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Zinc is a common and essential nutrient found to play many key roles in the health and function of the human body. In fact, it’s one of the most abundant minerals in the body, second only to iron [1].

With that said, because zinc isn’t naturally produced by the body, it must be consumed through one’s diet or supplementation regimen. Unfortunately, similar to iron, zinc is a common deficiency among Americans and other populations around the world. The NHANES III study indicated that 35-45% of adults 60 and older had below average intakes of zinc.

What follows will be a discussion of the roles of zinc and the benefits it provides for our health. As you’ll learn, zinc is vital for wound healing, among other things. This article, however, will have a specific focus on its wound healing properties.

The Benefits of Zinc

As mentioned, the benefits of zinc are vast, especially when it comes to one’s health and wellness. Not only does it play a role in immune function but also plays a critical role in gene expression, biological growth & development, and wound healing, among other systems.

Below is a summary of the several benefits you can come to expect from being proficient in zinc, or at the very least, supplementing with zinc:

  •   Boosts immune system
  •   Reduces inflammation
  •   Promotes longevity
  •   Reduces age-related degeneration
  •   Improves and accelerates wound healing

Although more research certainly needs to be done on the matter, zinc has also been positively correlated to a reduced risk of certain diseases, and even autoimmune conditions like acne [2].

In order to experience any or all of these benefits, however, you must consume a diet rich in zinc, and at the very least, supplement with proper dosages of zinc on a consistent basis.

 

Zinc Supplementation & Deficiency

As mentioned above, and based on some basic statistics, it’s probable that you’re deficient in zinc. As such, supplementation is the likely solution. However, it’s not as simple as picking up the first zinc product that you see on the shelf.

Instead, there are several types of zinc, each with its own characteristics, pros and cons when it comes to health improvement.

Below are the various types of zinc supplements:

  •   TRAACS®Zinc Glycinate Chelate [3]
  •   Zinc Acetate
  •   Zinc Sulfate
  •   Zinc Citrate
  •   Zinc Gluconate
  •   Zinc Orotate
  •   Zinc Picolinate
  •   Zinc Monomethionine

When it comes to wound healing, chelated zinc (TRAACS®Zinc Glycinate Chelate) seems to be the superior choice. Why? Because it’s the easiest form of zinc for the body to absorb. In fact, without the chelating agent, it’s quite difficult for the human body to efficiently absorb any form of zinc. The current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of zinc for healthy adults is 11 mg for males and 8 mg for females.

 

Zinc & Wound Healing

Because of its role in DNA synthesis, cell division, immune function, and protein synthesis, among other circumstances, zinc is an ideal healing agent for wounds. Why? Because all of the aforementioned processes are critical and necessary for tissue regeneration and repair [5].

Moreover, zinc doesn’t just play a small, indirect role in the wound healing process. On the contrary, zinc happens to play a major role in every phase of the wound healing process; from membrane repair, scar formation, immune defense, coagulation, and inflammation reduction, among other processes [6]. Similarly, with a heavily draining wound, zinc can also be lost from the body’s stores. 

As you can see, the role of zinc in relation to wound healing and the general consequences of developing a wound is critical.

While zinc is strongly correlated to the success of healing a wound, research is still being conducted for determining its true powers. 

For wound healing, some wound care protocols recommend taking a zinc supplement with elemental zinc, such as zinc sulfate or zinc gluconate. 220 mg of zinc sulfate has 50 mg of elemental zinc. Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 40 mg for daily intake, defined as the maximum amount likely to result in adverse effects on health. 220 mg of zinc sulfate twice daily provides 100 mg of elemental zinc, which is 60 mg over the UL for the mineral. 

With that said, I prefer my patients to take up to 50mg of elemental zinc when treating an active wound.  I have personally witnessed great success with my patients using this dose.  

For those looking for an all in one wound care supplement, I recommend using WoundVite™, which contains Zinc Glycinate Chelate plus 20 other high potency minerals, vitamins and herbs used synergistically to support the intricate healing process. 

Final Thoughts

In summary, zinc is an inevitably essential nutrient and trace mineral in the body. Not only does it play several roles that impact the health and well-being of the human body, but it also offers several health benefits as a result.

With that said, while zinc has been associated with such hypotheses, more research certainly needs to be done on the matter before conclusively prescribing zinc as a primary solution to things like wound healing.

Nevertheless, though it can’t yet be conclusively stated, there’s no doubt that the research on zinc and its benefits thus far is promising.

At the very least, everyone should be encouraged to consume a diet rich in minerals such as zinc and iron, just to name a few, and if they happen to discover that they are deficient, supplementation is the most effective approach to reversing it.

 

References

 

https://www.woundsource.com/blog/does-zinc-supplementation-accelerate-wound-healing

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793244/

https://www.woundscanada.ca/docman/public/wound-care-canada-magazine/2016-14-no3/126-the-role-of-zinc-in-wound-healing/file

https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-zinc/art-20366112

 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc-supplements 

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11111-nutrition-guidelines-to-improve-wound-healing

https://www.healthline.com/health/chelated-zinc

 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/