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The body only requires minute amounts of zinc, but despite this, nearly 100 enzymes rely on it to carry out essential chemical reactions. It is a key component in the production of DNA, cell proliferation, protein synthesis, tissue repair, and immune system support. (Source) 

A sufficient amount of zinc is needed during periods of rapid growth, such as during childhood, puberty, and pregnancy, as it aids in cell growth and multiplication. The smell and taste sensations are also influenced by Zn.

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What Is Zinc? What Are The Functions Of Zn?

Making new cells and enzymes, processing carbs, fat, and protein in the diet, and wound healing are all made easier by zinc. Each cell in the body has Zn. 

It’s essential for the body’s immune system and defence mechanisms to function effectively. Cell division, cell proliferation, wound healing, and the digestion of carbohydrates are all impacted by it. Taste and smell are other senses that require Zn.

How Much Zinc Do I Need? What Are The Recommended Amounts?

Men (aged 19 to 64) and women (aged 19 to 64) need roughly 9.5 mg and 7 mg of Zn per day, respectively. All of the Zn you require each day should be available in your food.

RDA: The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for those aged 19 and over is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for males per day. An additional 11 mg and 12 mg are needed during nursing and pregnancy, respectively.

UL:  The daily maximum unlikely to have detrimental effects on health is known as the Tolerable Upper Intake Level. For both males and females aged 19 years and older, the UL for Zn is 40 mg per day.


What Happens If There Is Excess Of Zinc?

The daily intake amount that is most likely to not exceed the Tolerable Upper Intake Level High zinc intake lowers the body’s capacity to absorb copper. This may result in anaemia and a deterioration of the bones.

What Are The Food Sources Of Zinc? What Food Contains Zn?

Seafood, poultry, and meat are abundant sources of Zn. Even though whole grains and legumes are excellent sources of zinc, they also include phytates, which can bind to the mineral and inhibit its absorption. (Source)

  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Whole grain
  • meat
  • shellfish
  • dairy foods such as cheese
  • bread
  • cereal products  such as wheatgerm

Deficiency Of Zinc: The Possible Disorders And Their Symptoms

A zinc shortage is uncommon, and it typically affects persons who have had gastrointestinal surgery or digestive issues that affect their ability to absorb zinc efficiently.

A risk factor includes having chronic liver or renal disease. Along with serious illnesses like burns and sepsis that require more Zn, such as excessive or protracted diarrhoea and sepsis, a Zn shortage can occur (an infection caused by harmful bacteria entering the blood). When consumed in lesser doses and by those who are lacking in the mineral, Zn is more effectively absorbed.

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Other groups at risk for zinc deficiency:

  • Pregnant women. increased requirements for Zn during nursing and throughout pregnancy.
  • Low levels of Zn in human breast milk.  (Source) High amounts of calcium and phosphorus in cow’s milk can lower Zn absorption. (Source)
  • Vegetarians/vegans. Zn consumption is restricted to whole grains and other plant meals because animal foods have a higher bioavailability of Zn.
  • Decreased absorption and increased Zn urine loss.

Signs of deficiency include:

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Poor appetite
  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased immunity
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss

Toxicity Of Zn: In Case Of Excess Of Zinc

The majority of toxicities are caused by zinc supplementation rather than food. There haven’t been any reports of zinc overconsumption from food alone.

Signs of toxicity include:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea 

Check out the Functions of Vitamins and Minerals on Health Views Online – Food Nutrients section.