Why is the mineral zinc so important to good health?

ZincGoodHealthAlthough the body requires only a small intake of the micromineral zinc, it is far more essential for good health than you may think.

It is a tiny transition metal that is of great biological importance to both plants and animals.

We all want to have a strong immune system, right? Well zinc is one of those immune-supporting nutrients that is necessary to protect us against colds and flu.

In fact, zinc deficiency makes us susceptible to a variety of diseases, as a deficiency can severely impair immune function.

Zinc performs many functions in the human body and helps stimulate the activity of at least 100 different enzymes. It plays a vital role in synthesizing DNA and is especially important during childhood growth and development.

According to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, zinc is needed to activate T-lymphocyte (T-cells), which control and regulate immune responses and also attack infected cancerous cells.

Zinc also plays a crucial role in learning and memory, as it regulates the way neurons communicate with one another.

Zinc deficiency in the modern diet is suspected of being a causal factor in childrens’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as cognitive problems among the elderly.

Deficiency of this ‘precious’ metal is responsible for 800,000(worldwide) childhood deaths annually, mostly in poor countries. In addition, 1.6 million children die every year from diarrhea linked to zinc deficiency, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A Time report said this problem is beginning to be quite successfully addressed with the use of whole food zinc supplements. In fact a medical worker quoted in the article enthused that, “Zinc pills appear to halt diarrhea in its tracks!”

Other functions of the mineral zinc currently being studied include its use in preventing and treating pneumonia, osteoporosis and aiding healing of wounds, as well as helping to delay the progression of  age-related macular degeneration (Archives of Opthamology).

Zinc deficiency is often a contributory factor in malignancies, malabsorption of nutrients, chronic diabetes, liver and sickle cell disease.

The importance to optimal health of all the vitamins, minerals (macro and micro) and beneficial bacteria cannot be emphasized too much. Try and minimize your intake of the Standard American Diet of fast and processed foods, and feed your family a good whole food diet. Quality supplements are also a good option to ensure a balance of the nutrients you need.

The best dietary sources of zinc are oysters and other shell fish (not farm raised), liver, beef and lamb. Best plant sources include beans, peanuts, dark chocolate, toasted wheat germ, garlic, dark, leafy greens, flax seeds and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com

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