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What are the health benefits of zinc?

Zinc is involved in many aspects of cellular metabolism and normal growth and development. It also plays a role in the immune system. Severe zinc deficiency in malnourished people can suppress immune function and wound healing. Zinc deficiency is uncommon in North America, but low levels can occur in vulnerable populations, such as people with gastrointestinal or sickle cell disease.
Joel H. Fuhrman, MD
Family Medicine
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an important role in immune function, and zinc deficiency impairs resistance to infection. It is also a nutrient that many people are often borderline deficient in. The RDI (recommended daily intake) for zinc is 15 mg a day, which is usually not achieved by those not taking supplements or foods fortified with zinc and especially in vegans, vegetarians, or flexitarians not eating seafood and meat daily. Zinc is a structural component of many enzymes and zinc deficiency leads to dysfunction of both humeral and cell-mediated immunity and increases susceptibility to infection. There is considerable evidence to suggest that regular supplementation with zinc or at least awareness of consuming foods rich in zinc is useful to improve immune function and fight off both infections and cancer.
Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free

More About this Book

Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free

In Super Immunity, world-renowned health expert and New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Live Dr. Joel Fuhrman offers a nutritional guide to help you live longer, stronger, and disease...
Howard S. Smith
Pain Medicine
Zinc is an essential mineral for good health, keeping your immune system actively fighting viruses and bacteria, and helping to support healthy growth and development. There is some evidence that the low zinc levels in women prone to PMS indicate a diet rich in this important mineral may prevent painful PMS symptoms. For osteoporosis prevention, zinc is also crucial as it enhances mineral absorption and is essential for bone health. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) is 15 milligrams. The best food sources are meat, pork, poultry, seafood, wheat products, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and fortified products.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.