7 Health Benefits of Zinc



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Zinc is a trace mineral, so we need only small amounts—but it plays a big role in our health. It’s estimated that zinc binds with more than 3,000 different proteins in the human body, and influences many of our internal processes.

1. A Healthy Immune System

“Zinc is a critical factor for the functioning of many cellular processes, and loss of zinc in the cell leads to various problems, especially in your immune cells,” says Emily Ho, PhD, a leading zinc researcher at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

In early attempts to find a treatment for COVID-19, the addition of high-dose zinc supplements to a drug cocktail has shown some success. But this doesn’t mean that zinc alone is a treatment for the virus. Rather, adequate zinc helps your immune system ward off or fight all types of infections. “It’s important to make sure you get enough zinc,” says Ho.

Related: 31-Day Immune Health Challenge

She favors getting the mineral from protein-rich foods. “If you do take zinc supplements,” she says, “we don’t recommend high doses—take near the RDA level, 10–15mg.” The recommended upper limit for zinc is 40mg per day. “At higher doses,” adds Ho, “It will cause problems with copper and iron.”


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