Some interesting facts about zinc:
- Zinc is a trace mineral
Zinc is a trace mineral, which means only very small amounts of this mineral are required to enable the proper functioning of the body and to enable good health. Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in the body.
- Zinc is needed to enable over 200 enzymes to work properly
Over 200 important enzymes in the body rely largely on sufficient levels of zinc to activate them and enable them to function correctly.
- Zinc is part of superoxide dismutase
The body produces its own natural antioxidant, superoxide dismutase (SOD), to neutralise any free radicals that may occur through any natural oxidative processes in the body. Zinc is an essential part of the SOD molecule and helps this antioxidant perform its duties more effectively.
- Long term zinc supplements should be taken with copper
People who take zinc supplements over the longer term, should also be taking copper supplements too, as high levels of zinc can cause a decrease in the blood levels of copper and decrease the absorption of any copper in the blood. These two minerals need to be taken together so that blood levels of both remain in a healthy range.
There is some zinc in all the cells of the body, but it is especially concentrated in the skin, hair, nails and eyes (and in the prostate gland in men)
- Zinc is an antioxidant
Zinc is an antioxidant, which means that it protects the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Oxidative damage from environmental toxins (such as ultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoking and air pollution) can cause premature ageing, damage to the DNA of cells and damage to cells and body tissues; it can even allow conditions such as heart disease and cancer to manifest through the various body systems. Zinc antioxidant properties also helps to stabilise the cell membranes and protects the cells DNA and RNA through its antioxidant properties.
- Zinc ensures taste and smell are normal
Interestingly, zinc works to ensure that the two senses - taste and smell - are normal. Zinc's importance in body system that go through a rapid amount of cells are especially reliant on zinc (such as the taste buds in the tongue and the olfactory nerves in the nose) and need it to stay healthy.
- Zinc protects against damage from toxic substances
Zinc has a known effect on detoxifying the body from the toxic effects of a number of poisonous substances, by protecting the liver through the detoxification and elimination process in the liver. Zinc protects the body against damage from many environmental toxins such as carbon tetrachloride (a cleaning solvent), lead (in old paint, pollution and leaded petrol) and cadmium (in exhaust fumes, drinking water and pollution).
- Zinc exists in all cells of the body
There is some zinc in all the cells of the body, but it is especially concentrated in the skin, hair, nails and eyes (and in the prostate gland in men).
- Zinc is available in various supplement forms
There are a number of forms of zinc supplements. Zinc sulfate is the most frequently used supplement but it is not very well absorbed and can cause stomach upset. Better forms of zinc include: zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, zinc acetate, zinc glycerate, zinc gluconate and zinc monomethionine. The form of zinc that is the best and most absorbed is zinc gluconate.