Zinc is an essential trace element that your body can not produce by itself and therefore it must be supplied by your diet or in form of nutritional supplements. Zinc is involved in a number of important processes in your body and is an essential component of more than 300 vital enzymes. It is also involved in the production of many hormones, including insulin, thyroid hormones, testosterone and growth hormone. In addition, it plays a crucial role in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism and maintaining a healthy immune function.
We use the still relatively new and unknown zinc bisglycinate, where a zinc atom is bound to two amino acid molecules. This zinc form will not be attacked by your stomach acid and survive attacks of enzymes in your duodenum without any damage. In your small intestine, zinc bisglycinate will be absorbed into your bloodstream to a very high percentage by special transport systems. Compared to zinc gluconate and zinc citrate, which are known for their good bioavailability, zinc bisglycinate can shine with a more than 40% higher bioavailability.
Often, our daily diet does not provide enough zinc to meet our daily requirements. Reasons for this include the high amount of highly-processed foods we eat that generally have a low zinc content. The consequences of a zinc deficiency can be manifold and include symptoms such as reduced physical performance, difficulty concentrating, lack of drive, impaired immune function and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, reduced levels of testosterone, thyroid hormone and growth hormone, hair loss, delayed wound healing, reduced fertility, impure skin, diarrhoea and impaired recovery capacity. Since zinc is needed for many metabolic processes, a zinc deficiency can also result in a reduction in metabolic rate, which can lead to a weight gain or difficulties losing weight. Since your body can not store zinc in significant amounts, even a short-term insufficient zinc intake is sufficient to cause a zinc deficiency.
A sufficient zinc intake can effectively prevent all negative effects of a zinc deficiency on health and well-being described in the previous section. In addition, zinc has antiviral effects and can enhance your immune function, which will lead to a reduced susceptibility for infectious diseases. Because zinc is part of a variety of enzymes that are responsible for the degradation of pollutants, heavy metals and toxins in your body, this important trace element can support your body's natural detoxification process.
Zinc is also an essential component of endogenous antioxidants, and an increased zinc intake can therefore help to neutralize free radicals in your body. Excessive levels of free radicals can damage cells and DNA of your body and are associated with the development of a variety of diseases ranging from cancer to cardiovascular disease.
As free radicals will accelerate your body's aging process, many scientists see elevated levels of endogenous antioxidants as a natural anti-aging therapy. There is even evidence that zinc has a mood-enhancing effect and could alleviate some types of depression as it is part of an important brain enzyme needed for the synthesis of serotonin.
Zinc has a number of benefits for athletes and bodybuilders, including an accelerated post-workout recovery, because zinc is urgently needed for the repair of exercise-induced microtraumata in your muscle tissue. Zinc can also help to build muscle because it's not only needed for optimal levels of anabolic hormones such as growth hormone and testosterone, but has also been shown to increase testosterone levels by up to 30%, while preventing decreasing levels of the anabolic hormone IGF- 1. As zinc will improve the elasticity of your skin, it can reduce or completely prevent the development of stretch marks that can result from a too rapid muscle growth and are irreversible.
Zinc in a dosage range from 75 to 150 mg is very popular in strength athletes that use anabolic steroids because it can inhibit the conversion of testosterone and other anabolic steroids into oestrogen. When only moderate amounts of steroids are uses, zinc is often all these athletes need to prevent oestrogen-related side effects such as water retention and the development of a gynecomastia.
For steroid-free athletes, it may be of interest that a reduced conversion of testosterone into oestrogen will results in higher levels of free, active testosterone. It should be noted, however, that zinc used in these high amounts will inhibit the uptake of the important trace element copper and may result in unwanted side effects in the long run.
Athletes often have a significantly increased demand for zinc due to the heavy physical stress they are exposed to and the increased loss of minerals and trace elements through perspiration. Vegetarians and vegans also often suffer from a zinc deficiency because they do not consume animal sources of zinc, and eat a diet rich in phytates that will inhibit the absorption of zinc in their digestive tract. With increasing age, the need for zinc increases and the human body requires larger amounts of zinc during pregnancy. Certain diseases can also lead to increased zinc requirements. And last but not least, consuming alcohol and taking certain medications can inhibit zinc absorption and thereby increase your need for zinc.
Recommended daily intake: take 1/2 tablet without chewing and with sufficient liquid