Importance of Zinc for your Body Especially in the Neurons(Brain Cells)

Importance of Zinc for your Body Especially in the Neurons(Brain Cells)

Zinc plays an important role in the proper functioning of the immune system in the body. It is an important trace mineral. This element is second only to iron in its concentration in the body.It is an essential element, necessary for sustaining all life. It is estimated that 3000 of the hundreds of thousands of proteins in the human body contain zinc prosthetic groups.


In addition, there are over a dozen types of cells in the human body that secrete zinc ions, and the roles of these secreted zinc signals in medicine and health are now being actively studied. Intriguingly, brain cells in the mammalian forebrain are one type of cell that secretes zinc, along with its other neuronal messenger substances. Cells in the salivary gland, prostate, immune system and intestine are other types that secrete zinc.

Zinc is an activator of certain enzymes, such as carbonic anhydrase. Carbonic anhydrase is important in the transport of carbon dioxide in vertebrate blood. It is also required in plants for leaf formation, the synthesis of indole acetic acid (auxin) and anaerobic respiration (alcoholic fermentation)

It is required for the enzyme activities necessary for cell division, cell growth, and wound healing. It plays a role in the acuity of the senses of smell and taste. Zinc is also involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates .

Zinc plays an important role in the transmission of signals between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and spinal cord, a new European study says.

Researchers bred mice with a mutation that affected a zinc receptor in neurons and found that the mice had tremors, altered transmission of visual signals, and were slower to right themselves when turned over than normal mice. The mutated mice also had an enhanced startle response to sudden noise.

Further investigation revealed that the mice had significant zinc-related abnormalities in the transmission of signals at the synapses (connections) among neurons, the study said.

For about 50 years, scientists have been trying to prove that zinc plays a role in neuronal signaling. The study appears to provide evidence of the importance of zinc in that process.

"The data presented in our paper disclose a pivotal role of ambient synaptic (zinc ion) for glycinergic neurotransmission in the context of normal animal behavior," the study authors wrote.

Zinc deficiency results from inadequate intake of zinc, or inadequate absorption of zinc into the body. Signs of zinc deficiency includes hair loss, skin lesions, diarrhea, wasting of body tissues, and, eventually, death. Eyesight, taste, smell and memory are also connected with zinc. A deficiency in zinc can cause malfunctions of these organs and functions. Congenital abnormalities causing zinc deficiency may lead to a disease called Acrodermatitis enteropathica.

Obtaining a sufficient zinc intake during pregnancy and in young children is a very real problem, especially among those who cannot afford a good and varied diet. Brain development is stunted by zinc insufficiency in utero and in youth.

The (US) recommended dietary allowance of zinc from puberty on is 11mg for males and 8mg for females, with higher amounts recommended during pregnancy and lactation.

High-protein foods contain high amounts of zinc. Beef, pork, and lamb contain more zinc than fish. The dark meat of a chicken has more zinc than the light meat.

Other good sources of zinc are peanuts, peanut butter, and legumes.

Fruits and vegetables are not good sources, because zinc in plant proteins is not as available for use by the body as the zinc from animal proteins. Therefore, low-protein diets and vegetarian diets tend to be low in zinc.

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