Zinc Health Benefits
Zinc’s special therapeutic properties account for it being used in a wide variety of clinical situations, frequently with very promising results. Among the many important proven or perceived benefits of zinc are the following.
Treating those with compromised immune systems to improve immune system functioning
Taking zinc supplements may help improve immune system functioning in at-risk segments of the population such as children in underdeveloped countries, the elderly, and those diagnosed with HIV.
Treating colds, sore throats, and upper respiratory infections
Because zinc is so important to optimal immune system functioning, zinc supplements may be beneficial in treating the common cold. Research studies so far are inconclusive due to methodological problems, but the results look promising. Zinc lozenges can also help to relieve sore throat and viral flu symptoms.
Treatment of other illnesses and infections
The common cold is by no means the only illness for which inclusion of zinc in the therapy regimen may expedite treatment. Zinc has been used in the treatment of herpes, trichomoniasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV-related infections. Zinc has even been used in the treatment of schizophrenia and senility.
Because of the link between zinc deficiency and a diminished sense of taste, another promising clinical application of zinc has been in trying to improve the appetites of anorexics and malnourished elderly patients.
Treating symptoms associated with respiratory allergies and environmental sensitivities
It is known that some people are more sensitive to chemicals and toxins in the environment than others, and zinc deficiency could be a contributing factor. Thus, treatment with zinc could help to relieve their symptoms. In addition, treatment with zinc inhibits the absorption of harmful quantities of the toxic mineral cadmium that sometimes makes its way into our food and drinking water.
Preventing macular degenerative disease
Zinc supplements have proven useful in reducing the incidence of age-related macular degenerative disease of the eye.
Helping wounds to heal
Administering zinc pre and post-surgery speeds up recovery time, shortens hospitalization time and reduces the likelihood of infections and other complications. Similarly, zinc may be helpful in treating burns and other kinds of injuries. The apparent capability of zinc to help generate new skin could be due to the role of zinc also in helping the body maintain and utilize Vitamin A more efficiently.
Treating skin, hair, and nail problems
Zinc has been used to treat such varied skin problems as boils, bedsores, leg ulcers, acne, psoriasis, and general dermatitis. While the results are inconsistent, sometimes the treatment with zinc has been beneficial. Zinc treatment may also help clear up some hair and nail problems.
Treatment of male sexual functioning problems
Since zinc plays an important role in sexual maturation, it makes sense to use zinc to try to treat certain problems that might develop in that area. Conditions such as delayed sexual development, impotence, and infertility can have a variety of causes, but when zinc deficiency is a factor, taking zinc supplements can be very helpful. Additional research is needed regarding whether zinc can also benefit those with prostate problems.