Above all, zinc is of course a chemical element that you probably still know from chemistry lessons under the symbol Zn. In chemistry, such as iron, calcium or copper, it is counted as metals.
In addition to chemistry, zinc is also interesting when it comes to nutrition. After all, it is one of the essential minerals. These are substances that the body needs but cannot produce itself.
Whether as a metal or as a nutrient – zinc is known to everyone. But do you know what the inconspicuous trace element actually does? In our body it supports a whole range of vital functions. That is precisely why it is important to absorb enough of it.
- daily requirement
We have researched and summarized the most important information here for you.
Zinc Effect and Occurrence
Let’s first look at how exactly zinc works. As mentioned above, it is essential for our body and is used for vital functions. Incidentally, this applies not only to us human beings, but to all living beings.
What does it do in the body?
Did you know that zinc is found in each of our cells? And not only that: besides iron, one of the most common minerals in the body. In many enzymes, the mineral acts as an activator and thus supports the normal functions of our nerves, the immune system or metabolism.
Among other things, we also need it to preserve our sense of taste and smell. The enzymes responsible for this also need a regulated supply with the mineral.
In addition, zinc also plays an important role when it comes to cell growth and cell division. Therefore, it has an important role in the growth and development of the body, but also in wound healing.
Zinc for the skin
You may have heard that taking zinc can help with pimples, for example. In fact, there are studies that confirm this effect. However, this does not mean that you should automatically resort to zinc if you suffer from acne or pimples.
It is true that the mineral is also essential for the health of our skin, but ingestion does not always help.
Such skin diseases can be, among other things, a consequence of zinc deficiency. If you suffer from such a deficiency, taking zinc through your diet or as a dietary supplement can help you eliminate these problems.
However, it is important that you clarify such a deficiency and taking it beforehand with the doctor of your trust, as a zinc excess is also not healthy.
Zinc in food
Zinc is therefore really important. But where do you get the nutrient best? When it comes to food, meat and oysters are the main ones. But there are also some interesting alternatives for vegan people such as soy flour or oatmeal:
- Oysters (7-160 mg per 100g)
- Liver of veal, pork or beef (6.3 mg per 100g)
- Soy flour (5.7 mg per 100g)
- Emmentaler (4.6 mg per 100g)
- Oatmeal (4 – 4.5 mg per 100g)
- Beef (3 – 4.4 mg per 100g)
Also certain nuts such as peanuts or Brazil nuts contain neat zinc (3 – 4 mg per 100g). Like other legumes and whole grains, however, they also contain phytic acid. A substance that hinders the absorption of zinc in the body.
In order to specifically absorb more zinc through the diet, you should therefore resort to the appropriate foods.
How much zinc a day do you need?
Here we have good news and bad news for you. The bad first:
Zinc cannot be stored in our body for very long.
So it’s all the more important that you cover your zinc needs at regular intervals.
The good news is therefore all the more pleasing:
Time and again, studies show that the population in Germany and Central Europe is relatively well supplied with zinc. This is due to the fact that the soils in our latitudes contain comparatively much zinc. The nutrient thus enters our metabolism via locally grown vegetables. In addition, we Germans still like to eat meat. One of the main suppliers of zinc.
The recommended daily dose is not always constant. The WHO recommends about 15 mg for men and 12 mg for women. Depending on the age, the daily requirement decreases. Children can already get by with around 5 mg per day.
The European Food Safety Authority even starts the recommended daily intake at 25 mg of zinc per day.
Although the recommendations vary slightly, they should not be ignored. From a permanent zinc intake of 100 mg or more, even negative health effects can occur.
If you want to increase your regular zinc intake, you should definitely follow these guidelines.
But when is an additional supply of zinc appropriate?
In these circumstances, you need more
If you suffer from certain diseases of the gastrointestinal tract or other disorders that hinder the processing of zinc in the body, it may be necessary to take additional zinc.
In this case, dietary supplements provide an easy way to ensure a constant intake.
Although the supply of zinc is comparatively good in this country, it may still be that you suffer from a nutritional zinc deficiency. This can happen even if the absorption of zinc in your body works normally.
People who are not often on the menu are particularly often affected by this. So if you live vegan or rarely eat foods with zinc, a zinc deficiency could occur after some time.
- Hair loss
- Disruption of the sense of taste
Since zinc also plays an important role in wound healing, an increased zinc supply is sometimes also recommended after surgery or burns.
However, it is always important that you clarify such a deficiency and the intake beforehand with your doctor.
A very important trace element
As you can see, you should definitely not underestimate zinc. So here the most important information is summarized again.
Our body needs the mineral to maintain a healthy function of:
Sense of smell and taste
Skin and hair
You can find a lot of zinc in:
Although a lack of zinc is rather rare in Germany, you should be careful to cover your daily needs for the mineral. After all, zinc is not without reason an essential mineral, without which our body does not function properly.