Zinc is a great way to boost our immune system! This natural element helps us stay healthy in many ways. By helping to boost our immune systems, we can fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Our bodies also use zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Zinc is essential for our bodies to grow and develop properly. Plus, it also helps heal wounds and develop proper taste and smell.
This important chemical element is naturally found in the earth and also in some foods. Humans do not store Zinc, so we need to ingest it daily.
There are 3 easy ways to ingest zinc:
#1 Take zinc in its elemental form
Taking zinc in this form will help you decide how much zinc you need to ingest daily. Simply refer to the label.
#2 Eat foods that contain zinc
Several common foods contain plentiful amounts of zinc including:
- Beef chuck roast
- Beef pasty
- Baked beans
- Kidney beans
- Fortified breakfast cereal
- Pumpkin seeds
- Mozzarella cheese
#3 Take zinc as a supplement
You can also ingest zinc by supplements. Here are a few supplement options:
- Zinc gluconate
- Zinc sulfate
- Zinc Oxide
- Zinc Citrate
- Zinc acetate
To determine the daily dosage of zinc you need, you can look at the elemental zinc to see what the label recommends. Here is a chart provided by the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplement (LINK: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/)
The average daily dose is between 8-11mg per day. One can take 25-50mg 3 times a day for additional immune benefits. No research has proven if there is a difference in absorption, bioavailability, or tolerability.
NOTE: Taking too much zinc can be dangerous, too! Always follow the directions on the bottle and look for USP verification.
Zinc deficiency is rare in North America but if found, this deficiency can cause growth retardation, impaired immunity, hair loss, diarrhea, hormone imbalances, loss of taste, delayed healing and mental lethargy. This deficiency is usually associated with a medical co-morbidity.
Populations that may have low zinc include:
- Infants who are exclusively breastfed
- Pregnant and Lactating women
- Individuals with Sickle Cell
Zinc is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent necessary for the optimal health of our immune system. Next time you are fixing a meal, check to see if Zinc is found within the food. If not, you may want to consider taking a supplement to ensure you are ingesting zinc to support your health!