Zinc - Overview, History, Benefits, Precaution, Dosage

What is zinc?

Zinc is a fundamental mineral contained in animal food. It is necessary to maintain a normal sense of taste and maintain the health of skin, mucous membranes, etc. It is a component of enzymes that work in the process of metabolism necessary for human activity. There are thousands of enzymes in the body that are engaged with synthetic responses like the digestion of carbohydrates (sugars), lipids and proteins, which are the three significant nutrients, and strengthening immunity. Zinc is contained in more than 300 types of enzymes and has the function of stabilising the structure of enzymes and activating enzyme reactions. Adequate zinc intake is essential for maintaining good health. Zinc is also involved in protein and DNA synthesis, and plays a central role in cell growth and differentiation. Zinc is therefore an essential nutrient for the development of foetuses and infants. Zinc also supports immune function, reproductive function, healthy skin and taste.

There are around 2g of zinc in the human body, and it is abundant in blood and skin. Moreover, it is abundant in cells with active metabolism like bones, kidneys, liver, brain, and hair, and in men, it is generally abundant in the prostate. Likewise, over 95% of the zinc in the body is available in cells and helps metabolism. Zinc is a silvery-white metallic element. In moist air, zinc and oxygen combine to frame a greyish-white film.

Since old times, zinc has been utilised as brass and corrugated iron. Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper and is used in 5-yen coins and hardware. Galvanised iron is iron plated with zinc, and is often used for parts of buildings exposed to rain to prevent rust.

History of Zinc

Zinc has been used as an alloy of copper with brass since BC, and its compound has been utilised for healing wounds.

Brass is believed to have first been produced in Rome between 20 BC and 14 AD, when the first emperor, Augustus, controlled the Roman Domain. In the 13th century, Marco Polo is said to have presented the creation of zinc oxide in Persia. Zinc is its common name, but the name "zink" comes from the German word "zinken", and that signifies "the tip of a fork" because the shape of zinc precipitates in a blast furnace resembles a fork. In nature, zinc seldom exists alone, however, in 1746, German chemist Marc Graf prevailed about isolating zinc from compounds.

In 1961, zinc deficiency was discovered in children with growth retardation in Iran. Children in Iran ate just potatoes, milk, and yeast-free bread, bringing about short height, frailty, and poor sexual capability because of malnutrition. Examination of hair revealed that they were low in zinc and zinc supplementation worked on their symptoms. After that, a child with similar symptoms was found in Egypt, and the symptoms improved when given a diet containing meat. Zinc deficiency in adults was discovered in 1975 in a patient who was fed only with high-calorie fluids.

​At the time, the existence of micronutrients was not known, so infusions were not formulated with micronutrients. ​Since then, the existence of various micronutrients has been revealed from various deficiency symptoms that occurred in high-calorie infusion patients. ​Currently, infusions containing micronutrients such as iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and iodine are on the market and must be given when high-calorie infusions are given.

Absorption of zinc

Zinc is absorbed in the small intestine and transported to the liver in combination with a protein called egg whites. The absorption rate in the body isn't extremely high, around 10 to 30%, however, it changes depending on how much zinc consumption and how much iron and copper are taken simultaneously.

Zinc absorption may also be slowed down by taking vasopressors. Moreover, processed food, for example, fast food and instant food contain food additives like phosphates that disrupt zinc ingestion, so care ought to be taken to avoid a diet heavily weighted towards processed foods. Also, phytic acid is contained in plant food like grains and beans, oxalic acid, which is abundant in green vegetables, and dietary fibre binds to zinc in the digestive system and decreases its absorption rate. Subsequently, to take in zinc efficiently, it is important to consume a great deal of animal products like shellfish, meat, and fish. Also, zinc is more easily absorbed when taken with L-ascorbic acid(Vitamin C), so eating zinc-rich oysters with lemon is wisdom throughout everyday life.

Zinc Benefits

Zinc is an important mineral for the body. Following are the benefits and effects of having balanced zinc in the body-

Maintain Normal Taste: The taste of a meal is perceived by the "taste buds'' on the surface of the tongue. Adults have around 3,000 taste buds, however, they decrease with age. However, a decrease in the number of taste buds does not necessarily imply a decline in taste, as we gain experience with taste as we age. Taste bud cells are continually being replaced with new cells in a very short period. Zinc helps the normal rebirth of cells and is profoundly associated with the formation of taste buds. Assuming you eat with a tongue that has broken down taste buds, you will encounter taste problems, such as not being able to understand the taste well and not enjoying it. Zinc is an important nutrient for maintaining a normal sense of taste, eating delightfully every day, and remaining healthy.

Promote metabolism and body development: Zinc is a fundamental nutrient in areas where cells are effectively renewed. At the point when a new cell is made, a chemical reaction happens, for example, copying genetic information, which is a blueprint, and synthesising proteins based on that copy. This reaction is driven by an enzyme of which zinc is a component. In the case of growing children, cell division occurs actively, new cells are created, height increases and development progresses. Even in adults, cells such as skin, nails, and gastrointestinal tracts are actively reborn. Zinc plays an important role in promoting cell synthesis in these functions, and it can be said that it has the effect of helping metabolism and growth. If you tend to develop vertical streaks or white spots on your nails, or if your skin is in poor condition, you may be deficient in zinc, so it is recommended that you take zinc.

Prevent Hair Loss: Zinc acts as a component of enzymes and helps metabolism, promotes the rebirth of the scalp and hair, and has the effect of preventing excessive hair loss and thinning. Hair is primarily made of protein, and zinc upholds the synthesis of that protein. However, for hair growth, it is vital to remember a well-balanced diet in mind and improve the nutritional status of the whole body.

Maintain Reproductive function: Zinc helps synthesise various hormones and is also involved in the adjustment of secretion. Zinc is essential for the synthesis of the hormone insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas. It also works to regulate insulin secretion. Insulin is a hormone that lowers blood sugar levels, and zinc plays an important role in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Zinc is closely related to reproductive function, activates the secretion of female hormones, and is required for the formation of sperm.

Prevent lifestyle-related diseases: Zinc has a function to prevent diabetes by acting on insulin, and it has been reported that it suppresses the rise of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and lowers blood pressure, preventing lifestyle-related diseases.

Hangover prevention effect: Zinc is an essential nutrient for the function of alcohol dehydrogenase, which is necessary for the decomposition of alcohol in the body after drinking alcohol. If the alcohol is not broken down properly, it can cause hangovers and obesity. Therefore, heavy drinkers should be conscious of their zinc intake.

Zinc Deficient & Dose

Zinc is the nutrient that is probably likely to be deficient among trace minerals. In 1982, it was reported that 1-3% of Americans had zinc deficiency. Zinc is a component that tends to be deficient in growing children, people on diets who eat unbalanced meals, and elderly people who eat less. Furthermore, individuals with serious illnesses are more likely to become deficient because zinc is lost because of the looseness of the bowels, as their metabolism increases to cure the disease.

The table below shows the recommended and required amount of zinc in the daily diet by gender and age.

Age Group Dose(mg/d)

Men 17

Women 13.2

Pregnant Women 14.5

Lactating Women 14.1

Infants 6-12m 2.5

Children 3.3-5.9

Boy 10-18 yr 11 8.5-17.6

Girl 10-18y 8.5-14.2

Various deficiency symptoms occur when zinc is insufficient. Zinc is engaged with nucleic acid synthesis and is a vital component for cell division and multiplication. In this manner, when zinc is deficient, the deficiency shows itself remarkably in areas where cell regeneration is active. The most well-known zinc deficiency in adults is dysgeusia. Due to dysgeusia, such as loss of taste and strange taste, craving might decrease and deficiency might progress.

Other symptoms include dry skin, dermatitis, hair loss, spotted nails, gastrointestinal disturbance, a weak immune system, loose bowels, anaemia, mental disorder, and slow wound healing.

In men, sexual dysfunction, for example, low sperm count, may happen.

In women, zinc deficiency during pregnancy can lead to stunted growth and malformations in the fetus. When a growing child becomes deficient in zinc, cell production and protein synthesis become impaired, resulting in significant delays in growth such as height and weight, and puberty, secondary sexual characteristics may be delayed.

Recently, a very interesting sickness called 'acrodermatitis enteropathic has been identified because of zinc deficiency, an inborn error of metabolism.

​When this disease occurs, diarrhoea, which is an intestinal symptom, and dermatitis with blisters and pus on the extremities (extremities: extremities) appear. Zinc is also given to treat this disease.

Zinc Overdose

Zinc is said to have exceptionally low toxicity to the human body, and since it is uncommon to overdose on a normal eating regimen, there is very little worry that excess zinc will hurt your body.

However, acute zinc poisoning caused by drugs causes dizziness, nausea, stomach disorder, renal dysfunction, and neurosis. ​Also, if you take excessive amounts of zinc continuously, zinc interferes with the absorption of copper and iron. may occur. In addition, it is said that the activity of the "SOD enzyme", which is an antioxidant enzyme that eliminates active oxygen that causes ageing, will decrease.

If you are on supplementation, then you have to take care of the dose. The overdose will not help you to overcome zinc deficiency faster. Instead, it will bring side effects to the body.

Food High In Zinc

You might be thinking about what to eat to get sufficient zinc. Zinc can be ingested from a large number of sources, including fish and meat, as well as dairy items, vegetables, seaweed, grains, beans, and nuts. Here, we will present food rich in zinc.

  • Seafood: Zinc is tracked down in seafood like the following, with oysters, also called sea milk, at the top of the list. Include the following fishes to get zinc: King crab, Sea ​​squirt, Squid, Dried whitebait, Scallop, Eel, etc
  • Meat: Zinc is found in large amounts in beef, lamb, liver, and meats. Included pork liver, lamb shoulder, pork shoulder, chicken liver, etc. 
  • Dairy items: Zinc is also found in dairy products such as cheese like Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, gouda cheese, processed cheese, camembert cheese, etc. It seems good to use cheese as a topping for meals.
  • Vegetables: Zinc is tracked down in numerous vegetables and mushrooms, for example, bamboo shoots, sweet corn, mushroom, Shiitake mushrooms, Burdock, and broccoli. Vegetables contain less zinc than meat and fish, but many foods are easy to use.
  • Beans: Zinc can also be acquired from legumes. Include in the diet the following- Soybean flour, lentil, chickpea, green soybeans, and green peas. It appears great to integrate beans into light meals and snacks.
  • Cereals: For grains, picking entire grains is the most effective method for getting zinc
  • Nuts: Nuts rich in zinc include: cashew nuts, pine nuts, Sesame, and almonds (unsalted). Even if it's difficult to eat a lot of nuts, you can try replacing snacks and snacks with nuts.

Tips To Take Zinc

While it is essential to pick zinc-rich food when consuming zinc, there are other points to be aware of. Some foods promote or inhibit zinc absorption. Find out which foods should be eaten with zinc-rich foods and which foods should be avoided.

Food that promotes zinc absorption: Animal protein, L-ascorbic acid, citric acid, and so on. promote the absorption of zinc. Animal proteins like fish and meat, which contain a ton of zinc, are exceptionally effective regarding zinc absorption. L-ascorbic acid is abundant in fruits like kiwi fruit and lemons, and vegetables like broccoli and peppers. Citrus acid is also bountiful in lemon juice, cured plums, cassis, and enthusiastic organic products.

Avoid food that inhibits zinc absorption: Some foods contain ingredients that block the absorption of zinc. Phytic acid food, polyphosphate and phosphate contained in processed food, dietary fibre, calcium, dairy items, espresso, squeezed oranges, etc also inhibit zinc absorption. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet so as not to become an extremely unbalanced diet to take in zinc.

Use supplements: There might be individuals who find it challenging to eat a well-balanced diet every day because of busy schedules, and people who tend to be zinc deficient due to illness. In such cases, you might need to consider taking zinc supplements with a food source. However, overuse of supplements can lead to an overdose of zinc. Excessive intake of zinc inhibits the absorption of essential minerals such as copper and iron, which can lead to anaemia, diarrhoea, immune disorders, and neurological disorders. When taking zinc as a supplement, it is important to follow the dosage and use it appropriately.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of consuming zinc?

Consuming zinc supports the immune system, aids wound healing, and promotes DNA synthesis. It's crucial for growth, senses, and hormone regulation. Zinc's antioxidant properties protect cells. Including zinc-rich foods in moderation helps achieve these benefits.

What foods contain a lot of zinc?

Zinc-rich foods include meats like beef and poultry, seafood like oysters and crab, legumes such as beans and lentils, nuts like cashews and almonds, whole grains, and dairy products like cheese and yoghurt. These foods are excellent sources of dietary zinc.

Is daily use of zinc advisable?

Yes, daily zinc use within recommended limits is advisable for overall health. Zinc supports immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. However, excessive intake can lead to adverse effects, so it's essential to follow recommended daily allowances and consult a healthcare professional if unsure.

Is zinc beneficial for hair?

Yes, zinc is beneficial for hair health. It promotes hair growth, prevents hair loss, and supports the maintenance of healthy hair follicles. Adequate zinc intake helps maintain the structural integrity of hair strands and supports overall hair vitality.

Does zinc benefit the skin?

Yes, zinc benefits the skin in multiple ways. It regulates oil production, aids in wound healing, and possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help manage skin conditions like acne. It also contributes to collagen production, promoting skin health and maintaining a youthful appearance.

Can you store copper sulphate solution in a zinc pot?

Storing copper sulphate solution in a zinc pot is not recommended due to potential reactions.

Is zinc a metal?

Yes, zinc is a metallic chemical element with the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is classified as a transition metal in the periodic table and is known for its bluish-white colour when freshly polished. Zinc is a relatively abundant element and is widely used in various industries due to its excellent corrosion resistance, malleability, and conductivity. It plays a vital role in biological processes and is essential for human health. Zinc is commonly used in alloys, galvanising processes, and as a dietary supplement due to its beneficial properties for both industrial and biological applications.

What is formed when zinc reacts with sodium hydroxide?

When zinc reacts with sodium hydroxide, sodium zincate and hydrogen are formed.

What is the valency of zinc?

The valency of zinc is commonly +2. This means that zinc typically forms ions with a positive charge of +2 by losing two electrons. This valency is often observed in various chemical reactions and compounds involving zinc, contributing to its role in diverse biological and industrial processes.

How much zinc per day?

The recommended daily zinc intake is around 17 mg.

What is the molecular mass of zinc?

The molecular mass of zinc is approximately 65.38 grams per mole (g/mol). This value represents the sum of the atomic masses of all the atoms in a zinc molecule. It's a crucial parameter in chemistry and science for calculating quantities and reactions involving zinc.

Is 50mg of zinc too much?

Yes, 50mg of zinc per day is considered too much and may lead to adverse effects. Excessive zinc intake can disrupt the mineral balance, impair the absorption of other essential nutrients, and cause gastrointestinal discomfort. It's important to stay within recommended daily allowances, usually around 11-40 mg, depending on factors like age and gender.

How much zinc per day for a man?

The recommended daily zinc intake for men is around 17 mg. Adequate zinc intake supports various bodily functions, including immune health, wound healing, and hormone regulation. It's important to meet this requirement through a balanced diet or supplements under healthcare guidance.

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