It’s inevitable. At least once or twice a year, we all come down with a bug that leaves us laying feet-up for the day. For most of us, this usually ends with a trip to the pharmacy or the doctor’s office where we load up on pharmaceuticals and other medicines. However, in most cases, this is never necessary.
It’s true. Instead of the side-effects and sluggishness that come with medicinal drugs, proper nutrition, rest, and supplementation can provide a better alternative. This is where important vitamins and mineral, such as zinc, come into play.
Zinc is one of the most vital minerals your body needs to thrive. It is found in every cell of the body, including our blood cells, bones, and internal organs. In fact, it is the tenth most common mineral in the human body.
We all know that zinc is one of the many healthy ingredients in a standard multivitamin. But do you know exactly what zinc can do for your health? The answer might surprise you.
In short, zinc is a nutritional powerhouse that can restore us back to health and wellness after fighting a cold or common illness. If you want to find out more about how zinc can transform your health, vitality, and energy level when you’re sick, look no further. We have put together a handy guide to walk you through everything you need to know about zinc for common cold treatments.
Zinc as Medicine
Zinc plays a crucial role in fending off colds and flu. As soon as we started taking zinc for colds, we immediately noticed a massive boost in our sense of mental sharpness and vitality. Since then, it has become a bedside staple for those days where we wake up under the weather.
Most importantly, zinc has the unique power to activate the T-cells in your body. This was discovered in a groundbreaking 2010 study in the European Journal of Immunology. And in case you didn’t know, T-cells are important: they fight infection, disease, and cancers.
A Vital ‘Element’ of the Body
Zinc is a chemical element that is found on the periodic table listed as ‘ZN’, with an atomic number of 30. Structurally, zinc is a close relative of magnesium, except for one ion placement. Technically, zinc is also a metal that is often found in ore throughout the world.
Don’t be fooled by the chemically-sounding nature of this substance, as zinc is as natural as could be. Don’t believe us? Just ask a geologist: zinc is one of the most common elements found in the Earth’s crust. This means zinc is literally all around us, always, both within and without our bodies.
It is a little-known fact that roughly one-fifth of the world’s population suffers from zinc deficiency. When you consider that zinc is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system, digestive system, and cognition, it becomes clear that this is unacceptable.
Everybody needs zinc, whether sick or not, in order to live a fulfilling life. Zinc allows our cells to repair, our cells to divide and replicate, our hair to grow, and our blood to fight off infection. In other words, zinc deficiency is a major no-go for anyone pursuing a healthy, active life.
If you think you might not be getting enough zinc in your diet, we recommend getting your blood tested. For those who are deficient, we recommend taking a daily zinc supplement. Or, if you prefer something a little more holistic, you could opt for a high-quality multivitamin—most of which contain 100% of your recommended intake of zinc.
Zinc: The Underrated Mineral
This little mineral has it all. While zinc for common cold and flu symptoms works wonders, there are also countless other benefits that can be attributed to zinc intake.
One of the worst symptoms of flu is diarrhea. It is known to kill millions of people worldwide every year due to its extreme dehydrating effects. However, zinc can stop it dead in its tracks. According to a 2009 study, taking zinc pills for 10 days effectively reduced diarrhea and prevented its onset in the future. Talk about a life-saver!
It’s no secret that zinc for common cold symptoms is a miracle worker. In this 2011 study, it was discovered that zinc lozenges are effective in shortening the duration of cold and flu symptoms. On top of that, zinc has also been proven by science to improve learning and memory in children and assist in the healing of flesh wounds.
Zinc Benefits for Men
Zinc is especially important for men because it is needed to power your fertility system. For example, a deficiency in zinc can result in the enlargement of the prostate, a decreased sperm count, and lackluster sperm quality and mobility. Nobody wants that.
Prostate cancer is a serious risk to men around the world. As one of the world’s deadliest forms of cancer, it is important to do everything you can to prevent its onset. Luckily, zinc has been demonstrated to reduce the enlargement of prostate tumors and can slow the growth of tumors in those with prostate cancer.
Adult men require 11 milligrams of zinc per day to maintain proper bodily functions. This equates to roughly the amount provided in a standard men’s multivitamin.
Zinc Benefits for Women
Many of the health benefits of zinc also apply to women. However, there are specific advantages that women can glean from daily supplementation of zinc that men cannot.
The average adult woman requires 8 milligrams of zinc per day to maintain proper health. However, pregnant women need a bit more, at 11 milligrams daily (roughly the same amount as an adult man). And breastfeeding women need even more than that, with a whopping 23 milligrams per day.
While zinc is a necessary part of any balanced diet, make sure you do not get carried away. Dietitians of Canada advise against taking in more than 40 milligrams of zinc in a day, as this can have deleterious effects on one’s health. So, take it easy on the lozenges!
Common Sources of Zinc
Think you might need zinc for common cold and flu symptoms? Try loaded up on any of these delicious, nutrient-dense foods to make sure you get a complete dose each day. Not only will this help get you back on your feet, but it will also help stave off cold and flu bugs in the future.
Whole Food Sources
Oysters are a fantastic source of zinc. One standard serving of cooked oysters pack 74mg of zinc, a total of 493% of your daily value (DV). This amounts to over 10 times the amount found in the next leading food source, which is roast beef.
In every three-ounce serving of roast beef chucks, there are 7mg of zinc. This is roughly 47% of an adult male’s recommended DV. However, if meat is not your thing, no need to worry. Fortified breakfast cereals often contain 25% of your DV per ¾ cup serving.
For vegan dieters, baked beans are another excellent whole food source. In only one ½ cup serving, baked beans cram 19% of your recommended DV. Alternatively, cashews and chickpeas both rank highly in zinc content, as one serving contains 11% and 9% of your DV, respectively.
The best zinc supplements are those that you can reliably take every day. That means they need to be affordable, tasty, and fast-acting. Many of the top multivitamins on the shelves of health food stores can do the job nicely.
Alternatively, zinc lozenges are another great source. They also tend to be cheaper than multivitamins, which can contain nutrients that your body already has enough of. By popping a couple sweet lozenges packed with zinc, you can benefit from the boost in essential minerals while also coating your throat which can alleviate soreness from a cough.
Personally, we have had the most success with Cold EEZE products. Cold EEZE make smooth throat lozenges to treat common cold symptoms. And best of all, they taste pretty darn great, too. We recommend checking out their line of products here.
Zinc: An Overview
That was a lot to take in. To make it a bit easier, we put together a short list of everything you need to know about zinc for common cold treatments.
- The average adult requires roughly 10mg of zinc per day
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women require up to 23mg of zinc per day
- Zinc is fundamental for proper sexual health and fertility
- Zinc deficiency can seriously impair your natural immune system
- Without zinc, your body cannot activate T-Cells, which fight cancers and infections