The study included data from 22 studies, including 16 that focused on children with acute diarrhea, and six that focused on children with persistent diarrhea.
Compared to placebo, the zinc supplements reduced the occurrence of both types of diarrhea by about 18 percent. The supplements also reduce stool frequency by about 19 percent in children with acute diarrhea, and 13 percent in those with persistent diarrhea.
However, most of the studies also found that zinc supplements were more likely to cause vomiting than placebo. Zinc is an essential trace mineral, and there are more biological roles for zinc than for all other trace elements put together. It plays a crucial role in such things as:
- Cell growth
- Keeping your immune system strong
- Stabilizing your metabolic rate
- Balancing your blood sugar
- Maintaining your sense of taste and smell
This could be a simple, and inexpensive, way to save the lives of millions of children who die from diarrhea worldwide every year. Another, perhaps even safer, option for treating diarrhea is to take a high-quality probiotic (good bacteria) -- and I advise everyone take probiotics with them when they travel overseas for this very reason.
Should YOU Take a Zinc Supplement?
Reading about all of zinc’s benefits, you may be wondering whether it’s a good idea to take a supplement, just in case. Well, about the only time you may want to consider one would be if you come down with a cold, as zinc lozenges (that you suck on, and don’t just swallow) may help to relieve your symptoms.
However, while zinc is an essential component of human nutrition and deficiency can result in some devastating symptoms, it is important to avoid the conventional paradigm approach to nutrients -- and that is often targeting a specific nutrient for a specific disease.
In reality, nothing is isolated in your body, and taking zinc indiscriminately can be quite problematic. For instance, zinc supplementation may:
- Cause you to become deficient in copper, which may lead to anemia
- Double your risk of prostate cancer (for men)
- Lead to nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and even diarrhea if you take too much
- Crimini mushrooms
- Sea vegetables
- Pumpkin seeds
- Green peas