Zinc is a transition metal element with an atomic number of 30 and an atomic mass of 65.38. With regard to the question of what is zinc, we mention that it is one of the essential micro-vital elements, and the body needs it in very small quantities, and it is one of the very important elements for the health of the body as it enters into many vital functions and zinc helps in the work of more than 300 enzymes and has many benefits for the body.
Zinc is found in all cells of the body, but large amounts of it are concentrated in bones, muscles, and semen.
What is the medical importance of zinc?
Zinc is an essential element for good health, as it:
It is included in the chemical composition of more than 300 different types of essential enzymes that control various metabolic processes.
Maintains the immune system, helps in the growth of damaged cells and tissues and works to restore them.
How does the body get the daily requirement of zinc?
The body gets enough of the daily requirement of zinc from food, as the body cannot store zinc, so it must be provided permanently from food daily.
What is the daily requirement for zinc?
The daily requirement of zinc varies from person to person as follows:
- Adult man: 11 mg.
- Adult female: 8 mg.
- Pregnant women: 11 mg.
- Breastfeeding women: 12 mg.
What are the natural sources of zinc?
Zinc is naturally available in the following sources:
- Meat, especially red meat, including beef and lamb, is an excellent source of zinc. Eating 100 grams of meat daily gives the body 4.8 mg of zinc, which is approximately 44% of the daily requirement of zinc, but this does not mean exceeding the permissible limit of eating red meat, especially processed meat, as it is linked to cardiovascular diseases.
- Seafood, such as oysters and prawns, is a low-calorie and excellent sources of zinc, for example, Alaskan crab contains 69% of the daily requirement of zinc, and shrimp and mussels have a good percentage of zinc as well, while oysters contain the highest percentage of zinc.
- Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans, are rich sources of zinc. 100 grams of lentils contain approximately 12% of the daily requirement of zinc.
- Seeds, such as flax, hemp, pumpkin, and sesame seeds. It is a good source of zinc.
- Nuts. Nuts contain a number of nutrients and vitamins and are a healthy and suitable snack to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, such as cashews, which are a good source of zinc.
- Eggs, as eating one egg daily cover 5% of the body’s need for zinc.
- Whole grains, such as rice, oats, and wheat.
- Dark chocolate is a good source of zinc, as 100 grams of it contains 30% of the daily requirement of zinc.
- Fruits and vegetables are poor sources of zinc. But there are some types that contain a larger stock than others and may benefit people who do not eat meat, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes, both of which contain 9% of the daily requirement of zinc.
What are the benefits of zinc?
Zinc is an essential source for many functions in the body, and it has many benefits including:
Zinc benefits immunity
The body needs zinc for the immune system to function properly. Low levels of zinc can increase the risk of infections, such as pneumonia.
Zinc benefits bones
Zinc is essential in bone formation and health and may help prevent osteoporosis. But it’s still unclear whether zinc supplementation can prevent or treat this condition, and more research is necessary.
Zinc benefits for diarrhoea
The World Health Organization recommends zinc supplements for infants with diarrhoea. Evidence suggests that zinc can shorten episodes of diarrhoea, especially in children who do not have a nutritious diet.
Zinc benefits sexual health
The benefits of zinc are numerous for women and men as well. Low levels of zinc may lead to delayed sexual development, fertility problems, and other male sexual health problems. Zinc is touted as essential for male sexual health, and reasons for this could include zinc’s role as an antioxidant and hormone balancer.
A severe deficiency of zinc may lead to impotence in men, especially.
Other zinc benefits include enhancing memory and cognitive functions and relieving neurological symptoms such as tingling, numbness and peripheral neuropathy.
In addition to zinc’s benefits in wound healing, macular degeneration and age-related vision loss.
What are the disorders related to zinc?
Because of the many benefits of zinc, and the great importance of zinc and its link to sexual growth and development, zinc deficiency leads to a number of imbalances and the lack of production of new healthy cells.
Zinc deficiency leads to the following symptoms:
- Loss of sense of smell and taste.
- slow wound healing
- Loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Skin ulcers and hair loss.
- Delayed physical and mental development, especially in children.
- Difficulty and late delivery in pregnant women.
- effect on vision.
The people most at risk of zinc deficiency are:
- Babies of a breastfeeding mother.
- the elderly.
- For pregnant women, the importance of zinc for the pregnant woman is due to giving zinc from her personal reserves for the fetus during pregnancy to develop.
- Alcoholics, as it was found that alcohol leads to the body not digesting zinc.
Zinc deficiency is not an urgent health condition, but a doctor should be seen in the following cases: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you feel the previous symptoms of zinc deficiency, and if severe diarrhoea persists for several days, a zinc test should be performed.
The upper level of vitamin zinc should not exceed 40 mg/day for adults. Some may resort to using zinc supplements or zinc pills without resorting to the doctor, and the level of zinc in the body may rise more than it should, and the following are some symptoms of a high proportion of zinc in the body:
- dizziness and vomiting;
- . Irritation and bleeding in the intestine in some cases.
- Decrease in good cholesterol.
- A decrease in the element cooper.
In the event that zinc poisoning is believed to be due to high vitamin zinc, a doctor should be seen immediately. It is considered high zinc in the body is dangerous.
Milk can be drunk in this case until the medical staff arrives, as the calcium and phosphorous in milk help reduce the body’s absorption of zinc.
It should be noted that no case of zinc poisoning from natural food sources has been recorded, but care must be taken not to exceed the permissible limit.