Effects of Zinc on the body

Zinc is an antioxidant associated with immune health and reduced inflammation in the body, but it has other less-known effects that you may find beneficial.

Zinc is essential to health, studies show
According to the National Institutes of Health, zinc is an essential trace element that can be found in every cell in the human body. Recent studies show that zinc deficiency affects about 12 percent of American youth and 45 percent of American adults, but there are options for getting extra zinc with supplements and through diet.

Studies have linked zinc with improved brain health, and according to the Gainesville Sun, researchers have also found that zinc may benefit the skin and improve behavioral problems in teens.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that while zinc is essential to health, too much can prove harmful and may lead to copper deficiency. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of zinc is 12 milligrams/day for women and 15 mg/day for men.

Foods with zinc
Zinc is found in common foods like beans, nuts and whole grains, as well as some shellfish. The mineral is hard to metabolize from vegetables and grains, so if you don't eat seafood you may want to look into supplements.

The National Institutes of Health notes that zinc also supports proper growth during pregnancy, early childhood and adolescence, and is necessary for testosterone production.

Zinc deficiency
Zinc deficiency may lead to several health problems. Common symptoms include rashes, loss of appetite, depression, hair loss and night blindness. Because the mineral is essential to immune health, low levels of zinc may also make you more susceptible to colds and viruses.

According to research published in Molecular Medicine, zinc can be particularly effective at reducing inflammation and decreasing oxidative stress on cells. Lowering inflammation in the body can have huge health benefits, and according to the study, oxidative stress is a contributing factor in several health conditions. To ensure you have your daily allowance of zinc, eat the right foods and take the proper supplements when appropriate.