Zinc is a mineral with metallic properties. Zinc is a constituent of more than 300 enzymes, our body does not have zinc stores, so we need to get it from external sources.
Because of its metallic nature, zinc is a particularly good antioxidant, protecting against free radicals that damage cells. Free radicals take electrons (negatively charged particles) from cells, altering the electrical properties of the cell and causing it to become inoperable - damaged. Zinc, because of its metallic nature, has a very loose electron structure and can easily supply electrons to damaged cells. This is how it exerts its antioxidant effect.
It also plays a role in bone health, both because of its ability to transport zinc through the calcium transport channels (so it can go where the calcium goes) and because it increases levels of IGF-1, a hormone that builds up bone, which stimulates the cells that build bone. Because of its effect on the hormone IGF-1, it is (also) involved in cell growth and proliferation, making it important during pregnancy, childhood and in wound healing.
Due to its antioxidant properties and its DHT (dihydrotestosterone) hormone inhibiting properties, it can bring relief from various skin problems (acne, blackheads, goitre) and diseases (eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, etc.).
As zinc acts directly on immune cells and has a strong antioxidant effect, it plays a major role in our immune system, protecting us against infections and toxins that damage our body.
- Meat: beef, pork, chicken
- Seafood: crab, lobster, mussels
- Black beans, chickpeas
- Pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts
Recommended daily intake of zinc for adults (RDI):
- Women: 9 mg
- Men: 11 mg
- During breastfeeding: 13 mg
- During pregnancy: 12 mg
The tolerable upper limit is 40 mg (400% RDI). Take care not to exceed the upper limit to avoid side effects.