What Are The Benefits Of Zinc?
Most of us are familiar with minerals like calcium, magnesium, and maybe even potassium, but what about zinc? Zinc is a trace mineral, meaning the body only needs it in small amounts, yet it is still essential for more than 300 enzymes to carry out vital biochemical reactions.
What does this small-but-mighty mineral do? And where can it be found? We’ll go over everything you need to know about zinc, including how to find the right zinc supplement for you.
Let’s get into it.
What does zinc do in the body?
Zinc is essential for many bodily functions. It is a major player in the creation of DNA, growth of cells, building proteins, and supporting the immune system. Because of its role in helping cells to grow and multiply, adequate zinc is important during times of rapid growth, such as childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.
Zinc and the immune system
Zinc plays a significant role in many aspects of the immune system. It helps the growth and function of cells in your innate immune system, including T and B cells, which help your body protect against foreign substances (antigens).
Zinc and skin health
Your body needs zinc to synthesize new collagen.* Collagen is a structural protein that forms the basis for healthy and vibrant skin. Healthy skin contributes to immune function as the skin serves as the body’s first line of defense.
Foods rich in zinc
Thankfully, incorporating zinc in your diet is easy as many foods contain zinc. Meats, poultry, and seafoods are the best sources of zinc, but zinc can also be found in some plant foods like legumes and whole grains. However, these foods also often contain phytates that can bind to the mineral, lowering its absorption. If you do not get enough zinc through your diet, taking a supplement is an easy and effective way to ensure you’re not missing out on the nutrients you need.
Zinc citrate…zinc picolinate…chelated zinc…what’s the difference?
Perhaps you’ve decided to try a zinc supplement, but when you’ve stood in the supplement aisle you’ve realised…there’s so many options! Indeed, there are many forms of this trace mineral, and it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you.
Let’s look at the difference between chelated zinc, zinc citrate, and zinc picolinate.
“Chelation” of minerals simply refers to a mineral being organically bonded to an amino acid. These amino acid chelates can help facilitate solubility and optimal absorption, and are gentle on the stomach. Solgar® offers a chelated zinc that is bound to amino acid glycine.
Solgar® Chelated Zinc contributes to healthy skin, can function as an antioxidant, and supports a healthy immune system. The chelated form offers optimal absorption, and is vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
Zinc picolinate is made when the trace mineral zinc is bound to the organic acid, picolinic acid. Picolinic acid is a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan that is naturally made in the body. Zinc picolinate is a highly bioavailable form of zinc.
NOW® Zinc Picolinate combines 50 mg of zinc with picolinic acid. This formula is also vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
Zinc citrate is another version of zinc, this time derived from citric acid.
Zahler® Bioactive Zinc Citrate offers 50 mg of zinc per serving, and helps promote healthy skin, cell growth and DNA formation, and a healthy immune system. Like chelated zinc and zinc picolinate, it is vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
Bonus: Zinc lozenges
Zahler® Zinc Lozenges are a tasty way to get your daily dose of zinc. With a great-tasting elderberry flavour, these chewable lozenges offer 25 mg of zinc immune support per serving, and are vegan and gluten-free.
Summing it up
From immune support to skin health, zinc plays an essential role in many bodily functions. Foods such as shellfish, beef, poultry, legumes, and whole grains are excellent sources of zinc, and zinc supplements also offer readily available zinc benefits. No matter what form you take it in, don’t miss out on zinc’s many benefits!
Discover our full range of Zinc products here.