Zinc: A Vital Element

Apart from the regular nutrients and vitamins, the body requires some minerals too. These are required for carrying out the various functions of the body properly. Due to their importance, these elements are called essential minerals and each of these minerals has their own contribution towards a healthy body. Zinc is a very important mineral among these.

Zinc plays an important role in activities like DNA synthesis, protein synthesis, cell division, cellular metabolism and is also vital in catalytic activity of around a hundred enzymes. It is also important for the immunity system as well as healing wounds. Zinc is responsible for development of the baby when in womb and also during the childhood and adolescence. You can also attribute your proper sense of taste and smell to this vital element.

But there is an interesting thing about zinc and that is, it cannot be stored in the body. That means you will have to get your required amount of zinc daily. So the main source should be food and daily diet. Oysters are the best source of zinc. Other seafood like crabs and lobsters are good sources too.

Chicken and red meat also supply zinc to the body. Other sources include milk and cheese, raisins and nuts, almonds, chickpeas, kidney beans, oat meal and fortified breakfast cereals, etc.

If a person cannot get zinc at per recommended daily dose, then he or she will need to go for dietary supplements. The common supplements contain zinc sulfate, zinc acetate, zinc gluconate, etc. One can get these supplements in the forms of tablets, capsules, drinks and powders. Various medicines also contain zinc. However, it is yet to be proven how elemental zinc gets absorbed in the body from these supplements.

Deficiency of zinc causes weakening of the immunity system, normal growth and also causes loss of appetite. Other common deficiency problems are delayed sexual maturity, impotency, hair loss, impairment of sense of taste and smell, diarrhea and skin lesions.

Excess of zinc can also result in diarrhea as well as nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and abdominal cramps. If a person suffers from chronic excess of zinc, it may result in low levels of other vital elements like copper and iron.