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Zinc properties and application, daily allowance for men and women, food sources

All cells of the body need zinc. It is necessary for the work of many enzymes that play a vital role in the processes of biosynthesis and immune defense.

Zinc what is it?

Zinc  properties and application, daily allowance for men and women, food sources

Zinc in our body is 2-3 g. It is associated with proteins and is concentrated in muscles (60%), bones (30%), liver (5%), and in men also in the prostate gland. Zinc is excreted mainly through the intestines; some of its amounts are lost with sweat and dying skin cells. We are not able to store this metal, so we must regularly receive it with food (or dietary supplements). Protein products are especially rich in them meat, fish, etc.

Useful properties of zinc and its role in the human body

Zinc is necessary for hundreds of processes occurring in the body from cell growth to puberty and immunity. It is also important for the perception of taste and smell.

Main use

Zinc protects us from SARS, influenza, conjunctivitis and other infections. The Americans studied 100 people with the initial stage of a cold: one group sucked zinc lollipops every 2 hours, and the other the same taste placebo. The first recovered on average 3 days faster than the second. The same lollipops promote the healing of ulcers in the mouth and help with a sore throat. Zinc supplements strengthen the immune system, especially if it is already weakened. They were tested as an adjunct in the treatment of rheumatoid polyarthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis and even AIDS.

Additional use of zinc

Zinc promotes the production of certain hormones, including the genital and thyroid glands. It increases male and female fertility, and is also important for the normal function of the prostate gland. Zinc also helps with hypothyroidism (thyroid insufficiency) and diabetes, because it increases the level of insulin. Stimulating the healing of the skin, it is used both internally and externally in the form of creams in the treatment of acne, burns, eczema and psoriasis. It improves the condition of the hair and hairy areas of the epidermis. It has been proven that it slows down the macular degeneration of the retina (this is one of the main causes of vision loss after 50 years). A recent Japanese study shows relief of tinnitus (tinnitus) after taking zinc supplements. Finally, its supplements should be taken for osteoporosis, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel diseases and ulcers.

Do you know?
Brazil nuts and almonds are excellent sources of zinc.

Our needs are the recommended daily allowance of zinc

The norm of zinc is 7 mg for women and 9.5 mg for men. Higher doses (up to 20 mg/day) are recommended for the elderly, weakened and suffering from specific ailments.

is a disadvantage. Serious zinc deficiency is rarely observed, but even if you fall a little short of the norm, such troubles as poor healing of the skin and its various pathologies, frequent infections (ARVI, flu, conjunctivitis), blunting of taste and sense of smell are possible. There were also violations of glucose tolerance (sharp jumps in its level in the blood, indicating an increased risk of diabetes) and a decrease in the number of spermatozoa.

+ Excess. Long-term intake of doses exceeding 100 mg/day significantly weakens the immune system and threatens to drop the level of good cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins). One study showed a link between taking excessive amounts of zinc and Alzheimer's disease (although the evidence is not convincing enough). Doses of more than 200 mg/day can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

For your information
According to various studies, about 45% of people aged 19-50 years do not receive the recommended amounts of zinc. Children younger than 4 years receive less zinc in 89% of cases, and the elderly more than 52%.

In developing countries, a small addition of zinc to the daily menu of the population, stimulating the immune system, reduces the incidence of diarrhea, gastrointestinal infections by 38%, malaria by at least 35%. ARVI by 45%, as well as pneumonia.

Indications for the use of zinc

SARS, flu and other infections.

Various chronic diseases from rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism to chronic fatigue syndrome and osteoporosis.

Skin problems and some digestive disorders.

Decreased fertility, tinnitus, weakened hair.

Do not overuse zinc. In doses over 30 mg/day, it eventually worsens the absorption of copper, which is fraught with anemia. And taking more than 50 mg/day threatens to weaken immunity.
If you are being treated with medications, take any medications only with the permission of a doctor.

Methods of application of zinc preparations


Tablets and lollipops with zinc
Zinc tablets (bottom) must necessarily contain copper; lollipops with it (top) often include vitamin C and are used to prevent SARS and flu.

Usually supplements give 10-15 mg of zinc per day. If you take such amounts for longer than a month, the absorption may be disrupted copper. In this case, use preparations containing both metals at once: 1 mg of copper per 15 mg of zinc. For acute respiratory viral infections and influenza: suck on a lollipop with zinc at intervals of 2-4 hours for a week, but do not exceed the dose of 30 mg/day.

Reception scheme

1 hour before a meal or 2 hours after it. If you are assigned iron-containing drugs, do not swallow them simultaneously with zinc. If you need antibiotics, take zinc supplements at least 2 hours after these medications.

Release form


Cream, ointment.



Your choice
Zinc supplements are diverse in form and often include vitamin C. The bioavailability of zinc slightly depends on what kind of salt it is used in.

Food sources of zinc

There is a lot of zinc in meat, liver, poultry, fish, eggs and seafood (especially in oysters). There is also a lot of it in bean cheese, wheat germ, nuts and seeds, but it is absorbed worse from these sources.

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