Many people know that supplementing their diet with zinc tablets can help prevent them from catching a cold. This is because high levels of zinc in the body cause subtle changes in the membranes of nasal cells, thus impeding the attempts of vapor-born viruses like cold and flu from penetrating these cells and gaining a foothold in the body. Few people, however, know that ten percent of Americans are actually zinc deficient, which means they don’t have even the minimum necessary level of zinc in their bodies to enable proper metabolic functioning.
The primary dietary source of zinc is meat, which means non-meat-eaters are at significant risk of this deficiency. The result of being zinc-deficient is increased DNA damage that leads to an increased risk for cancer and a variety of brain dysfunctions.
In general, taking a multi-vitamin with a complete range of minerals will ensure that a person doesn’t risk being zinc deficient. Supplementation with a zinc capsule once or twice a week can also be a safe precautionary measure. But taking a lot of zinc at one time and then not taking any more for a long time will have very little beneficial effect, just as drinking a lot of orange juice after a person has already contracted a cold or flu will likewise provide very little benefit. Regular small quantities of what is needed will enable the body to function properly; occasional mega-doses are of very low utility.