Many stores offer a zinc dietary supplement to help support your health. Yet zinc is one of the lesser-known trace elements in your body. We all know what iron does for us, but what is the function of zinc?
In this article we look at the function of a zinc dietary supplement and why it is important to take it.
- 1 What is zinc as a trace element?
- 2 The function of a zinc dietary supplement
- 3 What Happens When You Take Too Much of a Zinc Dietary Supplement?
What is zinc as a trace element?
Zinc is a trace element and has a major function in your body. It is part of several enzymes that play a role in your metabolism. In addition, you also need it for building a healthy immune system and it helps with the development of proteins.
Zinc is considered an essential trace element. This means that your body cannot make or store it on its own. That is why you need it from your diet every day. A zinc deficiency is virtually non-existent in the Netherlands, but there are still a number of risk groups that should pay more attention to their zinc intake, such as:
- Babies and children who are still breastfed
- pregnant people
- People with an alcohol addiction
Zinc is abundant in shellfish, grains, nuts, cheese, and meat. If you eat a varied diet, the chance that you will develop a deficiency is small. However, if you belong to the risk group or have a medical indication that puts you at risk of a zinc deficiency, it is wise to use a zinc dietary supplement.
The function of a zinc dietary supplement
Because zinc plays a fairly large role in your body, taking a zinc dietary supplement can quickly give positive effects if you normally have a low zinc level. However, be careful not to exceed the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 9 mg, because then you can suffer from side effects.
1. Zinc food supplement boosts your immune system
Zinc supports your immune system and helps your cells transmit signals to each other. With too little zinc in your body, your cells function less well, which means you have a weaker response to diseases.
As you age, your immune system often weakens as well. This is quite normal but can cause age-related illnesses, such as pneumonia, various infections and macular degeneration. Zinc can counteract this because it supports the T cells in your body. Your T cells help your body by fighting and eliminating disease makers.
3. It is effective against inflammation
Zinc actively counteracts the inflammation-causing substances in your body. In addition, it also counteracts oxidative damage, making you less likely to suffer from muscle pain and cramps. The use of zinc can also weaken the pain in chronic inflammation.
4. Zinc Dietary Supplement Supports Wound Healing
Your skin contains a fairly high level of zinc, as much as 5% of the total zinc content in your body. It helps your skin by supporting collagen production and ensures that your body reacts quickly to a wound or inflammation. Therefore, zinc can help to speed up wound healing. Zinc is also regularly used in wound repair in hospitals for this reason.
5. It Can Reduce Acne
Almost 10% of the entire world population suffers from acne. This is of course very annoying and it often arises in response to small inflammations in the skin. Zinc helps to reduce these inflammations, which will also reduce acne. In addition, people with acne often also have lower zinc levels, so they benefit from using a zinc dietary supplement. However, always take zinc supplements in consultation with a doctor, so that you can be sure that it does not interfere with your existing medication.
What Happens When You Take Too Much of a Zinc Dietary Supplement?
The recommended daily allowance of zinc is 9 mg for men over 18 years of age and 7 mg for women over 18 years of age. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding need more, about 9.1 mg to 11 mg. Your body doesn’t need more and your body can’t use it either. If you take too much, you can suffer from various side effects.
For example, you may experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and a reduction in your HDL cholesterol level. A severe excess of zinc can also lead to a deficiency of other minerals, such as iron and copper. However, this only happens in extreme cases where you take more than 60mg per day for 10 weeks.
If you have taken a little too much zinc once, you will hardly notice it. At most, you will experience a bit of stomach pain and nausea. However, with a long-term surplus, more symptoms are involved. Therefore, do not take a zinc dietary supplement if you already get enough zinc from your diet, unless it is recommended by your doctor.
The content of this article is based on scientific publications and was written in collaboration with medical specialists/nutritionists.