How Do I Take Zinc Supplements?
Nutrition supplements continue to dominate the health and wellness industry. The demand for vitamins and other dietary supplements continues to grow in the U.S. despite debates about health benefits, traceability, purity and efficacy.
One of these is Zinc, which is an essential trace element that is required in small amounts for human health. Zinc is used in many areas for the treatment of stunted growth, the promotion of wound healing, prevention of the common cold, boosting of the immune system and the relief of severe diarrhea in children.
What the Science Says about Zinc Supplements
Obesity has been the public health challenge of our time. Caused by the increase in the size and amount of fat cells in the body, obesity is a serious medical condition. In recent trends, obesity now exceeds 35 percent in five states (AR, LA, MS, LA, WV), 30 percent in 25 states, and 25 percent in 46 states.
A study aimed to assess and discuss the effects of zinc supplements on body measurements like body mass index (BMI), weight, and waist circumference, as well as glucose level, and lipid profile. One month of zinc supplementation (30 milligrams/day) in obese males and females resulted in a significant reduction in weight and BMI.
Depression is a medical illness that negatively affects the way you feel, think, and act. Depression is listed as the leading cause of disability in the United States among people ages 15-44.
A study of 44 patients with severe depression were assigned to two groups, 1) subjects were given 25 milligrams of zinc daily with antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) 2) subjects received a placebo with antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) for 12 weeks. The subjects’ depression was rated using a scoring-scale system known as Beck’s Depression Inventory. The results of the study indicated that zinc supplementation with SSRI’s improved severe depressive disorders compared to subjects in the placebo group.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system by destroying white blood cells that are essential for fighting infection. According to HIV.gov, more than 1.1 million people living in the U.S. are HIV positive. However, one in seven people are not aware that they have the virus. According to the same website, the estimated number of annual HIV infections has declined by 18 percent from 2008 to 2014.
Zinc deficiency results in more than 50 percent of HIV-infected adults. A study published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases Society of America involved 231 adult participants supplemented with 12 milligrams or 15 milligrams for 18 months depending on identification as female or male, respectively. The results of the study found that supplementation of zinc reduced immunity failure and the rate of diarrhea over time.
Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, can cause severe complications including death. According to WHO, it is estimated that at least 1 million deaths occur each year from malaria, predominantly among pregnant women and young children. Prior to eventual death, impaired growth, chronic anemia (low iron levels), and delayed development are among the devastating outcomes seen in children with malaria.
According to a study published in the Nutrition Journal, a combination of vitamin A and Zinc supplements provided to children aged 6-24 months resulted in 27 percent reduced severity of infection compared to children who were administered vitamin A alone.
The Common Cold
The common cold is a viral infectious disease that affects the upper respiratory tract and causes a runny nose, scratchy throat, and sneezing. It is a leading cause of hospital visits and accounts for 20 million days of absence from school and 22 million days from work.
Zinc has been shown to block the common cold virus from replicating and has been tested in numerous trials. A review of 1781 subjects of all age groups compared to subjects who were administered the placebo were found to have significant reduction in the duration of the common cold when taken within 24 hours.
Zinc lozenges were found to reduce the duration of the common cold when taken at a dose of greater than 75 milligrams/day. However, no definitive recommendation can be made for zinc supplements due to insufficient research.
Recommended Intakes and Dietary Sources of Zinc
The recommended intake for nutrients including zinc is developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. According to the National Institutes of Health, the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) refer to a set of values used to plan and assess nutrient intake in healthy people and can vary by age and gender.
- Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) refers to the average daily level of intake required to meet nutrient requirements for healthy people.
- Adequate Intake (AI) is established when insufficient scientific evidence is available to determine an RDA.
- Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the maximum daily intake level resulting in no adverse health effects. As the UL is exceeded, the risk for abnormal health effects increases.
Current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Zinc
Help boost your immunity by incorporating dietary sources of zinc such as lean meat, seafood (lobster and Alaska king crab), beans, dairy products (swiss cheese, yogurt, and milk), fortified cereals, seeds, and nuts (cashews and almonds). Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food.
High intake of zinc supplements can lead to copper deficiency, an increased risk of urinary tract infections, fever, coughing, and fatigue. Therefore, it is recommended that supplementation of zinc does not exceed 40 milligrams daily. If you are considering a zinc supplement it is best to consult a physician or registered dietitian.
If you are interested to hear more and receive personalized nutrition, check out STYR’s app, fitness tracker and suite of connected smart devices. Through the platform, you can track and log activity, food, hydration, sleep, nutrition, mood and more to personalize your nutrition needs based on data, science and access to registered dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers.
Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We insist that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical/health condition or treatment and before initiating a new health care regime. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the STYR app or on www.MyNutritioniQ.com.