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II. Zinc In Nature

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II.

Zinc in Nature

As you read these lines, the element of zinc is involved in important metabolic processes in your body. Feels good, doesn’t it? Because a deficiency would be manifested by symptoms of illness. We encounter zinc in many forms in living and inanimate nature.

We would like to show you here where we come into contact with the element zinc and where it can be found:

Allow: zinc

Zinc is one of the chemical elements. That means it is a pure substance that cannot be broken down into other substances. A zinc atom has a defined structure that determines its chemical, physical and also biological functions.

Zinc resources

Zinc is a natural and common component of the earth’s crust. If you rank the elements according to their frequency, zinc is in 24th position and is therefore more common than copper. It can be found in bound form in ores. The most common compounds are zinc sulfide ores (sphalerite or wurtzite). These contain up to 65% zinc. Countries with large zinc deposits include North America, South America, Australia, China and Kazakhstan. There were also zinc deposits in Germany, for example in the Sauerland, Rhineland or Harz. Urban mining is becoming increasingly important for zinc production. Zinc sheet, which is installed today, is the raw material for future zinc production. Until then, a lot of time passes because zinc sheet lasts so long. Today zinc is recycled, which was used in construction fifty or more years ago.

Zinc is vital

Zinc is a vital trace element for many living things – including humans. Our body cannot produce zinc itself. This means that we have to ingest zinc as an essential trace element with our food. Good sources of zinc include red meats, fish and seafood, milk and whole grain products, wheat germ, oil seeds, nuts and lentils.
(“Zinc in Human Health”, published by Lothar Rink, IOS Press 2011, online at: http://ebooks.iospress.nl/volume/zinc-in-human-health), (“Zinc: the metal of life”, Kuljeet Kaur et al, in Comprehensive reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Volume 13 (2014), online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12067/epdf)

Zinc is a “provider”

Whether zinc can be absorbed well by an organism depends on the bioavailability. For example, certain substances can inhibit the absorption of zinc in the body. These include compounds in cereals (phytates) or in tea or coffee (tannins). But don’t worry: people in modern industrialized countries are usually adequately supplied with zinc with a balanced diet. The situation is different in poorer countries where malnutrition can prevail. Children in growth can be affected by zinc deficiency here. (www.zincsaveskids.org) According to the WHO, the recommended daily amount for zinc supply is 10 to 15 mg zinc per day. Zinc cannot be stored by the body and must therefore be supplied continuously. Too much zinc is excreted again.
(“Zinc in Human Health”, published by Lothar Rink, IOS Press 2011, online at: http://ebooks.iospress.nl/volume/zinc-in-human-health), (“Zinc: the metal of life”, Kuljeet Kaur et al, in Comprehensive reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Volume 13 (2014), online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12067/epdf)

Zinc is healthy

Zinc is involved in many processes in the body. For example, on defense against pathogens, wound healing, on the visual process and on growth processes. It is involved in building up the genetic material and is part of many hormones. Without zinc we cannot concentrate well, lose our performance and get sick.
(“Zinc in Human Health”, published by Lothar Rink, IOS Press 2011, online at: http://ebooks.iospress.nl/volume/zinc-in-human-health), (“Zinc: the metal of life”, Kuljeet Kaur et al, in Comprehensive reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Volume 13 (2014), online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1541-4337.12067/epdf)

Zinc is in constant circulation

In fact, zinc is in a constant cycle in our environment. Zinc from the soil and rock is washed out by weather influences, mostly water, and reaches rivers, lakes and the sea. Via animals and plants that absorb zinc from the water and then through the food chain, zinc becomes an important building block in the organism – in plants as well as in animals. In addition to zinc from natural sources, there is also zinc from man-made sources in nature. These include zinc inputs from zinc processing, emissions from power plants, households and from industrial companies without a direct zinc supply, as well as applications. In general, the natural zinc cycle is much more important than that caused by humans. At a local level, zinc flow through humans can also have a greater impact.
(IZA, “Zinc in the Environment”, 2014)

Zinc is also found in plants

Plants also need zinc. If this element is missing, the plant cannot grow properly and remains small. The green plant pigment can also not be formed, which is shown by a pale to almost white leaf color. The reason for a zinc deficiency mostly lies in the condition of the soil, where the plants can hardly absorb the zinc present in the soil. This can be due to high phosphate levels, high pH values ​​or too high a lime content. In some areas of the world, the soil has too little zinc per se. Farmers can use zinc-containing fertilizers to compensate for the lack of zinc at plant locations. In parallel, crops are cultivated in such a way that they can absorb zinc and other important nutrients from the soil particularly well.
(S. Das, A. Green, “Importance of zinc in crops and human health”, ICRISAT, 2013)

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