What Are Zinc And Magnesium Good For?
Zinc and Magnesium are needed for a whole variety of bodily functions (mostly at a cellular level). However, each of these minerals has their own particular health benefits.
Benefits Of Zinc
Helps to soothe skin
Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties which helps to fight redness found in acne inflammation. Zinc is also used in the remodeling process of skin, which is important for healing skin and helps to prevent acne scarring.
Supports gut health
Zinc helps to maintain the mucosal layer of the gut, AKA the ‘filtering’ layer of the gut. This layer is needed to filter out bad bacteria and invading organisms, whilst allowing nutrients, minerals and good bacteria to pass through. Low levels of zinc may negatively impact the filtering capacity of the gut mucosa.
Zinc is important for the functioning of T-lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. These blood cells work within the innate immune system, which mounts an immediate response to an illness. This immune system is the first line of defence against illnesses.
Libido – or ‘sex drive’ – can be an indicator of overall health. Zinc is important for the storage of testosterone, the male sex hormone that is responsible for libido in both men and women. Zinc is also needed to maintain healthy sperm, an important aspect of fertility.
Supports healthy skin and nails
Zinc deficiency can lead symptoms such as hair loss, nail breakage, nail infections or general deterioration of nail health. Zinc is commonly found ‘beauty’ vitamins, as it may help to fight these symptoms, and promote the health of hair, skin and hails.
Prevention of mental health conditions
The role of zinc in the development of mental health conditions is still a relatively new area of research. However, zinc is known to be involved in the regulation of chemical signals within the brain. Low levels of zinc have been linked to mood disorders, as well as higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Zinc may help to prevent damage to the parts of the eye that receive images. These images are then sent to the brain for processing. Supplementation with zinc may help to prevent the development of degenerative eye conditions.
Benefits Of Magnesium
Magnesium may help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system; the part of the nervous system responsible for relaxation. Furthermore, magnesium has been shown to stimulate the release of melatonin, the hormone responsible for feelings of sleepiness at night.
Supports heart health and blood pressure
Levels of magnesium and calcium have a significant influence on blood pressure – magnesium promotes relaxation of blood vessels which in turn, leads to reduced blood pressure and reduced workload of the heart
Regulation of heart rhythms
Magnesium, when used as an adjunct therapy, has been found to be helpful in the stabilisation of abnormal heart rhythms. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to increased risk of developing heart rhythm abnormalities and other heart diseases.
Low levels of magnesium have been linked to low mood and increased self-reported anxiety. In contrast, supplementation has been shown to stimulate the production of serotonin, one of the ‘happy hormones’.
Reduction in PMS symptoms
When combined with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), magnesium has been shown to reduce symptoms of PMS. Low levels of magnesium are thought to both trigger and worsen PMS symptoms, including water retention, bloating, cramps, and mood changes.
Vitamin D metabolism
Magnesium is involved in the regulation of various vitamins, minerals and hormones, not just calcium and melatonin. Magnesium is needed for the absorption and utilisation of vitamin D – a nutrient important for immune function, energy levels, and bone health.
Prevention of cognitive decline
Supplementation with magnesium has been shown to prevent the cognitive decline associated with aging. Magnesium supports normal functioning of the chemical messengers in the brain. It also protects against damage caused by overstimulation of these messengers.
Natural Food Sources Of Zinc And Magnesium
The body is unable to synthesise its own zinc and magnesium; food and supplements can used to boost intake of these nutrients.
Foods High In Zinc
Zinc is mostly found in animal-based products such as meat and fish. However, there are plenty of plant-based sources of zinc available, which also usually come packaged with other minerals such as omega-fatty acids. Food sources of zinc include:
- Dairy products
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Pumpkin seeds
- Peanut butter
Foods High in Magnesium
Plant-based foods are excellent sources of magnesium; they also contain other nutrients such as iron, protein, and fibre. Whilst the science for bathing with magnesium salts is limited, anecdotal evidence suggests this is an alternative way to boost magnesium intake. Food sources of magnesium include:
- Chia seeds
- Cashew nuts
- Edamame beans
- Peanut butter
- White potatoes
- Pinto beans
- Soy milk
Zinc And Magnesium Supplements
Let’s explore some common questions about taking zinc and magnesium – the most commonly asked questions are regarding quantity and timing of supplementation.