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A Penny for Your…Health? The Importance of Zinc

May 27th, 2020

What does a penny have in common with your body? They both need zinc.

Ever since 1982, the US Mint has made pennies out of zinc (with a copper coating). Why? Because zinc is cheap. But it has big value with regard to your health. In fact, zinc is the second most common metal found in the human body and is critical to your well-being.

Here are just a few of the important functions zinc has within your body:

Zinc and Your Immune System

The COVID-19 pandemic has probably made you much more aware of the importance of your immune system. Zinc it turns out is critical for proper immune system function.

Specifically, your body needs zinc to activate immune cells called T-lymphocytes (or T cells). These are the backbone of what scientists call your “adaptive” or “acquired” immunity.

T-cells destroy infected cells. And zinc is responsible for signaling your immune system to produce more of these “hunter-killer” cells in response to infection.

Zinc and the Common Cold

Americans suffer from about 500 million colds each year. And they cost the economy nearly $50 billion dollars a year in lost productivity.

Meanwhile, there’s no vaccine to prevent colds, and there’s no cure. Traditional treatment for the common cold consists of easing symptoms (as much as possible) while the virus simply runs its course.

However, patients who begin taking zinc supplements or lozenges within a day of catching a cold recover 1-2 days faster on average and have less severe symptoms. There’s also research which suggests a daily zinc supplement might help prevent colds in the first place.

Zinc and Age-Related Conditions

As people get older, they become more susceptible to chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and even Alzheimer’s. Zinc is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory that regulates the production of inflammatory cytokines by your immune system. Zinc has also been shown to delay the effects of age-related macular degeneration and associated vision loss due to cell damage in the retina.

How Much Zinc Do You Need…and Where Should You Get It?

Foods rich in zinc include:

  • Oysters (14.1 mg/serving)
  • Lean beef, Baked beans, ground beef and crab (5-7 mg/serving)
  • Lobster, pork loin, almonds and cashews wild rice (2-4 mg/serving)
  • Peanuts, pecans, yogurt and peas (1-2 mg/serving)

However, it can be a challenge to get enough zinc from foods, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Zinc supplements can help to make up the difference. But you should not consume more than 40 mg of zinc per day.

Renew Youth can help to make sure you’re getting the right amount of zinc and other important vitamins, minerals and trace elements to achieve your best health and wellness.

Call us at 800-850-7511 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.

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