I am almost certain that most of you have heard of zinc, but how much do you really know about this trace element? Read on to learn what zinc can do for fibromyalgia and your overall health. Discover why nutrition experts are taking this during the pandemic. And finally, find out whether you need more and how you can get it in your diet!
What is Zinc?
Zinc is a mineral known as an “essential trace element” because a small amount of zinc is necessary for our overall health. Did you know that second only to iron, zinc is the most abundant trace mineral in your body? It is responsible for many functions in the human body and since we cannot store excess zinc, it must be consumed regularly as part of the diet.
Not only is zinc required for protein and DNA synthesis and wound healing, it is vital to the immune system and may even shorten the duration of colds that are caused by the rhinovirus and coronavirus. Remember, there are many different coronaviruses and up to six that can affect humans. This does not necessarily mean that zinc will be effective against COVID-19, but it still gives us hope.
Have There Been Studies on Zinc?
Yes! A review by the Cochrane Library published in 2013 identified 18 randomized controlled trials, which collectively enrolled 1781 participants of all age groups, comparing zinc with a placebo. They discovered that zinc in the form of lozenges or syrup reduced the average duration of the common cold in healthy people and it was less likely to persist beyond 7 days of treatment when taken within 24 hours of symptom onset.
A laboratory study in 2010 also showed that zinc inhibited the activity and replication of SARS-CoV, another type of coronavirus. Although more research is needed before we can determine for certain the effect zinc will have on COVID-19, we do know that zinc is an essential mineral that our bodies cannot produce on its own.
How Much Zinc Do We Need and How Can I Get It?
A lack of zinc can make a person more susceptible to disease and illness and can cause short stature, growth impediments or stunted growth in children, reduced ability to taste food, prolonged wound healing, increased susceptibility to infection, diarrhea, impotence, hair loss, eye and skin lesions and loss of appetite. Adequate zinc levels are especially important for women who are pregnant and lactating, in fact they may require extra zinc.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc in the United States is currently 8 milligrams (mg) a day for women and 11 mg a day for men. This element is found naturally in many different foods, including red meat, pork, poultry, fish, oysters, tofu, nuts, seeds, lentils, yogurt, oatmeal, and mushrooms. Zink can also be taken as a dietary supplement.
Although a zinc supplements may not be necessary for everyone for long term, it may be something to consider for a short time, if you develop cold or flu like symptoms. The bioavailability (the amount that your body can absorb and effectively utilize) of zinc is low, but may increase when taken with vitamin C, the two seem to work well together. Be sure to discuss this supplement, along with an appropriate dosage with you doctor first.
When looking for a zinc supplement, try to find one that is manufactured in Canada or the US, in an FDA approved facility. Look for supplements that are free from genetically modified ingredients (GMO’s) artificial chemicals and excess sugar. zinc supplements should also have an enteric coating to prevent the supplement from getting destroyed by stomach acids.
Is Zinc Beneficial for fibromyalgia?
Zinc has been shown to reduce inflammation and fibromyalgia is known as an inflammation disorder. Results of one study point to serum magnesium and zinc levels as playing an important role in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia also tend to have lower levels of zinc in their body and that zinc deficiency can reduce pain tolerance, making fibromyalgia more painful for these individuals. Numerous studies suggest that increasing zinc consumption can lessen the pain experienced by fibromyalgia suffers and possibly even treat the disorder.
Zinc can have a powerful and positive impact on everything from wound healing and the common cold to fibromyalgia and fertility issues. One thing is for certain, it is one of those minerals we simply cannot live without, if you suspect you may have a deficiency, ask your doctor if a supplement is right for you. If you have anything questions or comments about this post, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.
Thanks for visiting and take care!