Take a zinc supplement daily. While it’s safe to consume meat, poultry, and seafood, these foods may not be rich in zinc. Legumes and whole grains are excellent sources of zinc. However, they may contain phytates, which bind zinc and lower absorption.
Zinc is an essential nutrient for the body. But, excessive intake can have some adverse effects. For example, high levels of zinc in the body can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and altered iron and immune function. Zinc may also interact with antibiotics, such as penicillin, tetracycline, and quinolones. It is, therefore, best to take zinc supplements in moderation and avoid combining them with certain other medications.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc varies with age and gender. Pregnant women and infants are particularly vulnerable to zinc deficiency, but adults of any age and gender are likely to have sufficient intake. However, the RDA is calculated based on various factors because of the lack of a sensitive indicator of zinc nutritional status. Regardless of age, a daily dose of zinc is probably sufficient to prevent deficiency in almost every age group and gender.
Interactions with medications
Some drugs interact with zinc. Certain medications may have harmful interactions with zinc. Antibiotics should be taken at least four to six hours before or after zinc intake. Penicillamine, a drug used to treat cystinuria and Wilson’s disease, may interfere with zinc absorption.
When zinc is given concomitantly with b-lactam antibiotics, it reduces the bioavailability of cephalexin. Furthermore, zinc is a competitive inhibitor of peptide transporter 1, which determines the oral bioavailability of b-lactam antibiotics. In addition to antibiotics, zinc interferes with many proteins, including glucose, l-threonine, and folate.
Adequate Intake (AI) levels of zinc for infants and children
The amount of zinc an individual should eat depends on age and gender. The RDA is the daily amount likely to prevent deficiency in almost all individuals. For children aged 0 to 6 months, the AI is five milligrams of zinc (mg) per day. A relatively large percentage of this mineral is also in meat, fish, and shellfish. However, the amount of zinc absorbed by the body is much lower when compared to intake from a variety of plant sources.
The importance of adequate zinc intake in infants and children cannot be understated. This trace mineral plays an integral role in the immune system, which is required to maintain the body’s optimum functioning. Unfortunately, they are also at increased risk for diseases and delayed growth, making zinc supplementation necessary.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) quantities for adults
Zinc is a trace mineral necessary for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes. It is involved in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, cell division, and other critical biological processes. Zinc is essential for average growth, development, and function, including typical taste and smell. Therefore, zinc intake should be sufficient to support a stable state. There is no specialized storage system for zinc, so dietary intakes must be monitored.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), or Daily Value, refers to the quantity of a nutrient needed to maintain good health, from 2,000 calories per day. The RDA is an essential nutrient, but exceeding it can cause problems. Therefore, it is necessary to follow the label directions. In addition, to prevent any unforeseen side effects, take the recommended dosage of zinc and other nutrients.