Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Zinc: Functions, Deficiency, Daily Needs, Excessive Intake

Zinc is a mineral which our bodies cannot manufacture, therefore, must be obtained from food. Our body has a storage of 2 - 3 grams of zinc. Most of it is in muscle (about 60%), 3% in bones and the rest in the skin. We can absorb 20% of the zinc in food and we lose it through feces, urine, hair, skin, sweat, semen, menstruation.

Functions Of Zinc

1. aids in wound healing
2. manufactures enzymes
3. enhances wound healing
4. ensures healthy skin
5. aids in cell growth
6. has antioxidant effect

Zinc Deficiency

Phytic acid, phosphate, EDTA (a preservative) can decrease zinc absorption. Zinc
deficiency will lead deterioration in the sense of taste, poor immunity, skin problems, diarrhea, hair loss, fatigue, poor wound healing. Poor zinc intake in growing adolescents will impede growth and reproductive organ development. Total vegetarians may have zinc deficiency since zinc is more abundant in meats. Therefore, vegetarians has to make sure they eat enough bean products.

Daily Needs Of Zinc

Men needs more zinc than women because it is lost through the semen. Zinc
concentration is 10 times higher in the semen than in the blood. US RDA recommends
that adults needs 15 mg (male) and 12 mg (female) of zinc a day.

Zinc Content in Foods
Food 100g Zinc Content (mg)
Oyster, cooked 181
Cashew 5.7
Beef 5.0
Crab, raw 4.3
Seaweed 3.88
Egg Yolk 3.4
Pork 3.5
Peanut 3.3
Processed Cheese 3.0
Lobster 2.9
Sesame Seed 2.9
Chicken, meat only 2.2
Tofu 1.6
Shrimp 1.6
Chickpeas 1.1
Yogurt. 0.9
Grouper, cooked 0.5
Milk 0.4

Excessive Intake of Zinc

Although zinc is related to the growth of the reproductive system and it is present in the semen, taking extra zinc cannot boost fertility. Zinc supplementation can only help in cases where deficiency is present. Excessive intake of zinc can lead to toxicity, affect metabolism of iron and copper, lead to nausea, vomiting, fever. These symptoms will usually appear when intake is 2 grams per day.

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