Zinc is an essential nutrient that plays an integral part in immune support, sexual health, skin health and growth and development. Our body doesn’t need loads of zinc to work efficiently. Women need 7mg a day and men need 9.5mg. But our body is unable to produce these nutrients naturally, and thus we have to obtain it through our diet and supplements.
Why do we need zinc?
Zinc provides in the proper functioning of the body in several ways, including:
Zinc is essential for the functioning of the immune cells and cells signalling. A weakened immune system could be the result of a deficiency in Zinc. Research has shown that supplementing the diet with zinc could reduce the length of the common cold by 33%. Also, zinc reduces the risk of infections and boost the immune response in older adults.
Men’s Sexual Health
If a man suffers from a deficiency of zinc, then it could lead to a number of sexual health problems, such as erectile dysfunction and low libido, because zinc is vital in the production of testosterone in men.
Various studies have shown that there has been a correlation between low testosterone levels and zinc deficiency. One such study had observed that when young men were fed a diet that was very low in zinc resulting in a zinc deficiency; the testosterone levels in young men reduced significantly by almost 75% after a 20 week period. And when zinc intake was increased in older men, their testosterone levels nearly doubled. This shows that zinc has a substantial impact on the production of testosterone in men.
A recent study has concluded that the deficiency of zinc in young men could impact the sense of smell, meaning that this could also affect the libido.
Zinc is vital for the proper healing of wounds, as it plays a crucial role in immune function, collagen synthesis, and inflammatory response. If zinc is supplemented with diet, it can enhance the speed in which wounds heal.
Studies have also noted that zinc can help to treat acne. Zinc has been found to limit the growth of P. acnes bacteria, suppress oily glands and reduce inflammation.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency
Zinc deficiency symptoms and signs can vary depending on the severity of the deficiency. Some of these symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Loss of energy
- Loss or change of eyesight, taste or smell
- Hair loss
- Being more prone to colds, coughs and chest infections.