The basis of zinc therapy lies in the fact that the mineral is necessary for normal cell division, tissue repair and renewal.
Zinc is also necessary for the metabolism of fatty acids into important substances which help regulate our skin health.
Men have a high concentration of zinc in their prostate gland, and many anecdotal reports indicate that benign enlargement of the prostate gland causing increased frequency of urination in middle aged men can be improved by consuming zinc supplements .
A very severe zinc deficiency leads to stunting and poor sexual development first noted in Egyptian males in the 1950s. Such drastically low levels of zinc are not seen in this country, but some groups, particularly young women between 16 and 24, do often have lower than desirable intakes and could therefore benefit from zinc supplements.
Zinc supplements have also been used as part of treatment programmes for anorexia nervosa victims. Observations have indicated that zinc deficiency could contribute to the anorexic condition by impairing the sense of taste and smell, and therefore the desire to eat.
Clinical studies have also found that zinc supplements (sucked as lozenges) have helped cold symptoms.
Choosing Zinc Supplements
Zinc can be taken as part of a multivitamin and mineral supplement, or separately. Multinutrient formulations contain a wide variety of levels - anything from 1mg-15mg. 5mg-10mg zinc daily is ideal for topping up the dietary level of this mineral, whereas zinc supplements containing 15mg are more likely to be taken for guarding against colds or to help in skin conditions.
Inorganic forms of zinc such as zinc sulphate, carbonate or zinc oxide may not be as well absorbed as organic forms such as zinc gluconate, citrate or zinc chelated with amino acids. Zinc picolinate is closely related to amino acid chelated zinc and may be particularly well absorbed. Check the labels on zinc supplements to see how the zinc appears. Also look for zinc in antioxidant formulations. You would expect to see 10mg-15mg in this type of product.
Zinc lozenges are available, often combined with vitamin C , and are of most use if you actually feel a cold or sore throat coming on. They have a local action, and are usually found is dosages of 3.5mg - 7mg per lozenge.
Buying Tips for Zinc Supplements
If you are buying zinc supplements for long term daily use, choose one that also contains a little copper. Copper is an essential mineral that can be depleted by prolonged zinc intake.
A full range of Zinc Supplements is available from Country Living Health Store, or online at www.healthstore.uk.com