Zinc is an essential trace mineral naturally present in various food sources and is technically classified as a metal. It is present in nearly all bodily tissues and fluids. A healthy, varied diet will normally provide all the zinc the average body needs to assist 300 enzymes to function properly in terms of cell reproduction, immunity, wound repair and vision.

Stunted growth and slow wound healing are two issues most commonly associated with having insufficient zinc in the human body. It is also believed that zinc is a viable option for giving the body’s immune system a boost. Some medical professionals will mention zinc with recurring ear infections and in treatment strategies with the common cold. Savvy label readers will consistently see zinc prominently listed in many over-the-counter cold remedies and cold lozenges packaging.

Other treatments associated with zinc are the prevention of lower respiratory infections, macular degeneration, cataracts and treating attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People who are notably physically active or have active lifestyles also may focus on their zinc intake as some believe it is a key component with regard to athletic performance and strength.

Compared per serving, oysters are believed to contain more zinc than any other food. Because of availability and/or culinary preference, poultry and red meats typically provide the majority of zinc in most North American diets. Certain seafoods – like lobster and crab – beans, nuts and fortified breakfast cereals are also notable zinc sources.

Daily consumption recommendations of zinc will vary, due to a person’s age and lifestyle. Hypozincemia is the term for the body’s lack of zinc being available. Reasons for a zinc deficiency might be due to an issue with either the body’s zinc absorption ability or on account of a very strict vegetarian or low-protein diet. Because it may be harder for the human body to acquire zinc via vegetable food sources than from various meat sources, people with predominantly plant-based diets may want to talk to their health care provider about a zinc supplement.

Some experts believe that approximately 30% of zinc that is consumed is actually absorbed. Because most of mineral absorption occurs in the small intestine, celiac disease and other conditions may prevent adequate zinc and other various nutrients from being absorbed properly by the body. Specific other nutrients may have a negative impact on the absorption of zinc, as well. Supplemental iron and copper, for example, can impede the intestine’s ability to take in the zinc amounts in needs.

Injections of zinc can be administered with a health care professional’s prescription and supervision. Many other forms of zinc, however, are available without a prescription. Special formulations of zinc sprays are designed to be misted in nostrils as a common cold treatment. Blends of zinc sulfate can be found in eye irritation products. Toothpastes and mouthwashes designed to ward off gingivitis and dental plague may contain zinc citrate. Zinc is a component included in many over-the-counter daily mineral and vitamin supplements and can usually be obtained easily for those desiring a dietary zinc supplement.

Please Note that many zinc supplements or products may also feature a substance called cadium. Cadmium is also a metal and is chemically similar to zinc – causing the two minerals to often occur together. It’s worthy of note that some medical researches believe exposure to high levels of cadmium over a long duration may cause kidney failure. As a result, some doctors may recommend those wanting to add zinc products into their diets consider zinc-gluconate options as these choices typically hold lower cadmium levels.

Author's Bio: 

Holly Avens writes for Discount Remedies Inc where you can find herbal supplements. We carry a full line of vitamins, herbs, and minerals like zinc supplements.