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How Does Zinc Help Your Body?

If you keep up with your daily zinc intake, it can help you fight off colds, boost your mood, and even freshen up your breath! But if you’re deficient, you can struggle with a variety of health concerns — including loss of taste.

Adults need anywhere from 8 to 11 milligrams daily, which can be found in a variety of foods, fortified juices, and supplements. Since the body won’t store extra zinc, it’s important to include it in your daily diet for the most health benefits. 

In this post, you’ll learn more about what zinc is, how zinc helps your body, specific zinc sources, and the side effects of too little or too much zinc.

Here’s a look at how zinc helps your body. 

What is Zinc?

Zinc, a nutrient inside the human body, helps the immune system function. It also plays a role in metabolic function. If you eat a healthy and varied diet, your body usually gets all the zinc it needs. Topical zinc is known as zinc oxide. It’s usually applied to help with skin conditions like sunburn or diaper rash.

As an “essential trace element” the human body only requires small amounts of zinc. Since the body won’t store excess zinc, a daily intake of this mineral is necessary. 

How Does Zinc Help Your Body?

Like most nutrients, zinc is essential for proper growth and health function. It’s needed for a variety of body functions including blood clotting, thyroid function, wound healing, and more. 

Plus, you can use zinc to:

  • Battle Colds -You’ll often hear of people using zinc orally as a method to nix colds quickly. Some research indicates zinc lozenges can potentially reduce colds by a day or two. Zinc lozenge use may also minimize the numbers of upper respiratory infections kids get. You can supplement higher doses of zinc (between 50 to 180 milligrams)  temporarily while battling a cold, according to Oregon State University’s Micronutrient Information Center
  • Improve Mood - A study published in May 2018 in Nutrients found that a zinc deficiency could increase depression risks, but it also found that zinc tends to have mood-enhancing effects in individuals with and without depression.
  • Act as a Natural Acne Treatment - Some research shows that a zinc dose of 30 milligrams daily may treat acne. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it may have the potential to reduce redness in individuals with moderate or severe acne. You can try both oral or topical zinc to see which works best.
  • Freshen Breath - Zinc deficiencies are often tied to individuals having bad breath, according to dental studies. When you consume zinc, it stops volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) from building up in the body. Using a zinc supplement or zinc-infused mouthwash or toothpaste can help reduce oral odors. 
  • Improve Vitamin A Absorption - Zinc helps the body better process vitamin A and is necessary for helping to transport vitamin A into the bloodstream.  

Where Does Zinc Come From? 

zinc mineral ore on white background

You’ll find zinc in multiple food sources including meats, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. Our INTENSE DEFENSE shot contains zinc that comes from mineral ore. Like our other shots, we’re keeping it vegan, too! 

Zinc can be found in a variety of sources that include food, dietary supplements, and other sources. 

Zinc-Rich Foods 

  • Peas
  • Oysters
  • Cashews
  • Chickpeas
  • Baked beans
  • Beef chuck roast
  • Alaskan king crab
  • Fortified cereal
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Kidney beans
  • Dry roasted almonds

Dietary Supplements

Other Sources 

  • Cold lozenges
  • Adhesive creams
  • Homeopathic cold prevention

How Much Do I Need Daily?

Mayo Clinic recommends a different dosage for men and women. Your needs also vary depending on your age, too. Men need 11 milligrams daily while women only need 8 milligrams. 

Pregnancy and breastfeeding also change your daily zinc requirements. A pregnant woman needs 11 milligrams while a breastfeeding woman needs 12 milligrams daily, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

Be sure to take zinc supplements with food to avoid irritating your stomach. 

What happens if I don’t get enough zinc?

Like scurvy (a serious health condition caused by a vitamin C deficiency) it’s pretty unlikely those living in North America will have issues with zinc deficiency. Those with a serious zinc deficiency would notice due to health issues like loss of appetite, hair loss, along with eye and skin sores. It may also cause issues with your sense of taste. 

Vegetarians are at higher risk of zinc deficiency due to the fact that the bioavailability of zinc from vegetarian diets is lower than from non-vegetarian diets. This is because meat has a high source of bioavailable zinc that may enhance zinc absorption. Others who are most at-risk for zinc deficiency include pregnant and lactating women and individuals with GI disorders. 

What happens if I get too much zinc?

According to WebMD, most adults who ingest zinc orally have no issues. But, in some cases, exceeding more than 40 milligrams daily can sometimes cause unpleasant side effects. If you intake too much, you may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even a metallic taste in your mouth. Kidney and stomach damage are also possible if you reach toxic zinc levels. 

Boost Your Immune Function With Zinc Today 

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Zinc is a mineral your body can’t — and shouldn’t — be without. 

For those who eat a varied diet, zinc deficiency won’t be an issue. And if you just want a little extra protection for your immune system this flu and cold season, boosting your zinc intake can help. Supplements are an easy way to get that extra dose needed to knock colds down

While oysters are the ultimate zinc source, if it’s not your thing, we get it. Luckily, foods like cashews, peas, kidney beans, and chickpeas can also provide plant-based protein and sufficient zinc.

As always, before upping your supplement dosage, check with your pharmacist and healthcare provider to ensure it’s safe to do so. And if you take any new medications, check with your pharmacist to see how it may interfere with zinc absorption so you can supplement accordingly.

Check out INTENSE DEFENSE, our zinc and vitamin D rich shot to boost your immune function. Our newest immunity-boosting shot includes 100% of your daily value of zinc. Plus, it has 235% of your daily recommended value of vitamin D! 

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