Zinc is an essential mineral present naturally in some foods and available as a dietary supplement. Zinc plays a role in immune function, protein & DNA synthesis, wound healing, and cell division.
Zinc and Diabetes
Zinc helps to improve immune function, fasten wound healing and delayed age-related macula degeneration. These are the conditions more common among diabetes and thus taking zinc supplements helps to manage diabetes and its complication better.
Diabetes can affect zinc homeostasis in many ways, increased urinary loss due to diabetes lead to decrease in total body zinc.
Zinc plays a key role in the production, storage, and secretion of insulin.
We need zinc to maintain our sense of taste and smell. Zinc is an antioxidant and it product our cells from free radicals and possibly lead to heart diseases and cancer. In addition, study confirms that people with diabetes who died by heart diseases were had low levels of zinc. Therefore, zinc can help to avoid heart diseases in diabetics.
Benefits of zinc supplements
We need zinc in numerous cellular metabolisms. It is in need for the catalytic activity of 100 enzymes and an important role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis and cell division. Zinc also helps to get normal growth and development during pregnancy and childhood. It is required for proper sense of taste and smell. Daily intake of zinc is in need, because the body has no specific zinc storing facility.
Recommended dose of Zinc
Recommended daily intake of zinc for a male is 2mg to 11mg and for a female is 2mg to 8mg, depending upon their age.
An analysis estimated that an average requirement of 6.8 mg/day for elderly-female and 9.4 mg/day for elderly-male.
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Zinc is 40 mg/day for both male and female adults of age more than 19 years, for younger people the value will be lower so consult your healthcare professional for exact value. Therefore, it is not advisable to take zinc supplement more than 40 mg/day, but it is not applicable to those who are in zinc deficiency treatment.
Health risks of too much of Zinc
Zinc toxicity can occur in both acute and chronic forms. Acute adverse effects of high zinc intake include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches.
Intakes of 150 to 450 mg/day of zinc has to link with as low copper status, altered iron function, reduced immune function, and reduced HDL (high-density lipoproteins).
Medication that may interact with Zinc supplements
Zinc supplements have the potential to interact with several types of medications. A few examples are as below. Individuals taking these medications regularly should discuss their zinc intakes with their healthcare providers.
Antibiotics quinolone and tetracycline interact with zinc in the gastrointestinal tract and inhibits the absorption of both zinc and antibiotic. So taking it at least two hours before or four to six hours after taking a zinc supplement can minimize this interaction.
Zinc can minimize the action of penicillamine, a rheumatoid arthritis drug. So suggest taking zinc supplements at least two hours before or after taking penicillamine to minimize this interaction.
Diuretics such as Thiazide and hydrochlorothiazide can increase urinary zinc excretion by up to 60%. Prolonged use of thiazide diuretics could deplete zinc levels, so healthcare professional should monitor zinc level in patients taking thiazide.
Natural sources of Zinc
Natural sources of Zinc include meat, eggs, milk, sunflower seeds, whole grains, spinach, etc. Zinc destroys easily during processing of food so it is advisable to eat the Zinc containing food in their natural form as possible. Alcoholics and diuretics reduce zinc absorption, also stress can drop zinc level rapidly.
Chemical form of Zinc
Supplements contain several forms of zinc, including zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, and zinc acetate. The percentage of elemental zinc varies by form. So read the label carefully.