What are the health benefits of zinc?

Zinc has become quite well known for its ability to boost your immune system; you may have even heard that Zinc can cure the common cold… While that might not be entirely true, no doubt there are a number of benefits that people are unaware of.

Zinc is required in every functional tissue in the body and having an even slight deficiency in zinc can have a great impact on your performance. It has even been said to be disastrous to have even a small deficiency.

Like magnesium, Zinc also has an intracellular effect. Hundreds of enzymes need zinc and these enzymes are used to support a number of different functions such as: fertility/ health, anti-oxidant status, insulin and blood glucose management, cardiovascular health and muscular strength. It has also been shown that ensuring the body gets enough zinc helps to support and increase testosterone production within men.


Research has shown that having a zinc deficit “rapidly diminishes” antibody and cell response. In addition, zinc supplements may reduce the impact of many diseases such as renal disease, chronic gastrointestinal disorders and sickle cell anaemia.

Research has shown that having a zinc deficit “rapidly diminishes” antibody and cell response.

Anada prasad (http://www.weahunter.com.au/doc/aoch/NUT3_Review_Zinc_and_Deficiency.pdf),who is a biochemist that specialises in the effect of zinc in the human body, has shown that making sure that the body has sufficient zinc levels can even help prevent certain cancers. So, who knows, possibly it could stop a common cold.

Other Benefits

Another benefit of Zinc is that it helps to keep your mental energy high. A study has shown that there is a link between having a zinc deficiency and depressive symptoms. Therefore, by supplementing with Zinc it is easier to focus and perform.

Zinc has also been shown to help promote the healthy function of insulin. A study conducted on Spanish school children has shown that the children who had a Zinc deficit were more likely to build up an insulin resistance, this is when cells fail to react to the hormone insulin. This in turn can possibly lead to diabetes.

You may be surprised to know that zinc deficiency is widespread and is common in the U.S and the UK. This is greatly due to the diet of the populations as they consume a large amount of grains and cereals which is low in zinc. Therefore, it is important to either use a zinc supplement or ensure you are acquiring enough zinc through your diet. However what foods contain zinc?

What Zinc Supplements/Foods Should I Eat?

There are a number of dietary sources of zinc that you can eat in order to get your necessary zinc such as mussels, oysters, crabs, red meat, lobster eggs and liver. If you are a vegetarian foods such as wholegrains, nuts and legumes are a good choice but it is much more difficult for the body to absorb from these sources.

Related: should you take zinc on an empty stomach?
zinc foods vegan