Mineral Spotlight: Zinc


Mineral Spotlight: Zinc

Zinc is one of the 14 naturally-occurring dissolved minerals found in the geothermal waters at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

Zinc (Zn), No. 30 on the Periodic Table, is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. Some 11 million tons a year are mined for use in a wide variety of products. A liter of water from Iron Mountain Hot Springs contains .019 milligram of zinc.

Your body has about 2.5 grams of zinc, second only to iron among the elements. It is considered an element essential to life. Zinc is important in cellular metabolism and catalyzing some 100 enzymes as well as immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, cell division, and normal growth for infants and children. It affects your senses of taste and smell. Studies have shown that zinc can reduce the duration and severity of the common cold, especially when taken at the onset of symptoms. Zinc may also delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration.

The body does not store zinc. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for zinc is 11 milligrams for men, 8 milligrams for women and more if they are pregnant or nursing. Up to 40 milligrams is considered safe for most people. Oysters are by far the leading source of zinc with 74 milligrams in a three-ounce serving. Other good sources are beef, crab, fortified breakfast cereal, lobster, pork, baked means and the dark meat of chicken. The zinc in breads and plants is not as available to humans as zinc in animals, although leavening in bread improves its availability.

Zinc can also be absorbed through the skin, and soaking in Iron Mountain Hot Springs is the most relaxing way to get a dose of this vital mineral.

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Gene Stowe

Gene Stowe was a reporter for The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer for 13 years and head of the writing program at Trinity School at Greenlawn, a four-time U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School in South Bend, Ind., for 10 years before he became a full-time freelance writer in 2008. His first book, Inherit the Land: Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie’s Will, was published in 2006. He lives in Monroe, N.C.