Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is crucial for the normal development and function of many immune cells and the immune system as a whole [i]. Mild zinc deficiencies cam severely impair the abilities of the immune system and can increase the risk of bacterial and viral infections [ii].
Oxidative stress can lead to a wide variety of diseases and conditions, it is important to protect our bodies from harmful free radicals. Zinc is able to reduce DNA breakage caused by oxidative stress in women [iii]. Additionally, zinc helps prevent skin cell death from free radical damage and bacterial toxins [iv].
Zinc helps build strong connective tissues; it benefits wound healing as it helps maintain structural integrity of the new skin [v]. Zinc also plays a role in the division of cells, which is the process of new skin growth [vi]. It has been shown through research that zinc deficiency has been linked to delayed wound healing and tissue repair [vii].
Zinc is a contributor to the immune system and has the ability to inhibit the hormones that stimulate inflammation. There is evidence that zinc suppresses inflammation by controlling the hormones that create inflammation [ix], leading to less pain, and improved function and mobility.
Studies have shown healthy zinc levels within the body can be associated with improved quality and duration of sleep [x]. Zinc has a sedative effect on the nervous system, and is well known for its restorative properties [xi]. Further, zinc has also shown efficacy in treating mood disorders such as anxiety and depression [xii] , and improving overall mood [xiii].
Zinc is beneficial to a wide variety of skin conditions; acne, warts, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff [xiv] [xv]. Zinc supplementation has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of symptoms of skin conditions. This is most likely due to zincs anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Build up of oral plaque can result in gum disease, bad breath, and poor dental health. Zinc deficiencies have been discovered to increase plaque formation and worsen oral inflammation associated with gum disease [xvi]. Studies have indicated that increased zinc intake can reduce plaque growth [xvii].
Studies have shown zinc deficiency is associated with a decline in thyroid function. Supplementation of zinc has shown favorable results in returning thyroid hormone levels in the blood to normal [xviii]. Zinc has also been shown to reverse damage to the thyroid [xix].
Research has shown that maternal zinc supplementation has lead to a reduction in premature births [xx] and protects unborn children from alcohol exposure [xxi]. In addition to this, mothers receiving zinc supplementation gave birth to children with healthier weights and larger head circumferences [xxii].
Zinc deficiency can lead to an increase in the production of the hormone leptin, [xxiii] and the inability for your brain to recognise normal levels of leptin (referred to leptin resistance). Leptin contributes to appetite regulation and weight control through the production of fat cells.