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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

 

References

 

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-foods-high-in-zinc
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4429650/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3561272/
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/zinc-for-acne

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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Ginkgo Biloba

ginkgo biloba medicinal herbs for focus and memory

Ginkgo Biloba

Also known as maidenhair, Gingko biloba is an ancient plant that is native to Asia and Africa but also thrives in parts of Europe. Typically, Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) is obtained from the dried leaves of the plant only as the seeds are said to be toxic according to the University Of Maryland Medical Center. Leaves of the gingko tree contain up to 40 active components.  However, the extracts main health benefits due to the presence of two beneficial constituents including flavonoids those give it antioxidant properties and terpenoids. Flavonoids are plant based anti-oxidants.  They protect the various body cells from damage. Terpenoids such as ginkgolides on the hand have a beneficial effect on vascular health as   it dilates blood vessels increasing blood flow thus improving general circulation in the body, especially to the vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys. It also counteracts platelet aggregation by making them less sticky.  Some of the biological effects of ginkgo biloba leave extract include the scavenging of free radicals, reducing oxidative stresses, reducing neural damage, reduces platelet aggregation and minimizes inflammation.

The plant extract may create an effective inflammation response hence providing an immunosupportive function. Its ability to improve circulation reinforces the detoxification process and supports its immune function. The flavonoids in the Ginkgo biloba leaf extract inhibit the cyclo-oxygenase and lipooxygenase systems that are involved in the metabolism of arachidonic acid. Besides, the flavonoid component is also said to reduce edema as a result of tissue injury and also protects against capillary fragility.

Ginkgo Biloba extract has a brain boosting effect. It facilitates improved cognitive function and boosts memory by lowering the oxidative stress and improving circulation which has a cerebral enhancing effect. There are various mechanism of action, one of them being the ability to influence the uptake of glucose by brain cells, which further improves nervous transmission which is responsible for the execution of various body processes such as memory. Its vasodilative effect also increases blood flow to the brain.  Its ability to neutralize free radicals also enables it to neutralize any damage to the neurons and brain cells. Therefore GBE has a positive effect on learning and memory processes.

GBE has the ability to boost blood circulation by stimulating both increased peripheral and cerebral flow. It improves circulation by inducing vasodilatation and making the platelets less sticky. It also increases red blood cell deformidability and decreases their aggregation as well. This results in increased red blood cell fluidity and decreases whole blood viscosity. Circulation boosting effects are also beneficial in the maintenance of vision.  The presence of flavonoids that have an antioxidant property as well as the ability to increase blood flow to the eye reduces complication of the retina that often results to macular degeneration. Specifically,   gingko may help preserve vision in age-related macular degeneration that ranks as the number one cause of blindness in the United States.

Gingko extract offers protection against oxidative cell or DNA damage caused by free radicals that confers its antioxidant properties.  Components in ginkgo leaves that function as antioxidants include, terpenoids, phytochemicals and flavonoids.  Its potent antioxidant function protects against reversible cell damage. It helps counteract free radicals in the brain, eyes, cardiovascular system and in the nerves. This helps the boosts ones health and longevity as the free radicals tend to build up with age posing a danger to the cells and genetic material as well.

Indeed, gingko plays a key role in the normal functioning of the body. It contains the lipid phospahtidylserine that is vital for the normal functioning of all the body cells.  It is mainly abundant in the brain thus contributing to gingko’s therapeutic effect on the brain. Lastly, ginkgo extract has role in management of anxiety and stress as it helps suppress the levels of corstisol in the body which is the main stress hormone in the body. Animal studies have shown that GBE inhibits monoamine oxidase that regulates biogenic amines in the brain. Therefore, exposure to the plant extract elevates the brain concentrations of serotonin, norepinephrine and other biogenic amines.

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Rosemary

Rosemary herb has a wide range of health benefits

Rosemary

Rosemary is a perennial woody aromatic herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. Traditionally used by the Greeks. A common herb in cooking, rosemary has a wide range of health benefits. It can be taken as an extract, powder, oil or tea form. In addition to its great flavor in cooking, it contains phenolic acid derivatives and phenolic diterpenes that give its medicinal properties. It contains several essential oils such as cineol, camphene, bornyl, borneol, alpha-pinene and acetate. Rosemary oil is distilled from the flowering tops and has all the essential oils giving rosemary diaphoretic, immune supportive, astringent and stimulant properties.

To begin with, rosemary functions as a cognitive stimulant. It is said to improve memory and increases intelligence and focus. Rosemary contains an essential oil that boosts memory. According to study rosemary-based aromatherapy was said to improve working memory, memory quality and increases alertness as well. It boosts the nerve growth factor and supports brain function as well as healing of neurological tissue. Carsonic acid (CA) found in rosemary protects the brain from damage including ischemia due to low perfusion and toxin mediated degeneration as a result of free radicals. As such, carnosonic acids protective effects on the neurons shields them from oxidative stress and hyperstimulation thus preserving brain function.

Rosemary has an immune supportive function as it detoxifies the blood and protects the body against invasion by foreign bodies. It has a slight diuretic due to action of carnosol that helps flush out toxins. Additionally, rosemary helps eliminate free radicals, promotes healthy inflammatory response and regulates cell growth thus curbing any processes that may interfere with immune system due to the presence of phenolic diterpenes such as carnosol. Rosemary creates a healthy inflammatory reponse. Carnosol targets inflamed cells to reduce inflammation. The two compounds that confer these functions are carnosol and carnosic acids that produce a healthy inflammatory response of muscles, blood vessels and joints. High concentrations of rosemary extract reduce the production of molecules such as COX-1, TNF-alpha and iNOS. Rosemarinic acid and caffeic acid help to minimize damage to body cells by free radicals that induce DNA damage.

Rosemary also, contains various minerals each with a unique health function. For instance, it has cardiac health and vascular health functions due to the presence of iron that takes part in hemoglobin synthesis that carries oxygen. Potassium helps in cardiac functioning and regulation of the heart rate. Others include, copper, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B vitamins such as pantothenic acid, riboflavin and pyridoxine. Manganese in combination with superoxide dismutase prevents and protects against unregulated cell division.

The herb also supports regulated cell growth by eliminating non-viable cells. It does this by decreasing the level of heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Besides, the fact that carnosol has selective toxicity towards harmful non-viable cells makes it beneficial as it spares the neighboring healthy cells. Rosemary is also promotes healthy muscular response. This is due to its ability to promote a healthy inflammatory response while improving circulation at the same time.

Above all, rosemary extract is beneficial for the skin. It nourishes blemishes in the skin to give it a natural shine and a youthful look. Additionally, it protects the skin from harmful ultra violet rays which reduces aging or damage to the skin cells. It has also been reported to enhance and hasten the wound healing process when applied externally thus aiding in skin repair. It also stimulates hair growth and can be used to curb hair loss.

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Product Name:  Rosemarinic Acid    
Test Type: Identification and Purity   Test Method: USP
Test Type: Microbiology Yeast & Mold
E. Coli
Salmonella
Staphylococcus aureus
Coliforms
Test Method: USP
Test Type:  Chemical N/A  

 

Rosemary Source

Pikeville, TN

Contact
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