Zinc is an important mineral found in your body and helps in the repair of tissues. It is responsible for immune function and metabolism. What happens when you start taking zinc? Why is zinc advised when you want to improve your health? Surely, there are great benefits to having zinc. While ideally, you can obtain your daily requirement of zinc from a healthy, balanced meal an additional intake of zinc is advised in some people during recovery from illnesses.
What Happens When You Start Taking Zinc?
The recommended daily allowance of zinc is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for adult men.1 Zinc is found in foods like chicken, red meat, oysters, and fortified foods like cereals and bread. For a regular intake of zinc, you can plan a diet with food items rich in zinc and maintain a healthy routine. However, some illnesses, infections, diarrhea, and malabsorption can result in lowered levels of zinc in your body.
If you have been ill or have been identified with a deficiency of zinc, you may be advised zinc supplements. Zinc supplements have been linked to several benefits in people who are deficient in zinc. The demand for zinc is high in growing children, adolescents during their pubertal growth period, pregnant and lactating women, and elderly persons.2 These age groups and phases of life experience growth, development, and repair of tissues, which increases the need for zinc.
Here is what happens when you start taking zinc:
Improves Immune Function
Zinc mainly supports the immune function hence its deficiency can reduce the number of white blood cells or the fighter cells in your body.3 These cells protect your body from viruses and bacteria. Children and elderly adults with lower levels of zinc are at greater risk of infections such as respiratory, skin, or gastric infections. Having an adequate amount of zinc either through foods or by supplementation is beneficial in such cases. Better immune function and improved ability to fight infections are what happens when you start taking zinc.
Promotes Growth In Children
Young children need zinc during their growth years. Breastfed infants of mothers with adequate zinc levels can receive sufficient zinc in the initial months of their life when they are exclusively breastfed. However, once the introduction of complementary food begins, their daily requirements of zinc may not be met, resulting in a deficiency of zinc. Moreover, the requirements of malnourished children are much more than those of healthy children. Studies have shown that inadequate zinc during growth years can result in impaired growth and development. Zinc deficiency is linked with behavioral problems, impaired cognitive function, impaired memory, and learning issues.2 But when you start taking zinc you may see a difference in the growth. Experts have studied the effects of zinc supplementation on the growth of children and it showed a significant effect on linear growth and body weight gain.4
Some studies have also reported that taking zinc can help in controlling childhood obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. When you start taking zinc it can help build better immunity and prevent infections to some extent.
Zinc supplements of adequate levels of zinc can help in the generation of new cells and thus help in repairing damaged tissues. In addition to developing immunity zinc also plays an important role in fighting off inflammation and in promoting wound healing. This is another important benefit that you get when you start taking zinc. People recovering from wounds, or burns, those with problems in wound healing, diabetics with skin healing issues, and ulcers, and having lower levels of zinc can experience this benefit when taking zinc.3
When considering what happens when you start taking zinc it is also important to know how it can affect you adversely if taken in excess or when not needed. Some of the adverse effects of taking zinc in excess amounts include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or vomiting within three to ten hours of ingesting the supplements. These can reduce within some time. However, an excess intake of zinc can cause iron, and copper deficiency.
Thus, the benefits of having zinc are many for those who are deficient in zinc or for those who are in such life phases that need zinc for their growth, development, repair, and immunity. Now that you know what happens when you start taking zinc you can talk to your doctor and check if your need to take zinc for better health.