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Zinc: 5 Benefits of Zinc, Sources, and Daily Requirements

Zinc: 5 Benefits of Zinc, Sources, and Daily Requirements

Zinc is a micronutrient that’s vital for keeping your body healthy. It’s an ‘essential’ mineral, meaning the body cannot produce it. This means you must consume zinc every day in the diet or from dietary supplements.


What is Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral found in several foods, including meats, shellfish, legumes, dairy, eggs, whole grains, some vegetables (potatoes and kale), and seeds and nuts (1). However, it can also be consumed via dietary supplements if the diet is low in zinc-containing foods.

This micronutrient is a vital nutrient for several body functions. These include supporting a healthy immune system, keeping bones strong, aiding in healing, helps in iron absorption, functioning as an antioxidant, and promoting healthy aging.


5 Benefits of Vitamin C


  1. Boosts the immune system

Zinc is involved in many parts of the immune system and keeping immunity strong.

It is critical for immune cell development and function. Zinc is necessary for immune cell function (i.e., white blood cells like lymphocytes and phagocytes) (2). These cells help protect the body against infections and illnesses.

Because of this, a deficiency in zinc can cause a delayed immune response.


  1. Aids wound healing and tissue repair

Zinc is essential for cell growth, making it a key component in tissue repair.

Along with vitamin C, zinc plays an important role in the production of collagen. Collagen is a key protein for skin tissue construction (2).

Because of this, adequate to higher levels of zinc in the diet is connect to increased rate of tissue repair and wound healing.


  1. Functions as an antioxidant

Zinc is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

This mineral protects cells from damage by free radicals, but also decreases oxidative stress. Oxidative stress contributes to chronic inflammation, which can contribute to the development of several age-related diseases (3).

However, several studies in older population have shown the positive effect of decreasing markers of inflammation and damage to cells.


  1. May benefit memory and boost learning


Zinc plays an important role in neuron function, especially in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the section of the brain responsible for long-term and spatial memory (2).

Although this subject has limited research, an adequate amount of zinc has been shown to benefit the function of memory. Also, aid in the ability to learn and store this information in long-term memory (4).

However, it is important to note that an excess or toxicity of zinc may also have the opposite effect on the brain; so it’s important to ensure you are not overconsuming this mineral.


  1. May help clarify skin

The clinical trials associated to zinc and acne are also limited, but from the research that has been done has shown a positive outcome of zinc and its ability to clarify skin.

As an antibacterial agent, zinc can hinder bacteria that cause acne breakouts. Also, its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce redness and pain associated with moderate to severe acne (5).


What is the daily requirement of Zinc

The recommended daily amount (DRI) of zinc is 11mg for adult men and 8 mg for adult women (2).

This requirement increases for certain groups, including pregnant women (11mg) and breastfeeding women (12mg).


Risks of Zinc deficiency and toxicity

Zinc is an important mineral for many functions of the body, but like any micronutrient, there are always risks of deficiency. And of the opposite end, there is also the possibility of toxicity. Though both deficiency and toxicity are rare, it’s important to understand that the risks of each.

Not meeting the recommended daily amount of zinc can lead to deficiency. Symptoms include (2):


  • Impaired growth and development
  • Skin rashes
  • Weakened immune system
  • Slow wound healing


On the opposite side, toxicity can occur with mega doses of zinc. Just like deficiency, too much zinc can cause health complications and negative side effects.

Indicators that you may be consuming (via diet or complement) too much zinc can include (2):


  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache and cramps
  • Reduced immune function


What are the best sources of Zinc?

 Because zinc is an essential nutrient, it’s important to meet the suggested intake recommendations every day via diet or dietary supplement.

As mentioned, zinc found in a variety of foods — meats, shellfish, animal by-products, and some vegetables.

However, if you are having difficulties meeting your zinc daily intake requirements through your diet, supplements are also recommended. Zinc can be found in most multivitamins, but is also available as a solitary supplement.

Always insure you are using reputable companies to source your zinc supplements.

Also, consult with a healthcare professional to discuss if you are consuming an adequate amount of zinc through your daily diet.

Author: Allison Lansman, RDN, LD





Allison Lansman is a Registered Dietitian (RD),

Allison Lansman is a Registered Dietitian (RD), freelance nutrition and health writer, and wellness blogger. She is the owner/operator of The Freelance RD writing service and blog. Her business provides mainly writing services, but also product development, educational services and brand partnerships.

As an RD, Allison embraces a modern approach to nutrition and wellness. She believes we benefit most from building positive, balanced connections between mind, body, food, and environment. And she is passionate about sharing that philosophy through wellness communication and writing.

Her educational background is through Iowa State University, where she completed both her undergraduate degree and dietetics internship. She is currently studying towards an Masters in Public Health.

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Pycnogenol (French Maritime Pine Bark)

French maritime pink bark Pycnogenol antioxidants

Pycnogenol (French Maritime Pine Bark)

Pycnogenol is a pine bark extract known as a powerful antioxidant with the ability to relieve inflammation, and to improve the immune and circulatory system. The first known reference to pine bark as a therapeutic application was by Hippocrates in the 4th Century B.C. He noted that pine bark could be used as a way to reduce inflammation. In 1479 Miners from Switzerland in his book Thesaurus Medicaminum said that pine bark was useful in healing wounds. Around the same time a German naturalist, Hieronymus Boch said that pine bark made a good topical remedy for many skin disorders.

As an antioxidant, pycnogenol can help reduce cell damage. It may promote a healthy circulatory system by influencing the production of endothelial nitric oxide. Pycnogenol can reduce inflammation by regulating the immune system. By binding to collagen and elastin, it could help protect skin, organs, connective tissue, and arteries.

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Pycnogenol (French Maritime Pine Bark)


Pikeville, TN

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Lycopene is liposoluble compound that belongs to the carotenoid group that is responsible for the red color in most dietary sources especially fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, guava, papaya, watermelon and cherries. It is a highly unsaturated open straight-chain hydrocarbon that consists of eleven conjugated and two unconjugated double-bonds. Unlike other carotenoids, lycopene lacks the terminal beta-iconic ring in its structure as well as the ability to portray provitamin A activity. The most common sources are tomatoes as it is not synthesized by animals or humans. Since the molecule is lipid soluble, it is best absorbed in oil-rich foods such as pasta sauces or egg yolks. Despite being a carotene, Lycopene does not have vitamin A activity since it cannot be converted to vitamin A like other pro-vitamins such as, alpha, beta and gamma carotene. Processing of such foods converts Lycopene into a form that is utilized by the human body.

It is a powerful antioxidant that protects damage to organs of the body. First, it prevents the deleterious oxidative effects by deactivating the singlet oxygen that is harmful to the body. Dietary Lycopene has been shown to prevent the unwanted oxidation of lipids, proteins and DNA. As such, lycopene has a quenching ability towards singlet ion. The highly conjugated double bond in lycopene’s structure plays the most important role in such reaction involving energy transfer. It is active than other active carotenoids like beta-carotene. Therefore, Lycopene just like other antioxidants is effective in maintaining a healthy cell by maintain the, strength and fluidity of the cell membranes. Additionally, due to the antioxidation property it protects the low-density cholesterol from being oxidized by free radicals and as such not deposited in vascular structures as plaque.

Lycopene is important for vision as well. This compound minimizes the risk of macular degeneration hence helping curb age-related eye problems. It is also crucial in maintaining bone health. It promotes decreased bone resorption hence decreased breakdown of bone, coupled with increased antioxidant activity and reduction oxidative stress (abnormal free radical levels) promoted bone growth and development.

Lycopene has the ability to promote a healthy inflammatory response as well that not only aids in its immune supportive function but also protection of the skin and maintaining a healthy skin. It is beneficial to the skin as it keeps it healthy and youthful looking by protecting it from the toxins in the environment. Lycopene also protects the skin from harmful ultra violet rays of the sun. Topical application of Lycopene was shown to reverse the reduction of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) an important substance for DNA synthesis and cell repair. Lycopene therefore stabilizes the DNA structure in the nucleus of the skin cells. Lycopene also has the ability to enhance communication and connectivity between cells thereby improving skin texture. It not only preventive against the age-related free radicals but also supports metabolic functions related to growth and repair by inhibiting the activity of enzymes involved in the breakdown and destruction of collagen.

Lycopene also plays a protective role in supporting cardiovascular health due to its antioxidant property and ability to minimize the levels of oxidized LDLs that play a key role in the pathogenesis of arteriosclerosis that clogs the arteries. Lycopene also, reduces the total cholesterol level thus maintain a low risk of interfering with cardiovascular health.

Even though the recommended daily allowance of Lycopene is yet to be known, it is worth noting that eating of raw sources such as tomatoes only provides a small amount of the bioavailable lycopene since it is tightly bound to indigestible fiber hence preventing the phytonutrient from being absorbed effectively by the body. As such, it is crucial to consume lycopene in combination with other vitamins and minerals that have recommended daily allowances.