Zinc is often touted as a preventative for the common cold. Did you know it can also help repair certain types of skin ailments such as hemorrhoids? Zinc deficiency can reduce tissue integrity and immune system response, leading to slower wound healing. This means that if you have hemorrhoids, and a zinc deficiency too, you may be able to help your hemorrhoids heal – simply by taking a dietary supplement.
Studies have proved that our bodies need a daily minimum amount of zinc in order to maintain the integrity of skin and mucosal membranes. Most adult males need at least 11 mg daily, and adult females 8 mg (pregnant and lactating, up to 12 mg). Our bodies don’t store zinc very well, so we need it every day.
People who don’t get enough zinc, or who have medical conditions that lead to deficiency, may suffer from slower than normal wound healing. This can lead to impaired skin and tissues including ulcerations, boils, and hemorrhoids.
Vegetarians are the largest population at risk for zinc deficiency. Vegetarians may not get enough because they don’t eat one main source of dietary zinc – meat. (Did you know that oysters have the highest concentration by far? Six medium oysters provide over 500% of the daily recommended allowance!)
If you are vegetarian and suffering skin disorders as a result of zinc deficiency, add to your diet the following foods: sprouted beans (sprouting increases absorption of the zinc in beans), milk products, cashews, and leavened breads. If you are unable to eat these foods, consider taking a zinc dietary supplement.
Other people who may need zinc supplementation are:
- pregnant or nursing women;
- people with sickle cell disorder;
- people with digestive disorders.
Always ask your doctor before starting a supplement program. Zinc is usually not meant to be taken on a long-term basis. High doses (more than 40 mg per day) can be harmful. Your doctor can advise you on safe supplements that meet your particular needs.
As you probably know, skin products containing zinc oxide can protect skin from sun damage and relieve anal irritations. For example, zinc oxide is commonly used in diaper rash ointment. Too much can actually irritate the skin though, so use with a light hand.
In cases of true dietary deficiency, a limited course of supplements can help restore skin integrity. Or try safe ointments containing zinc, guaranteed to protect skin while it heals.