Not For the Roof

A very important mineral it is, like Magnesium, it is involved in most metabolic activities occurring in the body. However, it is required in trace quantities by the body with the adult body containing just about 2g-3g of it1. It is known as Zinc.

Zinc is very vital not just in physiological processes. It can also act as a preventive drug. It is present in high concentrations in the eye and plays an important role in maintaining vision .It is believed to possess antioxidant properties which may protect against aging of the skin. It is also effective in treating episodes of diarrhea, healing wounds, and improving immunity.

Zinc is in high concentration in the prostate, this suggests its importance in the maintenance of normal levels of testosterone, prostate health and overall sexual health. It is used in the treatment of benign prostate hypertrophy, male infertility and erectile dysfunction. Growing body of evidence indicates the ability of zinc to kill prostate cancer cells, as it’s potential as chemotherapeutic agent in this cancer shows promise2,3. However, the National Cancer Institute has implicated an overdose of Zinc in the increase of the incidence of prostate cancer 4. As such, appropriate caution should be taken not to exceed the required daily intake.

Recommended daily allowance is 11mg for men and pregnant women, and 8mg for women5. The tolerable upper limit for zinc was set at 40 mg per day for adults above 19. Food sources include some seafood (such as crab, lobster, and shrimp), dairy products, meats, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Vegetarians may be prone to Zinc deficiencies because Zinc in plant protein is not available for use by the body as that got from animal protein.  Excess intake could lead to ataxia, lethargy and copper deficiency (Zinc suppresses Copper absorption). Likewise, deficiency could result in an endless list which includes loss of appetite, diarrhea, poor sense of taste, slow wound healing, low insulin levels and infertility.

Steroid medications, infections, stress and trauma can result in Zinc deficiency. Phytate can also create deficiency by binding to Zinc and inhibiting absorption of dietary zinc.


1Institute of Food Technologists (July 18,2014). Eight ways Zinc affect human body. Science Daily

2Shah, M. et al (2009) ‘Direct intra-tumoral injection of Zinc acetate halts tumor growth in a xenograft               model of prostate cancer’. Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research28 (84)


4Leitzman,M.F. et al  (2003) Journal of National Cancer Institute95(13):1004

5National Institute for Health


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