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Zinc is a frequently forgotten mineral nutrient. The most important of all zinc benefits is the ability to make enzymes.
The human body uses zinc in every kind of enzyme it makes, and zinc is the second most abundant mineral in the body, after iron. Most of the zinc in the body is in the brain, bones, kidneys, and liver, with especially high concentrations in parts of the eye and in the prostate in men. One of the most important benefits of zinc for men is protection of the prostate and increased fertility.
Every gene in the human body needs zinc compounds to express itself. Zinc helps young cells develop, and it sensitizes older cells and cancerous cells to the apoptosis factors that end a cell's life cycle to allow a younger, healthier cell to take its place.
In terms of observable symptoms, what is zinc good for?
When people don't get zinc, deficiency symptoms can be severe. In children with severe deficiencies of zinc, the most debilitating complication is diarrhea. In older adults with severe zinc deficiency, the most serious complication is pneumonia. Both diarrhea and pneumonia are potentially fatal, and maintaining nutritional minimums of zinc can be life-saving.
But just as there are nutritional minimums for zinc, there are also nutritional maximums. And not every form of zinc works for every health application. Here are five things everyone needs to know about zinc supplements.
More people have zinc deficiencies than suffer zinc toxicity symptoms, but both deficiency and excess can cause serious health problems. To prevent zinc toxicity, be sure that you also get 1 to 3 milligrams of copper every day from your nutritional supplements.