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Zinc – Protector of Health

Zinc is a trace element of vital importance for every living being. Its significance for nutrition and health has been recognised in recent decades. The first clinical study of the effects of zinc deficit on the human organism was made in 1961 in relation with juvenile dwarfism in the Middle East. Ever since, zinc deficit has been recognised as a serious health problem, one that is particularly acute in developing countries.

Although zinc is present in every cell of human body, its distribution is not uniform. The concentration of zinc is relatively stable in the brain, heart, lungs and in the muscular system. On the other hand, the zinc content in the blood, bones, ovaries, prostate and hair is largely dependent on the presence of zinc in food consumed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily dose of 12-15 mg. of zinc for adults, while children should take 3 to 10 mg. daily (depending on age). The human body’s capacity to store zinc is relatively low: a continuous intake is of the essence. A deficit of zinc is primarily caused by poor nutrition. If the body is not getting the necessary amount of zinc even for one week, muscle growth slows and the immune system weakens. It is generally known that the average continental diet does not provide enough zinc for the human organism.


What is the role of zinc in the organism?

Zinc is a natural protector of the healthy functioning of our body. It plays a crucial role in the regulation of blood sugar levels; it helps control and direct the processes of metabolism; as a constituent part of more than 120 metalloenzimes, Zinc plays a part in the synthesis of nucleic acid and the proteins; it is vital in the process of cell division, growth and regeneration. Zinc is necessary for the functioning of the immune system and the generation of the hormones. It fosters insulin production and skin and tissue regeneration for the healing of wounds. The presence of zinc is necessary for the sense of taste. It is equally important for healthy growth, and for the processes related to sex and reproduction.

Zinc has an important antioxidant effect. Together with copper it catalyses the functioning of the superoxide-dismutase enzyme, which acts as a neutraliser of free radicals in the organism. This process contributes, among others, to ease rheumatic pains.

Zinc is also contained in the alkoholdehydrogenase enzymes, which catalyse the oxidation of alcohol in the organism. Insufficient functioning of these enzymes causes lasting discomfort even after limited alcohol consumption.

Together with copper and vitamin C, zinc plays an important role in the production of elastin, responsible for the suppleness of our skin.

Zinc supports a stable balance between the blood and the acid base. It diminishes the vascular sedimentation of cholesterol. It also regulates the muscles’ elastic capacity. According recent research, zinc plays a role in brain functioning and can help in the treatment of certain mental troubles. Zinc and manganese supplements have a positive effect on elderly people suffering from senility problems.

Zinc is present in practically all body liquids. Due to its antiseptic influence it protects the eyes, nose, lungs and skin and the urine system against infectious agents of various types. The presence of zinc in perspiration reduces the smell: one of the symptoms of zinc deficit is excessive sweating with an unpleasant smell.

Zinc has proved useful for the treatment of prostate-related complaints. It is also used for the treatment of sterility. The right amount of zinc is vitally necessary for the generation of testosterone and sperm: it has been suggested in recent research that common potency disorders can be related to a chronic lack of zinc. The experience shows that the situation of men suffering from such troubles often improves by merely adding zinc and vitamin B6 to the diet.

For problems of irregular menstruation, women are recommended to try zinc supplements, before turning to hormone treatment.

Zinc protects little children from tumour growth; it slows down the development of already existent tumours.

Zinc can have a positive effect on diabetes, as it can impact glucose metabolism.

Zinc is vital for the protection of the immune system. A lack of zinc increases vulnerability to HIV. Studies point out greater mortality among the AIDS patients with zinc deficit.

In cases of cold and flu, zinc – combined with vitamin C – helps to provide an efficient cure.

The retina of our eyes also contains zinc, whence zinc’s vital importance for sight-related processes.

Who are vulnerable to zinc deficit?

According to a recent survey in Hungary, women are the most affected by zinc deficit, although it is by no means uncommon among men. Studies have demonstrated that the average diet provides the human organism with less than half of the required amount of zinc.Pregnant women need a greater daily dose of zinc: the recommended quantity for them is 30 mg per day. Research has demonstrated that 82% of pregnant women require a supplement of zinc. The right intake of zinc reduces chances of pregnancy complications,premature birth, Down’s syndrome, harelip, wolf’s throat and open spine.

Greater physical strain – for example in sport activities – increases our organism’s need of zinc. Any kind of pressure quickens the metabolism processes, which involve zinc. Plus, intensive perspiration can cause significant loss of zinc. One litre of perspiration loses 20% of the daily intake of zinc. While performing energy-consuming work or sports activities, urination is also susceptible to remove a vital amount of zinc from the organism.

In fact, every stress (physical, emotional, chemical) tends to divest the body of its zinc. Furthermore, toxic substances, heavy metals and insecticides have a similar impact on the organism. The main environmental challenges to people in big cities are lead and cadmium, emitted in the air by cars and by cigarette smoking. A deficit of zinc means that the organism absorbs more of these harmful substances, while a sufficient supply of zinc reduces the absorption of cadmium and lead.


Vegetarians, attention!

Vegetarians should pay special heed to compensate the loss of zinc. Zinc is one of the substances that plants contain in a relatively small measure. Moreover, the zinc found in vegetables has a lower rate of absorption than that in animal products, due to the action of vegetable oils. These oils block zinc and other minerals, locking them in composites that are of no use for the organism, and thus preventing their absorption in the small intestine.


What are the symptoms of the lack of zinc?

Depending on the degree of shortage, a deficit of zinc can cause skin inflammation, loss of hair, immune system troubles, lowered resistance to infectious diseases, longer periods of wound recovery, growth problems (e.g. dwarfism), lack of appetite, decreased sense of taste, loss of the sense of odour, upset stomach, malodorous perspiration, shrinking sight sharpness, night blindness, sexual gland dysfunctions and fatigue.


Most in need of zinc are...

Pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, persons on low-fat diet, vegetarians, sportspeople, people under stress, smokers, frequent alcohol consumers, diabetes patients, elderly people.

The product is a fully natural mineral nutrition supplement, containing 99.99% of zinc colloid (solution of zinc in distilled water). Contains no artificial colours or preservatives!  



1 or 2 teaspoons daily during meals.


Further reading:

• Prasad, A.S.: Zinc deficiency in humans: a neglected problem, J. Am. Coll. Nutr., 17,542-543, 1998.

• Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, Zinc. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press; 442-501, 2001.

• Salgueiro, M.J., et al.: Zinc status and immune system relationship: a review. Biol Trace Elem Res., 76, 193-205, 2000.

• Lai, H., et al.: Plasma zinc, copper, copper:zinc ratio, and survival in a cohort of HIV-1-infected homosexual men, J. Acquir. Immune Defic. Syndr., 27, 56-62, 2001.

Magyar Nagylexikon, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 5, 420-422, 1997.

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