Zinc is the second-most abundant trace mineral found in the body, second only to iron. An essential micronutrient that’s involved in more than 200 enzymatic reactions , zinc also plays a key role in genetic expression, cell division and growth. In other words, this tiny mineral has a pretty big job to do—but the caveat is that our bodies can’t produce zinc on its own. Instead, it must be consumed via diet or supplementation.
The recommended daily amount of zinc is 8 milligrams (mg) for women and 11 mg for adult men. Pregnant or breastfeeding people should also aim for 11 mg and 12 mg of zinc each day (respectively) to support increased nutrient demands during those life stages.
In most diets, the majority of zinc%20also%20contain%20zinc.) comes from red meat, poultry, and oysters, with lesser amounts from beans and nuts—which means it can be tricky for those with dietary restrictions to consume enough zinc through food alone.
Populations particularly susceptible to a zinc deficiency are athletes who engage in prolonged activity and lose zinc in sweat; vegans or vegetarians who have lower dietary intakes; the elderly due to decreased intake and poor absorption; teenagers because of poor diet; and immune-compromised individuals and burn victims due to increased need.
There are a number of conditions that benefit from zinc supplementation:
If you’re thinking about taking a zinc supplement, the recommended daily amount of zinc is 8 milligrams (mg) for women and 11 mg for adult men, 11 mg for pregnant individuals, and 12 mg for breastfeeding individuals. But be careful to take your zinc orally, as intranasal zinc has been linked with the loss of the sense of smell. The National Institutes of Health considers 40 mg of zinc a day to be the upper limit dose for adults, and 4 mg of zinc a day for infants under age 6 months. Be sure not to exceed this upper limit as doing so can cause copper deficiency .
Before taking any sort of zinc supplement, make sure you talk to your provider. They’ll be able to help you decipher if you’re experiencing any side effects from the supplement, and can help you avoid any possible drug interactions.
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