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Zinc is an essential mineral for growth and development, neurological function, reproduction and the immune response.

What Zinc Does For The Body

Zinc is an essential mineral and powerful antioxidant. It is important for genetic stability and function, plays a part in the catalytic activity of more than 100 enzymes, helps maintain the senses of smell and taste, and supports immune function and protein synthesis. Zinc may also prevent birth defects and lessen the severity of the common cold.

The mineral has been shown to reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration for people at high risk of the disease. Combined with other antioxidants, zinc is especially effective.

Scientists have also found a link between zinc deficiency and cancer. Zinc protect cells from oxidation and damage, helps reduce inflammation, and can promote programmed cell death. Researchers believe zinc is especially important to maintaining healthy prostate function in men, as the prostate is has the highest zinc concentration of any soft tissue in the body. Studies suggest that zinc is most helpful in combating the early stages of prostate.

What happens if you don't have enough Zinc: Too little zinc can cause a weakened immune system, stunted growth, impotence in men, hair loss, loss of appetite, taste abnormalities and skin and eye lesions.

What happens if you have too much: The upper level of tolerable zinc intake for adults is 40 mg per day—that's about four times as much as a normal adult needs.

Taking too much zinc (typically through supplements) can prevent the absorption of other useful minerals, like manganese, iron and, in particular, copper High levels of zinc can also depress immune function and increase urinary tract and kidney infections. So don't overdo it with the oysters.

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