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Zinc chemical background

Zinc: All you need to know

Most people obtain sufficient levels of zinc through their diet, particularly if they are regularly consuming meat. The unusual dietary patterns of high-performance athletes, however, may lead to a sub-optimal intake of zinc. Depletions of zinc, if sustained, can have a detrimental impact on sporting performance.

Zinc is a trace element that is a component of over 200 enzymes that are responsible for countless processes throughout the body. Athletes, particularly those whose diets include increased carbohydrate intake and a low intake of protein and fat from natural food sources, may be at risk of not getting enough of this important mineral.

The potential benefits of Zinc

Zinc has multiple benefits for both general health and athletics performance. It is most commonly used in the treatment of the common cold where research has demonstrated that it can reduce the duration of illness by up to a day.

Zinc may also have a role to play in building muscle as it is vital for protein synthesis. Studies have also shown that zinc deficiency may stunt muscle growth and reduces testosterone levels.

Finally, zinc has been linked with improved bone density, which may in turn reduce the incidence of impact fractures and bone related injuries.

How much Zinc should I take?

A daily intake of 10mg of zinc is sufficient as a nutritional top up, and up to 15mg could be taken when you are suffering from symptoms of cold or flu. The recommended upper tolerable level of zinc is set at 25mg and levels in excess of this should be avoided as this can obstruct the absorption of other essential minerals.

When should I take Zinc?

Zinc can be taken at any time of day. If however you find you are suffering from symptoms of nausea it's best to take zinc one or two hours after a meal.

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Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace
medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.