months||2 mg||2 mg|
|7-12 months||3 mg||3 mg|
|1-3 years||3 mg||3 mg|
|4-8 years||5 mg||5 mg|
|9-13 years||8 mg||8 mg|
|14< years||11 mg||8 mg|
Sources of Zinc
|Food Items||Milligrams per serving||Percent DV|
|Peas (cooked ½ cup)||0.5||5|
|Yogurt (8 ounces)||1.7||15|
|Oatmeal (1 packet)||1.1||10|
|Almonds (1 ounce)||0.9||8|
|Cashews (1 ounce)||1.6||15|
|Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce)||2.2||20|
|Baked beans (1/2 cup)||2.9||26|
|Chickpeas (1/2 cup)||1.3||12|
|Cheese (1 ounce)||1.2||11|
|Kidney beans (cooked ½ cup)||0.9||8|
Non – vegetarian
|Milligrams Per serving||Percent DV|
|Pork (3 ounces)||2.9||26|
|Chicken breast (1/2 breast)|
|Oysters (3 ounces)|
|Beef chuck (3 ounces)|
|Crab (3 ounces)|
|Lobster (3 ounces)|
|Chicken (dark meat) (3 ounces)||2.4||22|
Trying to get your daily dose of zinc from natural food sources as much as possible is essential in building up a foundation of health within you. However, if you are severely deficient you may want to consider supplementing with zinc as you build up your reserves. As a recovering addict, one that struggled with a wide range of eating disorders my zinc levels were non-existent, and for several years I had to take zinc. Happily now in my thirties, I no longer have some of the lingering issues I once had.
Always seek further medical consultation to rule out other issues, but the good news is zinc is readily available in many foods.
Role of zinc in immunity
Many studies have proven the role of zinc effects of adequate zinc consumption on the immunity of our body. It boosts the cell-mediated immunity and balances the functions of humoral immunity.
Zinc is a crucial element for the development and function of neutrophils, natural killer cells, and innate immunity.
A study shows that macrophages (perform the function of killing the pathogen by phagocytosis), cytokine production, and intracellular killing are also affected by the deficiency of zinc in the body along with showing adverse effects in the growth and function of T and B cells.
Solomons NW. Mild human zinc deficiency produces an imbalance between cell-mediated and humoral immunity. Nutr Rev 1998;56:27-8
Benefits of Zinc
Zinc is a mineral that packs a powerful punch and one we often take for granted. When you are getting your daily dose of zinc your body gets to reap the benefits of several health perks!
Its functions as an anti-oxidant and stabilization of membranes, strongly suggest that it has a hand in preventing the damage caused by the free radicals during the inflammatory process. What are free radicals, those are the guys who seal electrons from your body and start to sabotage your health one electron at a time. Eating foods that are high in antioxidants can help you combat free radicals and also boost zinc levels your body needs to remain healthy and inflammatory-free.
Studies have found that zinc supplements help in decreasing the levels of LDL (Bad Cholesterol) and triglycerides in the blood, preventing heart diseases at a major level.
(Ranasinghe, Priyanga et al. “Effects of Zinc supplementation on serum lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Nutrition & metabolism vol. 12 26. 4 Aug. 2015, doi:10.1186/s12986-015-0023-4)
Another study shows that adequate zinc consumption helps in lowering systolic blood pressure in about 40 young women.
(Kim, Jihye. “Dietary zinc intake is inversely associated with systolic blood pressure in young obese women.” Nutrition research and practice vol. 7,5 (2013): 380-4. doi:10.4162/nrp.2013.7.5.380)
Enhances memory and learning
Research conducted at The University of Toronto suggests the role of zinc in neural communication with one another which eventually affect our memory and learning ability.
Zinc is often used in skin creams to treat wounds or any rashes on the skin as it is assumed to play an important role in maintaining the integrity and the structure of the skin.
Other Possible zinc Benefits
- Fights Acne
- Used in patients with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Prevention and treatment of pneumonia
- Age-related Macular Degeneration
Your health is your responsibility and there are many things you can do to help boost your health even while living over the road as a truck driver. Focus on what you can do, what you have access to, what steps you can take to make that next right decision. What you can do to make that next healthy choice, it may not seem like it will amount to anything when you just look at that one choice, but all those little choices add up to some really great health perks! Perks you get to benefit from every single day!
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