What are the health benefits of zinc?

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Zinc is an efficient Lewis acid , making it a useful catalytic agent in hydroxylation and other enzymatic reactions. In addition, a Cochrane review concluded that taking "zinc lozenges or syrup is beneficial in reducing the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people, when taken within 24 hours of onset of symptoms. Zinc plays a role in maintaining skin integrity and structure. Isotope Effects in Chemistry and Biology. Retrieved 5 September

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Metallic zinc was isolated in India by AD, [75] [76] [77] much earlier than in the West. Before it was isolated in Europe, it was imported from India in about CE. Flemish metallurgist and alchemist P. In in Great Britain, William Champion patented a process to extract zinc from calamine in a vertical retort style smelter.

German chemist Andreas Marggraf normally gets credit for discovering pure metallic zinc, even though Swedish chemist Anton von Swab had distilled zinc from calamine four years previously.

William Champion's brother, John, patented a process in for calcining zinc sulfide into an oxide usable in the retort process. In , Johann Christian Ruberg improved on the smelting process by building the first horizontal retort smelter. Galvani's friend, Alessandro Volta , continued researching the effect and invented the Voltaic pile in The units were stacked in series to make the Voltaic cell, which produced electricity by directing electrons from the zinc to the copper and allowing the zinc to corrode.

The non-magnetic character of zinc and its lack of color in solution delayed discovery of its importance to biochemistry and nutrition. Zinc is the fourth most common metal in use, trailing only iron , aluminium , and copper with an annual production of about 13 million tonnes. Zinc metal is produced using extractive metallurgy. Roasting converts the zinc sulfide concentrate to zinc oxide: The sulfur dioxide is used for the production of sulfuric acid, which is necessary for the leaching process.

If deposits of zinc carbonate, zinc silicate, or zinc spinel like the Skorpion Deposit in Namibia are used for zinc production, the roasting can be omitted. For further processing two basic methods are used: In electrowinning , zinc is leached from the ore concentrate by sulfuric acid: Finally, the zinc is reduced by electrolysis. Refinement of sulfidic zinc ores produces large volumes of sulfur dioxide and cadmium vapor.

Smelter slag and other residues contain significant quantities of metals. After increasing fold from , zinc emissions peaked at 3. Soils contaminated with zinc from mining, refining, or fertilizing with zinc-bearing sludge can contain several grams of zinc per kilogram of dry soil. Major applications of zinc include numbers are given for the US [].

Zinc is most commonly used as an anti- corrosion agent, [] and galvanization coating of iron or steel is the most familiar form. Zinc is more reactive than iron or steel and thus will attract almost all local oxidation until it completely corrodes away.

Galvanization is used on chain-link fencing, guard rails, suspension bridges, lightposts, metal roofs, heat exchangers, and car bodies. The relative reactivity of zinc and its ability to attract oxidation to itself makes it an efficient sacrificial anode in cathodic protection CP.

For example, cathodic protection of a buried pipeline can be achieved by connecting anodes made from zinc to the pipe. Powdered zinc is used in this way in alkaline batteries and the case which also serves as the anode of zinc—carbon batteries is formed from sheet zinc. Other widely used zinc alloys include nickel silver , typewriter metal, soft and aluminium solder , and commercial bronze.

Zinc is the primary metal in American one cent coins pennies since In , 33, tonnes 36, short tons of zinc were used to produce Alloys of zinc with small amounts of copper, aluminium, and magnesium are useful in die casting as well as spin casting , especially in the automotive, electrical, and hardware industries. The low melting point together with the low viscosity of the alloy makes possible the production of small and intricate shapes. The low working temperature leads to rapid cooling of the cast products and fast production for assembly.

Similar alloys with the addition of a small amount of lead can be cold-rolled into sheets. As a dense, inexpensive, easily worked material, zinc is used as a lead replacement. In the wake of lead concerns , zinc appears in weights for various applications ranging from fishing [] to tire balances and flywheels. Cadmium zinc telluride CZT is a semiconductive alloy that can be divided into an array of small sensing devices.

Roughly one quarter of all zinc output in the United States in was consumed in zinc compounds; [] a variety of which are used industrially. Zinc oxide is widely used as a white pigment in paints and as a catalyst in the manufacture of rubber to disburse heat.

Zinc oxide is used to protect rubber polymers and plastics from ultraviolet radiation UV. Zinc chloride is often added to lumber as a fire retardant [] and sometimes as a wood preservative. Zinc powder is sometimes used as a propellant in model rockets.

Zinc sheet metal is used to make zinc bars. Because of this, zinc oxide used in nuclear reactors as an anti-corrosion agent is depleted of 64 Zn before use, this is called depleted zinc oxide. For the same reason, zinc has been proposed as a salting material for nuclear weapons cobalt is another, better-known salting material.

Zinc dithiocarbamate complexes are used as agricultural fungicides ; these include Zineb , Metiram, Propineb and Ziram. Organozinc chemistry is the science of compounds that contain carbon-zinc bonds, describing the physical properties, synthesis, and chemical reactions. Many organozinc compounds are important.

Zinc has found many applications as catalyst in organic synthesis including asymmetric synthesis, being cheap and easily available alternative to precious metal complexes. The results yield and ee obtained with chiral zinc catalysts are comparable to those achieved with palladium, ruthenium, iridium and others, and zinc becomes metal catalyst of choice. In most single-tablet, over-the-counter, daily vitamin and mineral supplements, zinc is included in such forms as zinc oxide , zinc acetate , or zinc gluconate.

However, it is redox inert and thus can serve such a function only indirectly. Zinc deficiency has been associated with major depressive disorder MDD , and zinc supplements may be an effective treatment. Zinc serves as a simple, inexpensive, and critical tool for treating diarrheal episodes among children in the developing world. Zinc becomes depleted in the body during diarrhea , but recent studies suggest that replenishing zinc with a to day course of treatment can reduce the duration and severity of diarrheal episodes and may also prevent future episodes for as long as three months.

A Cochrane review stated that people taking zinc supplement may be less likely to progress to age-related macular degeneration. Zinc supplement is an effective treatment for acrodermatitis enteropathica , a genetic disorder affecting zinc absorption that was previously fatal to affected infants. Gastroenteritis is strongly attenuated by ingestion of zinc, possibly by direct antimicrobial action of the ions in the gastrointestinal tract , or by the absorption of the zinc and re-release from immune cells all granulocytes secrete zinc , or both.

In , researchers reported that adding large amounts of zinc to a urine sample masked detection of drugs. The researchers did not test whether orally consuming a zinc dietary supplement could have the same effect. Zinc supplements frequently zinc acetate or zinc gluconate lozenges are a group of dietary supplements that are commonly used for the treatment of the common cold.

Topical preparations of zinc include those used on the skin, often in the form of zinc oxide. Zinc preparations can protect against sunburn in the summer and windburn in the winter. Chelated zinc is used in toothpastes and mouthwashes to prevent bad breath.

Zinc pyrithione is widely included in shampoos to prevent dandruff. Zinc is an essential trace element for humans [] [] [] and other animals, [] for plants [98] and for microorganisms.

In proteins, zinc ions are often coordinated to the amino acid side chains of aspartic acid , glutamic acid , cysteine and histidine. The theoretical and computational description of this zinc binding in proteins as well as that of other transition metals is difficult.

Most zinc is in the brain, muscle, bones, kidney, and liver, with the highest concentrations in the prostate and parts of the eye. In humans, the biological roles of zinc are ubiquitous. It also regulates apoptosis. In the brain , zinc is stored in specific synaptic vesicles by glutamatergic neurons and can modulate neuronal excitability. Zinc is an efficient Lewis acid , making it a useful catalytic agent in hydroxylation and other enzymatic reactions. In vertebrate blood, carbonic anhydrase converts CO 2 into bicarbonate and the same enzyme transforms the bicarbonate back into CO 2 for exhalation through the lungs.

Carboxypeptidase cleaves peptide linkages during digestion of proteins. This helps to create a hydrophobic pocket on the enzyme near the zinc, which attracts the non-polar part of the protein being digested.

Zinc has been recognized as a messenger, able to activate signalling pathways. Many of these pathways provide the driving force in aberrant cancer growth. They can be targeted through ZIP transporters. Zinc serves a purely structural role in zinc fingers , twists and clusters.

A similar antagonism exists with copper. Zinc may be held in metallothionein reserves within microorganisms or in the intestines or liver of animals. The human dopamine transporter contains a high affinity extracellular zinc binding site which, upon zinc binding, inhibits dopamine reuptake and amplifies amphetamine -induced dopamine efflux in vitro.

The current EARs for zinc for women and men ages 14 and up is 6. RDAs are higher than EARs so as to identify amounts that will cover people with higher than average requirements. For people ages 18 and older the PRI calculations are complex, as the EFSA has set higher and higher values as the phytate content of the diet increases.

For women, PRIs increase from 7. These PRIs are higher than the U. Food and supplement companies have until January 1, to comply with the change. Animal products such as meat, fish, shellfish, fowl, eggs, and dairy contain zinc. The concentration of zinc in plants varies with the level in the soil. With adequate zinc in the soil, the food plants that contain the most zinc are wheat germ and bran and various seeds, including sesame , poppy , alfalfa , celery , and mustard.

Other sources include fortified food and dietary supplements in various forms. A review concluded that zinc oxide, one of the most common supplements in the United States, and zinc carbonate are nearly insoluble and poorly absorbed in the body. Zinc deficiency is usually due to insufficient dietary intake, but can be associated with malabsorption , acrodermatitis enteropathica , chronic liver disease, chronic renal disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, malignancy, and other chronic illnesses.

In the United States, a federal survey of food consumption determined that for women and men over the age of 19, average consumption was 9. The percentages below EAR increased with age. Symptoms of mild zinc deficiency are diverse. Despite some concerns, [] western vegetarians and vegans do not suffer any more from overt zinc deficiency than meat-eaters.

The zinc chelator phytate , found in seeds and cereal bran , can contribute to zinc malabsorption. Nearly two billion people in the developing world are deficient in zinc. Species of Calluna , Erica and Vaccinium can grow in zinc metalliferous soils, because translocation of toxic ions is prevented by the action of ericoid mycorrhizal fungi. Zinc deficiency appears to be the most common micronutrient deficiency in crop plants; it is particularly common in high-pH soils.

Substantial responses to zinc fertilization have been reported in these areas. Zinc is added to the soil primarily through the weathering of rocks, but humans have added zinc through fossil fuel combustion, mine waste, phosphate fertilizers, pesticide zinc phosphide , limestone, manure, sewage sludge, and particles from galvanized surfaces. Excess zinc is toxic to plants, although zinc toxicity is far less widespread. Although zinc is an essential requirement for good health, excess zinc can be harmful.

Excessive absorption of zinc suppresses copper and iron absorption. The free zinc ion is a powerful Lewis acid up to the point of being corrosive. Stomach acid contains hydrochloric acid , in which metallic zinc dissolves readily to give corrosive zinc chloride.

Swallowing a post American one cent piece Disability and even deaths from excessive use of these products have been claimed. Food and Drug Administration FDA states that zinc damages nerve receptors in the nose, causing anosmia. Reports of anosmia were also observed in the s when zinc preparations were used in a failed attempt to prevent polio infections.

The FDA said the loss of smell can be life-threatening because people with impaired smell cannot detect leaking gas or smoke, and cannot tell if food has spoiled before they eat it. Recent research suggests that the topical antimicrobial zinc pyrithione is a potent heat shock response inducer that may impair genomic integrity with induction of PARP -dependent energy crisis in cultured human keratinocytes and melanocytes.

In , the US Mint began minting pennies coated in copper but containing primarily zinc. Zinc pennies pose a risk of zinc toxicosis, which can be fatal. Pennies and other small coins are sometimes ingested by dogs, requiring veterinary removal of the foreign objects. The zinc content of some coins can cause zinc toxicity, commonly fatal in dogs through severe hemolytic anemia and liver or kidney damage; vomiting and diarrhea are possible symptoms.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the metallic element. For other uses, see Zinc disambiguation. Zinc mining and Zinc smelting. List of countries by zinc production.

Zinc sulfate medical use. This section is transcluded from Zinc and the common cold. Emsley , p. Pure and Applied Chemistry. Chemical Rubber Company Publishing. It has been proven time and again that isolating certain nutrients in supplement form will not provide the same health benefits as consuming the nutrient from a whole food. First focus on obtaining your daily zinc requirement from foods, then use supplements as a backup if necessary.

Zinc supplements are available to purchase in many health food stores and online. Normally, zinc deficiency is due to insufficient dietary intake. However, it may also be due to malabsorption and chronic illnesses such as diabetes , malignancy cancer , liver disease, and sickle cell disease.

Zinc deficiency during pregnancy may increase the chances of a difficult or prolonged birth. Zinc has many health benefits, but excessive zinc intake can be harmful. Adverse effects of severely high zinc intake may include:. Excess zinc may suppress copper absorption, according to a study published in Biological Trace Element Research.

There is also some evidence that increased levels of zinc in the body might play a role in the development of kidney stones. Research into this and other health benefits of zinc are happening now, but we have known for decades that zinc is important to good health.

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