Zinc Benefits for a Healthy Immune System
Zinc is one of the most interesting of nutrients, and it has recently been studied for its possible role in preventing and shortening the duration of colds and other infections. While the results of those studies are somewhat inconclusive, zinc remains an important nutrient, and it does seem to have some positive effects on the immune system.
Dietary Sources of Zinc
Some of the richest food sources of zinc in the daily diet include meat, poultry and fish. In addition, smaller amounts of zinc can be found in other food such as eggs, seeds and grains. However, the zinc in these non-animal food sources is less readily absorbed than the zinc in meat and seafood. For this reason, those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are often advised to supplement their diet with a quality zinc supplement.
Recommended Daily Intake of Zinc
The recommended daily intake of zinc is 15mg.
Most zinc supplements are in the range of 30mg. In addition, zinc is included as part of the standard formulation of many multivitamins. Zinc combines well with magnesium, and with vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E and vitamin P.
Side Effects and Toxicity of Zinc
Short term zinc toxicity is quite rare, but taking high doses (one or two grams) daily for extended periods can be quite dangerous. High levels of zinc in the body can actually harm the immune system. In most cases people should not exceed 100mg of zinc per day.
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
Signs of zinc deficiency include an increase in the number and severity of infections, increased susceptibility to colds and allergies, problems with night vision, hair loss, insomnia, skin problems and low fertility.
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