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Zinc
Recommended daily allowance: 15 mg (milligrams)

Symptoms of deficiency: Sterility, low sperm count, delayed wound healing, loss of taste and smell, rashes, alopecia, skin lesions.

Benefits: Promotes normal fetal growth, helps synthesize DNA and RNA, promotes cell function, anti-oxidant, may relieve angina and cirrhosis of liver, boosts immunity, aids in cataract treatment.

Good food sources: Eggs, whole grains, nuts, red meat, sesame seeds, maple syrup, poultry.

Cautions: Consult a doctor if you have stomach or duodenal ulcers.

Substance interactions: Lowers zinc blood levels: Diuretics, oral contraceptives, alcohol and coffee. Zinc interferes with the absorption of calcium supplements. Zinc and tetracycline should be taken 2 hours apart since the medication decreases the amount of zinc absorbed into the blood stream.

Signs of toxicity: Very low toxicity at normal doses. Overdose produces drowsiness, lethargy, vomiting.

* Consult your doctor before taking zinc supplements. It is best to stay within the 15 mg daily recommended daily allowance.

* Zinc helps the body to maintain healthy cell function. It helps the body to build new immune system cells to help fend off viral infections. It helps heal cuts and wounds. It's important for the production of collagen. It combines with vitamin A to maintain healthy eye function.

* It is not recommended taking more than 30 mg of zinc daily as it can increase the risk of developing anemia. It may also lower HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels, while raising the LDL levels (bad cholesterol). Mega-doses of zinc have been shown to decrease mental functioning in people with Alzheimer's.

* Dairy and bran products may decrease zinc absorption. High proteins foods (meats and eggs) increase absorption.

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