Zinc Benefits, Deficiency, Zinc Gluconate for Colds
Zinc, an essential component of genetic material, is vital for the body and can actually be found in nearly every one of the body's cells. It contributes to an effective immune system and the efficient healing of wounds. In pregnancy, zinc works to maintain the growth and development of the fetus. It continues to support growth and development throughout childhood and the teenage years. In addition, it plays an important role in reproductions since it is necessary both for the development of sperm in men and for ovulation ovulation and fertilization in women.
Zinc deficiency presents itself in a lack of growth, loss of hair, diarrhea, postponed sexual development, impotence (in men) and appetite reduction. Other symptoms include weight loss, inefficient wound healing and mental slowness. It is worth noting that the symptoms of zinc deficiency can also indicate other medical problems. With this in mind, medical advice should be sought before dramatically increasing zinc intake.
Those that are at increased risk of zinc deficiency include those who do not consume an adequate intake of calories, alcoholics, and those who suffer from digestive disorders. Vegetarians can require 50% more zinc than those who aren't vegetarians. This is because less zinc is absorbed from plant foods. Pregnant women, mothers that are breastfeeding and young children should ensure sufficient zinc is consumed.
Several factors can affect zinc absorption. Diarrhea reduces the amount of zinc in the body. Between 30 and 50 % of alcoholics are lacking in zinc, as alcohol decreases zinc absorption. Large iron supplements, taken by those who suffer by iron-deficiency anemia may affect zinc absorption too. In addition, zinc is excreted through urine and feces (via the liver and intestines), and sometimes it is also lost through sweat.
Oral lozenges which are fortified with zinc gluconate are thought to be able to reduce the length of the common cold. Taking 15 mg of zinc per day may work to prevent colds. This is the amount contained in most multivitamin supplements. Zinc can block copper absorption, so copper supplements are also a good idea.
When cold viruses strike, 15-25 mg of zinc every four hours may be effective in fighting the virus. This should be discontinued as soon as the cold has disappeared. Zinc should not be taken on an empty stomach as it can cause sickness.
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