What are the Benefits of Zinc? Guide From a Naturopathic Doctor

At Essence Medical Center, we help patients achieve better health through integrative, holistic means. Part of that is finding deficiencies in our patients’ diets, or identifying too much of a particular vitamin and mineral. Many symptoms and sources of inflammation can be improved this way. For more information about zinc and how it can help you, please keep reading. And if you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lima, the leading naturopathic doctor in Chandler, please give us a call.

What is Zinc?

Zinc, an essential chemical trace element, is found in sphalerite within the earth’s crust. It is second only to iron as being the most prevalent metal in living beings (see this study by Roohani, Hurrell, and Schulin). We can also make zinc through hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy, and zinc is commonly used in the process of battery and galvanized steel manufacturing. To be healthy, you do need the right amount of zinc in your system.

what are the benefits of zinc

What are the Benefits of Zinc For the Human Body?

Zinc is responsible for many chemical reactions in our body. It helps create DNA, protein, and heal damaged tissue. It helps your body fight against bacteria and viruses (immune function) and is important for proper senses of taste and smell. It has even been used as part of therapy in patients with COVID-19. Zinc can be found in seafood like oysters, crab, lobsters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Zinc is an especially important mineral for men in regards to fertility.

How Does Zinc Help With Male Fertility?

Generally speaking, zinc is a critical component of testosterone production. Without adequate levels of testosterone, male fertility will suffer. According to Ali Fallah in his 2018 study, zinc helps with spermatogenesis, may maintain the lining of reproductive organs, can act in an antibacterial manner within the urea system, and helps with quality and concentration of sperm.

How Does Zinc Help Your Immune System?

Firstly, zinc helps the body develop neutrophils and natural infection-killing cells – these fight off cells that may cause health issues in your body. Zinc also enhances your body’s immune response by increasing the activity of your T lymphocytes (key defenders against infected cells. In one study, mice that experienced zinc deficiency for 30 days showed up to 80% less immune defense than mice with healthy zinc levels. In short, if you want a healthy immune response to disease, you need zinc. For more information, read the following study by P. J. Fraker: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10801951/.

How is Zinc Important in DNA Synthesis?

Many of the enzymes involved in DNA synthesis and repair need zinc to function. DNA polymerase is just one example; it helps with DNA replication, which is the process through which DNA is copied into another cell (especially important during embryonic development). Zinc Finger Proteins (ZNFs) also need zinc, obviously, and they help with many cellular processes and help with tissue development, among other things. Read this study by Renty B. Franklin for more information.

What Happens When You Have Too Much Zinc?

Too much zinc can slow spermatogenesis, lead to sperm abnormalities, lower your body’s immune response, interact poorly with copper, and more.

As far as fertility is concerned, deficiencies in zinc slow spermatogenesis (production of sperm), allow for abnormalities of the sperm, and have a negative effect on testosterone concentration. Although it serves many purposes in our body, zinc can be harmful when taken in irregularly large doses. 

Zinc works cohesively with copper, another mineral in our body, and when taken in inappropriate dosing, could displace copper. Lack of proper copper levels can lead to anemia, reduced white blood cells, and even neurological disorders.

Some patients with too much zinc in their systems may also experience thyroid dysfunction (leading to weight gain and fatigue), among other hormonal problems. Kidney and liver damage may occur in the most dramatic cases. Zinc in excessive amounts could also lower your immunity and HDL levels (the good cholesterol).

This is not an exhaustive list of the side effects associated with too much zinc, so please consult your doctor if you think this might be an issue.

How To Get the Right Amounts of Zinc

A well balanced diet is the easiest way to ensure a decent zinc intake, but a supplementation is also an option either through capsules or IV. Beef and lamb have strong amounts of zinc and shellfish (as allergies allow) are another popular source. Lentils and beans, nuts, egg yolks, and yogurt are a few other options. You don’t need large quantities of these foods to consume adequate amounts of zinc. 

Whether you wish to consume more zinc naturally or through supplementation, a qualified doctor or medically supervised weight loss clinic in Chandler can help you create a diet that contains the proper amounts of zinc. Contact our office to learn more about ways you can ensure your zinc levels are appropriate for your health needs.In addition to nutritional counseling and other health services, Essence Medical Center provides acupuncture in Chandler, esthetician services in Chandler, and more. Please get in touch to set up your appointment.

Dr Paula Lima Naturopath Chandler

Dr. Paula Lima, NMD

Dr. Paula Lima’s expertise is treating patients with hormonal imbalances, weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid disease, and regenerative injections. During her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, camping, and enjoying time with friends and family.