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Originally published April 22 2009

Zinc is the Essential Mineral for Optimum Health

by Sheryl Walters

(NaturalNews) We are constantly being told that to keep our bodies in tip top condition we need to take vitamin supplements, whether it be Vitamin C to help fight colds and to boost the immune system, Vitamin B for increased energy or spirulina for an all round blast of nutrients. But recent studies have shown that zinc is the one mineral that many of us lack and the one that none of us can afford to be without.

Zinc and the cold virus

It has long been recognized that Zinc is essential to all living things in maintaining healthy skin, bones, teeth and even brain function. It is thought that teenagers with acne problems are actually suffering from a Zinc deficiency, with many experts now prescribing Zinc supplements for severe cases. But maintaining healthy hair and skin is not the only thing that Zinc is good for. Zinc is fast gaining the same reputation as Vitamin C for fighting cold and flu like symptoms. This is mainly due to a 2002 study conducted at an American High School. Students were given Zinc lozenges to see if there was a reduction in the number of reported cases of cold and flu viruses. The results were published in a 2002 issue of the American Journal of Therapeutics and showed a massive 62% drop in reports of cold like symptoms and an increase in student attendance. While this seems to prove that Zinc has great preventative measures and helps build the immune system, other studies have shown that taking Zinc while you have a cold can reduce the duration of the symptoms from an average of nine days to an average of 3. "Zinc is a great tool in the battle against colds," says Dr Phillip Melville.

Zinc and diabetes

Diabetes is caused by a malfunction of the insulin producing pancreas and can lead to complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney disease. While the only real tool for fighting diabetes is maintaining a healthy lifestyle, a study conducted at Harvard University seems to show that taking Zinc may stimulate the pancreas therefore helping control diabetes. Dr Robert Young Director of Research at the pH Miracle Living Center says, "The mineral zinc can reduce dietary and metabolic acid supporting the pancreas and its insulin producing beta cells and protect the alkaline environment of the small intestine, responsible for the creation of stem cells, erythroblasts and erythrocytes." While this sounds like great news for all diabetes sufferers it is important to note that these studies are still in their early stages.

Zinc and pregnancy

Zinc is an essential element for repair, production and functioning of DNA. It is because of this that it is vitally important that men and women get enough Zinc while trying to conceive as it promotes the production of healthy sperm and eggs. It also means that women need to increase their Zinc intake by around 2 mg throughout their pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This will help ensure that the fetus develops properly and that the breast milk is full of nutrients.


One of the most potent sources of Zinc can be found in oysters. Just six medium sized oysters can contain nearly 80mg, which is well over the 15mg daily allowance recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But if like many people you can`t stomach oysters, there are many other foods that you can include in your diet to gain the Zinc your body needs. Breakfast cereals can contain up to 25% of your daily Zinc allowance. Other foods with good Zinc amounts include baked beans, cashew nuts, cheese and kidney beans making it easy to get all the Zinc you need without having to take supplements.

About the author

Sheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner.
Her website provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.

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