But do we get enough in our diets? The problem with Western food is this: although we get plenty of calories, those calories tend to be devoid of nutrients that our bodies need to operate optimally. We may get enough energy, but we often miss out on the very constituents of the diet we need to stay healthy.
In our evolutionary history, we ate whole food out of the ground with some game meat thrown in for good measure. There were no cookies, cakes, ice cream, sugary candies or processed meats, devoid of nutrition, to take up the bulk of our energy needs. Practically everything we ate was a rich source of micronutrients, including zinc.
Today, though, many people don’t get enough zinc. Zinc is a wonder mineral with many positives effects on male health and its a prime ingredient in our C Supplement. Most of us need more zinc to be at our best and to deliver its many health benefits.
So what are the benefits of zinc for men’s health? Let’s take a look.
Science suggests that the levels of zinc in your body could modulate immune cells, helping to boost your immune system. Even mild zinc deficiency it has been found could reduce immune function, lead to oxidative stress, and produce other side effects, such as reducing the number of natural killer T-cells in your body – cells responsible for resisting infections, like the common cold.
Take populations at risk of developing diarrheal diseases in the developing world. Research from the Aga Khan University Medical Centre in Karachi, Pakistan, suggests that oral zinc supplements decreases the severity and persistence of diarrhea in children and helps with rehydration in recovery.
When it comes to recovering from injury, there’s no set time that it should take to recover from a cut or a scrape. But if you find that you’re waiting a long time for wound healing, then it could be a sign that you’re zinc deficient.
Zinc is an essential constituent of healing factors, like platelets, which help to seal a wound. If you’re not getting enough zinc, then the time it takes to heal from an injury will rise, and clotting and healing factors will not do their job as effectively.
Studies show that zinc may reduce the risk of developing asthma. Science shows that when blood levels of zinc are low, people are more likely to develop asthma. Likewise, when supplemented with high doses of zinc, people see a reduction in coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, suggesting that zinc may modulate the body’s inflammatory response to perceived threats.
Although human studies are lacking, there is evidence from murine models that zinc may help to combat allergies too. Mice fed high levels of zinc saw a reduction in inflammation in their airways in response to a common allergen.
Macular degeneration is a significant problem facing older men in the western world. Over time, the cells that make up the back of the eye start to degrade, leading to sight loss.
The degradation is believed to be caused by oxidative stress: free radicals spinning off from the body’s metabolism and causing damage to the surrounding tissue.
There is evidence that high dose significantly reduces the effects of diabetic retinopathy, a condition that results from too high a level of sugar in the blood. Zinc protects the capillaries in the retina from metabolic damage, helping to prevent the eyesight of people with diabetes from deteriorating.
15 mg of zinc per day may also help to restore night blindness. Vitamin A can restore sight in cases of night blindness, but it requires assistance from zinc to be effective. Zinc may enhance the effectiveness of vitamin A supplementation.
Oxidative stress is a leading theory of aging. In the theory of oxidative stress, our bodies experience oxidative damage as a consequence of generating energy. Byproducts of cellular metabolism dart out of the powerhouses of our cells (the mitochondria) and chemically react with anything they come into contact with, including DNA. One of the reasons nutritionists implore people to eat anti-oxidants is because doing so is thought to reduce our exposure to these damaging particles by mopping them up before they can do damage.
There is evidence that zinc supplementation may reduce oxidative stress and, therefore, reduce aging overall. A study from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit found that zinc supplementation reduced oxidative stress and the incidence of infection among the elderly.
You can’t taste zinc in food directly: there’s just too little of it to register on your tongue. However, zinc is vital to your sense of taste overall. Without sufficient zinc, your taste receptors on your tongue and in your nasal cavity cannot send signals to the brain telling you about what you’re eating. In fact, one of the first signs that you might be zinc deficient is if you find it more difficult to taste your food.
Another of the health benefits of zinc supplementation for men is that it may boost concentration levels. Why this is the case isn’t yet clear: scientists don’t know the precise mechanisms. But researchers found that when they fed people high-zinc foods, their ability to focus on tasks improved compared to controls.
If you want to achieve a lean, defined physique, zinc could help. Zinc is an essential cofactor in the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. If you don’t have enough zinc in your body, you can end up feeling slow and sluggish. And it could make losing weight more difficult.
Getting enough zinc from the diet can be difficult, so it’s a good idea to use a supplement like our Vitamin C – Brilliant C. Don’t megadose zinc: stick to something close to the RDA to avoid unwanted side effects.