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Supplement Sunday: Zinc


Did you know zinc is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in our body? That was more than enough to convince me of it's importance!


Let's take a look at some of it's more specific roles in our body.

Growth and Development

  • we need zinc to grow and develop

  • zinc deficiency leads to stunting and delayed growth in children

Cognitive Health

  • as we learned above, zinc is crucial to growth and development – including that of our brain

  • zinc deficiency leads to cognitive impairment including poor learning and memory impairment whereas healthy levels of zinc have been shown to lead to improved cognitive health

  • zinc is even being studied in its possible role in Alzheimer’s disease

Immune Function

  • boosts our immune system

  • low levels of zinc result in a sub optimal immune system

  • immune cells depend on zinc - it promotes the formation and function of our immune cells which allows us to fight infections and heal faster

  • more simply put: more zinc = more immune cells, less zinc = less immune cells

  • caution: too much zinc is also not a good thing! It can lead to dysregulation of our immune system and immunosuppression

Skin Health & Acne

  • out of all areas in the body, our skin has the 3rd highest level of zinc.. this must make it pretty important!

  • it is located in highest concentration in our epidermis which is our outermost layer of skin. This part of our skin does a whole lot of proliferation and differentiation to create new skin cells. The creation of new skin cells is what allows our skin to heal and regrow

  • this allows it to be helpful in skin conditions such as acne, delayed skin healing, psoriasis and alopecia

Blood sugar control

  • zinc is important in regulating insulin secretion and its effects on our body. Insulin is the molecule that uptakes sugar from the blood and stores it for energy. For our blood sugar to be stable and under control, insulin also needs to be under control.

  • it can also increase insulin sensitivity, a common problem in metabolic syndrome and Type II Diabetes

Cardiovascular health

  • zinc plays a role in our cholesterol levels

  • some studies are finding that higher levels of zinc are related to lower cholesterol levels

  • it also serves as an antioxidant in our blood vessels which helps keep our arteries healthy

Eye Health

  • zinc plays a role in eye health and protecting vision loss

  • low levels of zinc may predispose us to various diseases of the eye

  • studies have shown that zinc and other antioxidants can slow the progression of AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration)

  • zinc ultimately helps protect against vision loss

Fertility:

  • zinc serves as an anti-oxidant and as a hormone balancer

  • In men: zinc has been shown to support testosterone, prostate and sexual health markers. It may also improve the quantity and quality of sperm

  • In women: zinc is an essential part of our eggs - it is involved in growth, maturation and protection

Sources:

  • Chatzicharalampous, C., Jeelani, R., Mikhael, S., Aldhaheri, S., Najeemudin, S., Morris, R. T., & Abu-Soud, H. M. (2018). Zinc: An essential metal for maintenance of female fertility. Fertility and Sterility, 109(3), e19.

  • Chew, E. Y., Clemons, T. E., Agrón, E., Sperduto, R. D., SanGiovanni, J. P., Kurinij, N., ... & Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. (2013). Long-term effects of vitamins C and E, β-carotene, and zinc on age-related macular degeneration: AREDS report no. 35. Ophthalmology, 120(8), 1604-1611.

  • Dardenne, M. (2002). Zinc and immune function. European journal of clinical nutrition, 56(3), S20-S23.

  • de Moura, J. E., de Moura, E. N. O., Alves, C. X., de Lima Vale, S. H., Dantas, M. M. G., de Araújo Silva, A., ... & Brandão-Neto, J. (2013). Oral zinc supplementation may improve cognitive function in schoolchildren. Biological trace element research, 155(1), 23-28.

  • do Nascimento Marreiro, D., Geloneze, B., Tambascia, M. A., Lerário, A. C., Halpern, A., & Cozzolino, S. M. F. (2006). Effect of zinc supplementation on serum leptin levels and insulin resistance of obese women. Biological trace element research, 112(2), 109-118.

  • Fallah, A., Mohammad-Hasani, A., & Colagar, A. H. (2018). Zinc is an essential element for male fertility: a review of Zn roles in men’s health, germination, sperm quality, and fertilization. Journal of reproduction & infertility, 19(2), 69.

  • Grahn, B. H., Paterson, P. G., Gottschall-Pass, K. T., & Zhang, Z. (2001). Zinc and the eye. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 20(2), 106-118.

  • Gunasekara, P., Hettiarachchi, M., Liyanage, C., & Lekamwasam, S. (2011). Effects of zinc and multimineral vitamin supplementation on glycemic and lipid control in adult diabetes. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy, 4, 53.

  • Hancock, S. M., Finkelstein, D. I., & Adlard, P. A. (2014). Glia and zinc in ageing and Alzheimer’s disease: a mechanism for cognitive decline?. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 6, 137.

  • Hashemipour, M., Kelishadi, R., Shapouri, J., Sarrafzadegan, N., Amini, M., Tavakoli, N., ... &

  • Ho, L., van Leeuwen, R., Witteman, J. C., van Duijn, C. M., Uitterlinden, A. G., Hofman, A., ... &

  • Ibs, K. H., & Rink, L. (2003). Zinc-altered immune function. The Journal of nutrition, 133(5), 1452S-1456S.

  • Klaver, C. C. (2011). Reducing the genetic risk of age-related macular degeneration with dietary antioxidants, zinc, and ω-3 fatty acids: the Rotterdam study. Archives of ophthalmology, 129(6), 758-766.

  • Kumar, P., Lal, N. R., Mondal, A. K., Mondal, A., Gharami, R. C., & Maiti, A. (2012). Zinc and skin: a brief summary. Dermatology online journal, 18(3), 1-1.

  • Masood, N., Baloch, G. H., Ghori, R. A., Memon, I. A., Memon, M. A., & Memon, M. S. (2009). Serum zinc and magnesium in type-2 diabetic patients. J Coll Physicians Surg Pak, 19(8), 483-486.

  • Ogawa, Y., Kawamura, T., & Shimada, S. (2016). Zinc and skin biology. Archives of biochemistry and biophysics, 611, 113-119.

  • Ogawa, Y., Kinoshita, M., Shimada, S., & Kawamura, T. (2018). Zinc and skin disorders. Nutrients, 10(2), 199.

  • Poursafa, P. (2009). Effect of zinc supplementation on insulin resistance and components of the metabolic syndrome in prepubertal obese children. Hormones, 8(4), 279-285.

  • Prasad, A. S. (2013). Discovery of human zinc deficiency: its impact on human health and disease. Advances in nutrition, 4(2), 176-190.

  • Prasad, A. S. (2009). Impact of the discovery of human zinc deficiency on health. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 28(3), 257-265.

  • Ranasinghe, P., Wathurapatha, W. S., Ishara, M. H., Jayawardana, R., Galappatthy, P., Katulanda, P., & Constantine, G. R. (2015). Effects of Zinc supplementation on serum lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition & metabolism, 12(1), 26.

  • Schwartz, J. R., Marsh, R. G., & Draelos, Z. D. (2005). Zinc and skin health: overview of physiology and pharmacology. Dermatologic surgery, 31, 837-847.

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