Zinc is Essential for Life.
Zinc is one of nature’s most vital, essential elements. Humans, animals, plants and even the smallest micro-organisms need zinc to function. There is no life without zinc.
Zinc is in all parts of our body; it is in our organs, tissues, bones, fluids, and cells. Because zinc is used to generate cells, it is especially important during pregnancy, for the growing fetus whose cells are rapidly dividing.
And zinc is vital in activating growth (height, weight and bone development) in infants, children, and teenagers.
Why is Zinc Vital to Health?
Among all the vitamins and minerals, zinc shows the greatest effect on our immune system. Zinc helps fight infections and can even reduce the duration and severity of the common cold.
Zinc also enhances memory and thinking by interacting with other chemicals to send messages to the sensory brain center. Zinc can also reduce fatigue and mood swings. Zinc is vital for taste and smell; it is needed for the renewal of skin cells; and it helps keep our hair and nails healthy.
Zinc as a Therapy for Coronavirus Disease?
Zinc is an essential micronutrient for humans that serves numerous physiological roles throughout the body. As a result, recent reports concerning its consideration as a treatment for “coronavirus disease 2019” (COVID-19) are not surprising. Despite significant research describing how zinc can efficiently impair the replication of a variety of RNA viruses, and growing anecdotal evidence of zinc efficacy for treating COVID-19 infections, there are currently no clinical trial results available at this time. IZA continues to monitor all primary research and ongoing clinical trials related to zinc benefits for human health.
Zinc serves many metabolic functions, including the development and integrity of the respiratory epithelium, gastrointestinal tract, immune and nervous systems, bone development, and numerous others. Relatedly, zinc deficiency, resulting from insufficient zinc in the diet, was initially shown to affect healthy growth and development in children nearly 60 years ago. As an indication of its importance, the World Health Organization now provides recommendations for minimum daily levels of zinc, guidelines for fortifying staple foods with zinc, and recommends zinc for treating acute diarrheal disease. In recent years, scientific research has also shown linkages between zinc metabolism and progression of conditions affecting pulmonary and neurological systems, among others. For more information on what IZA is doing to address global health issues associated with micronutrient deficiency, please visit www.zinc.org/life.
Where Do We Get Zinc?
Primarily, we get zinc from our food – especially meat, poultry, fish and seafood, whole cereals and dairy products. A balanced diet is the best way to provide your body with zinc. A zinc supplement or a daily multi-vitamin supplement may be taken if your nutritional zinc intake is insufficient.*
*Large doses of zinc should not be taken over a prolonged period without your physician’s direction.
How Much Zinc Do We Need?
Recommended daily intakes are 5 mg for infants, 10 mg for children, 12 mg for women, and 15 mg for men. Pregnant women and lactating mothers require more zinc to ensure optimal development of the fetus and newborn baby.
What if We Don’t Get Enough Zinc?
Zinc deficiency is a major global health problem. Lack of zinc rank’s as the 5th leading risk factor in causing disease, especially diarrhea and pneumonia in children, which can lead to high mortality rates.
Zinc supplementation and fortification programs could help overcome these problems as well as help growth among stunted children, another phenomenon associated with severe zinc deficiency.
To learn more about the life-saving benefits of zinc and the impact of zinc deficiency, visit life saving.