You might remember zinc from that big white stick of suncream that your mother put on you any time you went out into the sun, but zinc can do more for you than that! There are actually a lot of reasons you should be getting more zinc, and they probably won’t end with your friends making fun of you, unlike that zinc cream.
What is it?
Zinc is one of the most common minerals in your body. It’s found in every tissue and is involved in a lot of essential processes. It’s such a critical part of good health, that not getting enough of it can really impact your physical well-being.
You use a lot of it when you train, so it’s really common to find Zinc in several different types of supplements that are aimed at recovery, energy boosting or even just good general health
What does it do?
Zinc has loads of things to do in your body. Besides calcium, it’s easily one of the most common minerals, and also one of the most useful.
Zinc is necessary for a healthy immune system, as well as being important to healing and recovery, digestion, testosterone production, and helping your body fight toxins, inflammation and produce antioxidants. That’s a heck of a lot for something that we don’t really think about!
Why do I need it?
The are so many benefits of getting good amounts of zinc in your diet, that it’s amazing that we have any left over for anything besides food!
If you have acne, getting a bit more zinc can help it by reducing down the production of oil in your skin. It also helps heal any acne lesions you might have, so it’s involved in the prevention AND the cure. That’s like someone making you a meal and then doing the dishes for you afterwards too!
By supporting testosterone, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory production, it can really help you get the most out of your training. Testosterone is very important in muscle building, and when you’re exercising hard, you can build up free radicals and inflammation, so getting enough zinc can really help you recover quicker and build more lean muscle. Note: It's an ingredient your body needs to make testosterone, so your body will be able to make what it needs to make. It won't force
your body to make testosterone, so women can take it without developing manly features.
Heavy exercise also wears down your immune system, so boosting that up can stop you getting sick, which really helps keep your training on track.
Which supplements have it?
Zinc is in lots of supplements, and also available on it’s own. You will find it with Magnesium and vitamin B6 in a supplement called ZMA, as well as multivitamins
, memory support, testosterone boosters
and anything with a whole bunch of minerals. It's a popular ingredient and gets invited everywhere!
How much should I have?
Because zinc can come in many compounds in supplements, and different people are affected differently, it’s best to follow the recommendation on the label of your supplement.
Keep in mind that zinc is absorbed by the same method as copper and iron, so if you’re megadosing zinc, you’ll be absorbing less of these minerals. They get in each other's way a bit.
Can I get it from food?
Zinc is in lots of food, especially oysters, which is one of the reasons why oysters are considered an aphrodisiac -zinc can promote testosterone production. You have to think there’s some truth to that too, because it’s unlikely that sucking down something that has the same texture as salty snot will get anyone's engine running!
Other foods with high levels of zinc are lobster, red meat, beans, nuts, almonds, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and blackcurrants.
What can I stack it with?
Zinc goes well with everything, but can slow down your copper absorption. Zinc is more useful than copper, but you still need a little bit of it.
Are there any side effects?
besides affecting how much copper and iron you can absorb, zinc is pretty safe. Just stick to the recommended amounts on the label of your supplement and you should be fine.
Is it safe for women too?
Zinc is very safe for women, and is even prescribed in some cases to improve fertility (see a doctor before taking it to help with that though, there could be a number of other causes besides zinc deficiency).
As you can see, zinc is really helpful in lots of processes. It’s like a mineral version of a Swiss Army knife, so it’s definitely worth making sure you’re getting the right amount of zinc in your diet or supplement.