40% of seniors in the U.S. are zinc deficient.1
It’s not surprising… As you age, your ability to absorb zinc declines.2 This means the older you get, the more of it you need. You might have to go a little out of your way to get enough of it. But it’s worth the effort. Zinc is a major supporter of your immune system.3 And that’s just the beginning.
Here are five vital reasons to get more zinc as you age:
1. Protect Prostate Health: Ignoring the signs of an enlarged prostate (BPH) can lead to kidney and bladder problems—not to mention prostate cancer. Even the less serious problems—like frequent or painful urination—can be a serious inconvenience. Protect your prostate now to avoid problems later. And zinc is a great place to start. Not having enough can cause DNA damage in prostate cells. But high levels of zinc can promote cell death in BPH cells. This helps shrink your prostate gland down to a normal size, helping to alleviate and even prevent BPH symptoms.4
2. Preserve Hearing: Research shows that zinc’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects can help fight hearing loss. Having higher levels can improve the quality of hearing in people with sudden hearing loss.5 Another study found taking 50 mg a day for eight weeks reduces buzzing or ringing in the ears. It may very well work for you or someone you know: It’s effective in 82% of people.6
3. Increase Testosterone: After you turn 30, your testosterone (T) levels can drop by about one percent per year. By the time you’re in your 60s, your levels could be more than 30% lower. But getting enough can help you prevent T loss. One study found that restricting dietary zinc in healthy young men decreased their normal levels of T by almost 30%. That same study shows that older men taking a supplement can increase the amount of T in their blood by 50%.7 And this was without any changes to their normal diet, exercise routine, or lifestyle.
4. Build Stronger Bones in Women: Men aren’t the only ones who can benefit from taking zinc. Women may need it even more. Zinc helps prevent bone disease. Women with osteoporosis usually have lower levels of zinc.8 One study found that postmenopausal women taking a supplement helped slow their bone loss by 66%. Even more impressive is what happens when they added zinc to calcium, manganese, and copper supplementation. It helped these women increase their bone mineral density by 28% in two years.9
5. Prevent Heart Disease: One study found that low levels of zinc can increase heart event risk by almost 40% in people with type 2 diabetes.10 Even if you take diabetes out of the picture, zinc is can still support your heart health. It helps regulate heartbeat and function.11 Depriving your heart of zinc can put you at risk for heart disease—or worse.
Getting enough of this important mineral can have tremendous benefits for your overall health—especially as you age. The best way to give your body the zinc it needs is through your diet. Oysters pack a huge dose. You’ll also get it from grass-fed beef, spinach, asparagus, pumpkin seeds, and shiitake mushrooms. In addition, you can find a quality, food-derived supplement in health food stores and online.