Zinc, a chemical element with atomic number 30 and chemical symbol Zn, is one of the most important ingredients of food. It is interesting to note that the element was probably discovered by Paracelsus, an alchemist, and named it after the German word Zinke. It is generally classified as essential trace element subject to the fact that it is required in the body in tiny quantities. While the deficiency in zinc is rather commonplace in the developing countries, developed countries seldom face this problem.
How does zinc help us?
1. Zinc plays an active role in fighting infections and healing wounds. You wouldn’t generally need supplements of zinc if your diet is already rich with zinc content.
2. Zinc generally helps heal skin infections such as diaper rash, acne and herpes. However, further researches are required in order to confirm the above benefits of zinc.
3. Zinc might be useful in combating macular degeneration subject to old age. However, studies are going on in order to confirm this intelligent assumption.
4. In some places, zinc is used to fight cold. However, researches are inconclusive here. Some people are of the opinion that it has no impact on cold.
5. Zinc acts as a very important constituent in maintaining the standards of vision. A deficiency in zinc can lead to poor vision and could be a reason in changes in the structure of the retina.
Dietary sources of zinc
Although many other items of food contain zinc, the predominant sources of zinc are shellfish, meat, dairy foods like cheese, cereal products, and bread.
A deficiency in the intake of zinc can lead to stunted development of the body and a poor immune system.
Toxicity related to excess intake
Taking a higher dose of zinc significantly hampers the absorption of copper by the body leading to weakening of the bones and anaemia. It is important to note that the supplements of zinc should be taken only there is a deficiency in the consumption of zinc through the normal diet.
Zinc supplements can lead to an alteration in your sense of taste and smell for a few days. Also, it can permanently affect your sense of smell. People who are generally allergic to zinc must not consume any of the zinc supplements without consulting medical practitioners as it might lead to nausea, fever, cough, and reduced immune functions..