Zinc is an essential trace element that the body cannot produce itself and we therefore rely on an adequate intake through food or through dietary supplements are dependent. Our organism only needs small amounts of zinc every day, but the element is indispensable for the metabolism.
Zinc has vital functions in the body
Zinc has vital functions in the human body because it is a component of more than 300 enzymes and numerous hormones. Without the trace element, many biochemical processes in the body could not take place.
Zinc plays a role in the fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism and is in cell division , wound healing , reproduction and involved in the immune system . It’s important for your hair, nails, and skin. The trace element is also a antioxidant , which makes free radicals harmless.
The symptoms of a zinc deficiency can therefore express themselves in different ways: It can lead to poor wound healing, hair loss, brittle nails, a Weakening of the immune system as well as growth and fertility disorders occur. A sufficient supply of zinc is particularly important in childhood and adolescence.
A zinc supplement has a positive effect on skin diseases, liver cirrhosis, diabetes, inflammation of the gastric and intestinal mucosa.
How much zinc should you take in daily?
Since last year, the German Nutrition Society (DGE) has stated that the recommended intake for adults depends on the Amount of phytate uptake is specified. Because a high phytate intake can reduce the bioavailability of zinc by up to 45%.
A brief digression: Phytate is a chemical form of phytic acid that is used by plants as a storage form for phosphorus and binds various minerals. The phytic acid forms insoluble compounds with zinc, so that it can no longer be absorbed by the body.
The recommended intake for adult women with low, medium or high phytate intake is 7 mg, 8 mg and 10 mg, respectively per day. In men, the values are 11 mg, 14 mg and 16 mg zinc per day. Put simply: the more phytate you take in, the more zinc you need!
The zinc intake of pregnant and breastfeeding women is higher than that of adult women.
What happens if you have too much zinc ingestion?
An oversupply through food is hardly possible, since excess zinc is primarily excreted with the stool. However, if you take very high doses of food supplements, gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting can occur. If too much of the trace element is absorbed over a longer period of time, iron and copper absorption can be inhibited and anemia can result.
A long-term intake of 25 mg zinc per day According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, it is considered completely harmless . You can get our zinc tablets here .
As a vegan / vegetarian you are adequately supplied
If you look at the zinc content of various foods, you will notice that plant foods often contain just as much zinc as animal foods. Good vegetable zinc suppliers are, for example, nuts, e.g. B. Cashew nuts and almonds, whole grains, legumes and seeds. The zinc content of whole grain products is mainly dependent on the degree of grinding of the grain products, as the trace element occurs particularly in the outer layers of the grain.
However, plant foods contain a high content of the phytic acid mentioned above, which hinders the uptake of zinc. Polyphenols (in tea, coffee and cocoa) and high-dose iron supplements should also not be taken at the same time as zinc-containing meals, in order not to inhibit zinc absorption. Medicines such as laxatives, proton pump inhibitors and cytostatics also have an inhibiting effect on zinc absorption.
Using preparation methods such as soaking, germination, roasting or fermentation , the phytic acid can be greatly reduced and thus the bioavailability increased by zinc. A simultaneous intake of amino acids (especially histidine, methionine and cysteine) as well as organic acids such as lemon, malic and lactic acid can increase the absorption of the element.
In general, a vegan diet – with a balanced composition of foods – provides enough zinc. You should make sure that substances that inhibit absorption are reduced and substances that promote absorption are increased. Pregnant and breastfeeding women in particular should ensure that they have an adequate supply of zinc. If you want, you can optimize your zinc intake through supplements .
Zinc and sport
It is known that athletes in particular have an increased need in zinc, as the trace element is increasingly excreted through exercise through sweat or urine. The loss through sweat or urine can be up to three times that of non-active people. In addition, the low zinc stores in the body are quickly used up during strenuous exercise. Therefore, a sufficient supply of zinc is essential, especially for athletes.
Although the trace element has no direct influence on testosterone production, it can accelerate the regeneration of muscles and the body . Since zinc also has positive effects on the immune system, athletes benefit from supplementation. Physical activity increases the exposure to free radicals. This happens because more oxygen has to be taken in and burned again. If there is a high concentration of free radicals, these can damage the cells. Zinc protects the muscle membranes from free radicals and can thus prevent muscle injuries . Because especially for athletes it is important that the immune system works and that an injury or illness does not destroy the success of the training.
For athletes, supplementation has the advantage that colds, sore muscles and micro-injuries in Tissues are better prevented .