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why zinc is one mineral you just can't af- ford to miss


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Zinc is an important trace mineral found throughout your body, second only to iron in its prevalence in human cells and tissues. Zinc plays a part in critical processes like wound healing, immune system response and functions such as cellular growth and repair. There's even an established link be- tween zinc levels and respiratory health, giving zinc added importance during cold and fl u season and whenever your body is under stress.


his unsung dietary hero is so essen- tial your cells wouldn't know what to do without it. Read on to learn


Zinc: Why You Need It Have you ever wondered why people


take zinc lozenges at the fi rst sign of a cold? Evidence suggests that supplement- ing with zinc within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms may help shorten the length of colds. Oral supplementation in the form of zinc lozenges, capsules and syrup are preferable to intranasal zinc, which has been linked with loss of sense of smell in some individuals.


Another function of zinc is the regula-


tion of metabolism. Found in more than 300 enzymes, zinc is critical to digestion, including the absorption and metabolism of essential micronutrients. Zinc defi- ciency can lead to malnutrition, which is


an important problem worldwide. Adequate zinc intake is especially important for children of all ages, and if you are pregnant or lactating. Defi ciency of zinc during formational times could lead to retarded growth of biological sys- tems like the gastrointestinal tract and skeletal, immune and reproductive sys- tems.


Top Zinc-Rich Foods Unlike iron, which is contained inside


cellular components in your body, zinc permeates cells and tissues, performing critical structural, catalytic and regulatory functions. This is why getting adequate intake of zinc through your diet or supple- mentation is so important. Safeguarding against zinc defi ciency


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means having a varied diet fortifi ed with zinc-rich foods. Proteins like pastured beef and poultry, and sustainably harvested, wild-caught fi sh and oysters are all good sources of this essential mineral. Vegetar- ian sources include organic cereals, beans, nuts, oats and tofu.


While adults and seniors have the


same average physiologic requirements for zinc, absorption can decrease as you age. High-quality, bioavailable supplements can ensure that you meet your body's unique needs, especially during times of increased stress or poor eating.


The Importance of


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