Be Careful with Zinc

In some countries, milk advertisements would display claims that they contain zinc, but what does it do to your body anyway? A bluish-white metal, zinc is an important mineral for your body. Only two to three grams can be found in the body and it serves as a key building block for hundreds of enzymes that are needed for cell growth, reproduction, and repair, as well as regulating the body’s immune response, insulin metabolism, and healing of wounds.

Despite these amazing benefits, our body does not have a capability to store zinc. This is why health experts recommend consuming about 11 mg of zinc everyday for men and 8 mg per day for women (12 mg if they are pregnant or breasfeeding). Zinc can be found in water and food, and should be included in everybody’s diet.

The richest source of zinc can be found in oysters. Good food sources for zinc include beef, lamb, pork, crabmeat, turkey, chicken, lobster, clams, and salmon. Vegetarians, meanwhile, need not to worry because zinc can also be found in pumpkin seeds, although zinc from meat sources is four times more bio-available compared to zinc from plant sources.

However, high intake of zinc can actually be bad for you. If you are consuming more than 50 mg of zinc everyday from your diet and supplements, it can lead to improper copper metabolism, altered iron function, reduction of good cholesterol, and reduced immune function. There are even ongoing research about the link between high amounts of zinc in the body and its role in Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, being exposed to over 10 times the recommended amount of zinc can result in zinc poisoning, which is exhibited by neuropathy or nerve disorders.

Not only zinc can be found in food and supplements, but also in many cold lozenges and some over-the-counter cold medications. High amounts of zinc are also found in denture adhesive creams. This is why you should always check the label for high amounts of zinc before purchasing medications and other medical aids.