Should You Be Taking Zinc Tablets?

Zinc – a metallic element – occurs naturally in dairy foods, nuts, beans, red meat and many types of seafood. It plays an important role in normal cell growth and repair. Most people get enough zinc in their diet, although in some circumstances supplementation with zinc tablets may be necessary. Would you benefit from taking additional zinc tablets? Let’s find out.

Symptoms Of Zinc Deficiency

Maintaining a healthy level of zinc is important for your immune system and your ability to heal, as well as sustaining a healthy thyroid and circulatory system. It is also present in large quantities in the eye, leading many experts to link zinc intake with healthy eyesight.

Zinc isn’t a mineral people think too closely about. It simply does its job and isn’t missed until a person is faced with a zinc deficiency. Unfortunately, zinc deficiencies are not uncommon, and are linked to several undesirable conditions:

  • The symptoms of minor zinc deficiency range from lowered appetite, irritability, slowed growth rates, poor skin condition, nausea, diarrhoea and a reduced sense of smell.
  • Moderate zinc deficiency can lead to a suppressed immune system, hair loss, intestinal disorders (due to poor absorption), weight loss, and kidney problems.
  • Severe zinc deficiencies can lead to sight problems, infertility, type II diabetes and depression.

Severe zinc deficiency is not a serious concern for most people in the UK (although it is in parts of the developing world). However, minor deficiency is increasing due to our dependence on overly processed foods. As with many vitamins and minerals, zinc content is compromised by food processing. To achieve the optimum zinc level, we recommend including as much fresh food in your diet as possible.

Potential Benefits Of Zinc Tablets

If zinc deficiency can cause or exacerbate immune deficiency, diabetes, depression and other conditions, can zinc supplementation have a positive effect on these disorders? If they are directly caused by a zinc deficiency then the answer is undoubtedly yes, but zinc tablets may also have therapeutic value for these conditions even if a deficiency is not present.

In particular, the anti-viral properties of zinc can give your immune system a valuable boost over the winter months, reducing the risk of infection by the common cold and shortening your time of illness.

Zinc treatments are commonly used for the following conditions:

  • Zinc sulphate or citrate topical creams for acne, herpes and minor skin infections.
  • In toothpaste to counteract gum disease and encourage healthy gums.
  • Zinc sulphate often appears in eye drops for allergies and conjunctivitis.
  • As a health supplement tablet, athletes take zinc to counteract muscle cramps and arthritic symptoms, as well as the health and fitness benefits of improved kidney function.

Cadmium Caution

Zinc is closely associated with the metal cadmium, with which it is normally found in natural sources. Unlike zinc, cadmium has no known health benefits and in high concentrations is actually linked to kidney disorders. Some zinc supplements contain correspondingly high levels of cadmium: please check the health and nutrition information of any supplement before purchase, and always buy from a high quality source.

Buying Zinc Supplements

At Hellenia our zinc supplements are extracted from naturally occurring shellfish, milk, soy and nut products and contain high purity zinc citrate at least 30% concentration. Our 15 mg zinc tablets are recommended for anyone interested in exploring the health benefits of zinc. Each tablet contains 150% of the daily nutritionally recommended value (NRV), sustaining healthy functions and giving access to many of the reported therapeutic benefits. Zinc can also be found in our enhanced 200 µg selenium supplements, which contain added zinc alongside vitamins A, C and E.