Content zinc (zink) in the body a person is 1, 5 – 3 g (for women – 1.5, for men – 2.5 – 3 g), of which 60% in bone and muscle tissue, 20% – in the skin. The highest level of microelement – in red blood cells and white blood cells, in the prostate gland and semen in men.
The role of zinc in humans
Metabolism: zinc is involved in the synthesis and breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
The immune system: zinc contributes to the activity of leukocytes, antibodies, hormones, the work of the thymus gland, which increases the body’s resistance and accelerates wound healing. It also performs a detoxifying function by removing carbon dioxide from the body.
Hormones: Zinc is required for the secretion, production and utilization of insulin, which is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates. It protects against destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas, synthesizing insulin. Zinc is involved in metabolic processes that occur in the adrenal glands, thyroid, pituitary, ovaries and testes. Its content is of great importance for the formation of male sex hormones and healthy prostate.
Enzymes: zinc is found in more than 300 enzymes; it is a unique feature of the trace element in terms of the number and variety of physiological functions.
Vitamins: it improves the absorption of vitamin E, maintains the normal level of this vitamin in the blood. In addition, participates in the exchange of vitamin A.
Bones and teeth: Zinc helps to maintain the integrity of the teeth, it is in the structure and enzymes of bone tissue.
Leather: zinc is required for healthy skin, taking part in the local synthesis of proteins and hormones, binding vitamin A, accelerating wound healing and tissue regeneration, removing inflammatory processes.
Cell division and growth: zinc plays a major role in DNA production and cell division, contributes to the stabilization of the structure of RNA, DNA, and ribosomes. For this reason, it is required for the growth and regeneration of bones, tissues, hair and nails.
Gestation period: the amount of zinc in the mother’s body determines the proper formation of the lips and palate, eyes, brain, bones, heart, lungs, organs of the genitourinary system in the child, in addition, affects the preservation of the full period of pregnancy.
Brain and nervous system: Zinc is required for the formation of transmitter-mediators. It is assumed that a metabolic zinc can trigger Alzheimer’s disease.
Liver: zinc contributes to the normal functioning of the liver and the release of vitamin A.
Other functions: the microelement is required for the full realization of the organs of perception, supporting the taste and olfactory receptors, sharpening the eyesight, being the predominant mineral substance in the structure of the eye.
Zinc effectively copes with alcohol intoxication. Its deficiency may increase, especially in children and adolescents, a predisposition to alcoholism.
Zinc is involved in the development of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, in the process of converting fatty acids to prostaglandins (prostaglandins), which regulate the pulse rate, blood pressure and the work of skin fat glands. It also influences the process of muscle contraction, helps to maintain acid-base balance.
Interaction with copper: A number of functions of copper and zinc are interrelated (they take part in the work of the enzyme superoxide dismutase), for this reason a balance is important, which affects the level of fat-containing proteins (lipoproteins) in the blood.
Daily zinc standard in the diet – 15 – 25 mg. During pregnancy due to the indispensability of zinc for the normal development and growth of the child, the need for it increases and amounts to 100 mg during the entire period of pregnancy, or an additional dose of 0.6 mg per day. Zinc deficiency in the mother will entail prolonged, premature birth, atonic bleeding (occur in the postpartum and in the first hours of the postpartum period as a result of the complete inability of the uterine muscles to reduce).
Zinc in food:
- Meat, poultry: geese, pork, chicken, beef liver.
- Cheese, milk, eggs.
- Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower.
- Fish (herring), seafood (shrimp, oysters).
- Cereals: whole grain products, bran, germ parts of grain, oatmeal, buckwheat. In the process of grinding wheat, 80% is actually lost.
- Vegetables: potatoes, cabbage, beets, carrots.
- Fruits: apples, pear, plum, cherry.
Lack of zinc
Lack of zinc in the body (more details in a separate article) subdivided into three forms: subacute, acute and chronic.
Explicit zinc deficiency recorded with congenital enteropathic acrodermatitis.
The reasons zinc deficiency:
- Postoperative conditions, parenteral nutrition, various types of burns.
- Excessive intake of estrogen, corticosteroid drugs, diuretics and a number of other drugs.
- Excess amounts of lead, mercury, cadmium, copper.
- Abuse of alcoholic beverages.
- High consumption of zinc during pregnancy and lactation, recovery and healing of wounds, with intense sweating and chronic gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Disruption of the absorption of microelements in the intestine as a result of dysbiosis, fermentopathy and other pathological conditions.
- The presence of intestinal parasites (worm infestations).
- Seborrhea, psoriasis.
- Vegetarianism due to the consumption of a significant amount of phytate (soy proteins contain zinc in a less accessible form due to the presence of phytic acid) increases the likelihood of the development of zinc deficiency.
Diseases related to zinc deficiency
Pathologies of the digestive tract (short bowel syndrome, sprue, Crohn’s disease, gastric bypass anatomosis) cause a decrease in zinc absorption due to a violation of the enteropancreatic circulation.
The presence of alcoholic cirrhosis often causes the development of hyperzincuria (release of zinc from damaged cells), hypo-zincia (zinc deficiency) and a decrease in zinc levels in the liver.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency:
- Fatigue, nervousness, memory loss, sleep disorders.
- Increased propensity to alcoholism.
- Decreased visual acuity.
- Loss of taste, sense of smell, the occurrence of ulcers in the mouth.
- Loss of appetite, weight loss.
- Skin diseases: poor wound healing, acne, furunculosis, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, scaly skin rash, trophic ulcers.
- Lesions of the nails: exfoliation, the appearance of white spots.
- Hair lesions usually follow dermatitis: dull color, dandruff, slower growth process, hair loss. A characteristic feature is focal alopecia.
- Reducing the amount of insulin, increasing the likelihood of developing diabetes.
- Slow growth, hypogonadism, delayed puberty in children, especially boys. Decrease in sexual activity, impotence development.
- Increase the likelihood of prostate adenoma.
- Premature birth, the birth of children with poor health, female infertility.
- Reduction of the immune system, resistance to infections, the occurrence of frequent and prolonged colds, allergic pathologies.
- Increase the likelihood of neoplasm development.
- Premature aging.
- The concentration in the body of lead, iron, cadmium, copper.
Excess zinc in the body
A dose of zinc in excess of 200 mg per day is an emetic.
Prolonged use of zinc supplements in excess of 150 mg per day causes deterioration of the immune system and the appearance of erosions in the stomach.
Among the signs of acute zinc poisoning were noted: pain in the epigastric region, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea. Chronic intoxication led to secondary copper deficiency.
The reasons excess zinc in the body:
- Excessive intake of zinc in the body, for example, in the process of contact with the trace element compounds under production conditions.
- Uncontrolled intake of zinc preparations, including zinc ointment.
- Violations of zinc metabolism.
Symptoms zinc excess:
- Reduced immune system, the development of autoimmune reactions.
- Pathological conditions of nails, skin, hair.
- Stomach pains, nausea.
- Reducing the level of cadmium, copper, iron in the body.
- Disorders of the liver, pancreas, prostate.