How Important Is Zinc In Fitness?

With 2020 being a bit of a right off, many have resorted to getting themselves in shape. Whether that’s the Joe Wix program in the morning, going for a run on your lunch break, or hitting the gym when you can. It was a year of personal development and there’s no reason why everyone can’t carry this on. Exercise is an important factor in everyone’s life. They can keep fit, healthy, and live their best life. 

How Important Is Zinc In Fitness?

The issue is when exercising, people forget to eat right. This means that they don’t get enough nutrients in their diet. Supplementing can also be a great way of boosting your levels, but it isn’t enough just to supplement. Zinc is one of those supplements that must be taken regularly when exercising to aid in recovery. In this article, we will go through the importance of zinc when exercising.  As well as what foods to be eating to get the best levels. 

What Is Zinc?

Zinc is an essential mineral that must be consumed daily as the body doesn’t produce the mineral. There is a range of foods that are high in zinc such as shellfish, meat products, eggs, and fish. Zinc also has a range of benefits for the body, especially when exercising. The downside to having too much zinc is it can have a negative effect on the body. It can stop the body from absorbing other nutrients.  

What Does Zinc Do? 

Zinc has many benefits for the body, but its main job is to help the enzymes in the body. They have everything to do with maintaining immune functions.  Zinc also helps to remove carbon dioxide from the body. This is produced through metabolic processes. When exercising and lifting heavy weights, many want to improve their gains. People resort to zinc supplements to maintain healthy testosterone levels. 

Zinc is also a huge part of forming new nerve cells, certain parts of the metabolism, and synapses. Zinc is a great regulator in the body and that is why so many people are taking this in their day-to-day life. Zinc regulates something called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This is essential for normal nervous system functions. A lack of zinc for this function can result in memory loss and depression.

It is easy to see why a deficiency can cause a range of different problems which can have drastic results. Groups of people including athletes and others who have physical jobs are usually deficient. This is due to exercise exhausting the zinc in the body so it is important to get your RDI. Vegans and vegetarians are also groups who find themselves deficient. 

Can You Get All The Zinc From Foods?

The recommended daily intake of zinc is around 11 milligrams per day. It’s important that you get your regular intake as it is lost through sweat. People supplement to get their RDA if they can’t get it from certain foods. 

If you eat meat, then grass-fed beef or lamb provides a good amount of zinc which will be enough to meet your RDA. If you only eat fish, then oysters have one of the highest amounts of zinc of any food. A 100 gram serving of oysters has around 78 milligrams of zinc. This is much more than the recommended daily intake. 

If you are vegetarian or vegan, then some foods have zinc in them, but they don’t have near the amount as meat or fish. This is why many vegans and vegetarians are low in this mineral. Spinach, nuts, mushrooms, and beans all have zinc in them. To get the daily intake you should also look at supplementing.

What Happens With A Zinc Deficiency? 

Severe Zinc deficiencies come few and far between, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t happen. There are groups of people who are likely to have a deficiency. This includes breastfeeding mothers. This is due to the baby taking the mother’s supply, which in turn, causes them to be deficient. Other deficient people include alcohol and drug addicts. 

If you have children, it is vital that they get their recommended daily allowance. A deficiency in children can cause stunted growth and development. As well as delayed sexual maturity, diarrhoea, behavioural issues and slow healing wounds. So it is easy to see why children must get their RDA. 

Symptoms Of A Zinc Deficiency

There are some tell-tale signs of a zinc deficiency. Many of the symptoms you will find with other issues. If you think that you are deficient, it is best to go speak to a doctor so they can run some tests for you. Key symptoms include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Decreases Immunity
  • Thinning Hair
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Mood Disturbances
  • Dry Skin
  • Fertility Issues
  • Impaired Wound Healing

People At Risk Of A Zinc Deficiency

There are different people who find themselves deficient in vitamin and mineral levels. It is important to know them as you will know what to look out for, especially if it’s your child or partner.

  • People With Gastrointestinal Disease Like Crohn’s Disease
  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans
  • Pregnant Women
  • Breastfeeding Women
  • Older Infants Who Are Breastfeeding Still 
  • People With sickle Cell Anemia
  • Malnourished People
  • People With Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Alcoholics

Why Is Zinc So Important For Athletes?

Athletes put themselves through a lot of resistance when training. From weight lifting to gymnastics, they all put pressure on the body. This shows why athletes need as much nutrition to maximise their performance. Zinc plays vital roles in improving your strength and increases lean muscle mass. It also boosts immune functions, supports reproductive health and improves insulin sensitivity. Finally, it maintains a strong heart and respiratory systems. 

As you can see, there are numerous benefits of increasing your zinc levels. Especially when it comes to athletes. We all need healthy levels for our day to day life so it is key to have a healthy balanced diet.

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