What Are the Benefits of Zinc for Women?

by Lucy D'Berry, Demand Media
    Zinc is an important mineral that helps the body work properly.

    Zinc is an important mineral that helps the body work properly.

    Vitamins and minerals – consumed either through diet or supplements – help the body's systems work properly. Zinc aids the body in fighting off bacteria and viruses and promotes proper growth and development. While health professionals tout the benefits of zinc for everyone, some studies have found that maintaining a trace amount of the mineral in the body also can help women with problems unique to them.

    General Health Benefits

    Zinc offers health benefits to everyone. These range from speeding recovery from the common cold to preventing early age-related macular degeneration, which gradually causes vision loss, from progressing, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. MedlinePlus points out that zinc in the diet is important for wound healing and breaking down carbohydrates.
    Zinc deficiencies can lead to medical problems, such as poor appetite, loss of smell or taste, slow growth and wounds that take a long time to heal, according to Medline Plus.

    Eating Disorders

    A 2006 study published in "Eating and Weight Disorders" concluded that a zinc supplement should be prescribed for patients with anorexia nervosa; low zinc intake is common in these patients, according to the study. The Mayo Clinic cautions that the effectiveness of using zinc to treat eating disorders has been cited in small, low-quality studies and more studies are needed to determine the true effectiveness of the treatment.

    Menstrual Cramps and Mood Disorders

    The Mayo Clinic cites case report data suggesting zinc helps alleviate the pain of menstrual cramps, as well as improving mood states in young women. Epigee, a website focusing on women’s health developed by a clinical psychologist, suggests a healthy diet high in zinc, calcium and B vitamins helps to relieve cramps.

    Pregnancy and Childbirth

    While there is not enough evidence to suggest that zinc offers benefits during pregnancy, some studies indicate zinc could have a positive effect on blood pressure during pregnancy and reduce complications in labor and preterm deliveries, according to the Mayo Clinic.
    Pregnant women do need a higher recommended daily allowance of zinc because of fetal development according to Medline Plus. The Office of Dietary Supplements points out that the higher daily allowance not only helps with the baby’s development but also helps keep the mother from becoming zinc deficient. In addition, women who breastfeed need additional zinc supplementation.

    About the Author

    Lucy D'Berry has been a writer for nearly 30 years, specializing in nutrition and health issues, as well as in education and government. She has written for daily newspapers and edits a national magazine. She has earned both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in the communications field.

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