Zinc: What You Need To Know

Zinc is a nutrient in your body that plays many important roles.

Since zinc is not created by your body naturally, you must obtain it through food or supplements.

What is Zinc?

Zinc is considered an essential nutrient, which means it can't be produced or processed by your body. You must get a constant supply from your diet for this reason.

For numerous processes in your body, zinc is needed, including:

  • DNA synthesis

  • Enzymatic reactions

  • Gene expression

  • Growth and development

  • Immune function

  • Protein synthesis

  • Wound healing

In a large range of both plant and animal foods, zinc is naturally present. Foods which do not naturally contain this mineral are often fortified with synthetic sources of zinc, such as breakfast cereals, snack bars and baking flour.

You may also take supplements with zinc or supplements with several nutrients that contain zinc. Zinc is likewise applied to some nasal sprays, lozenges and other natural cold remedies due to its role in immune function.


Zinc is a vital mineral which is used in countless ways by your body. In fact, zinc, after iron, is the second most abundant trace mineral in your body and is present in every cell. For the activity of over 300 enzymes which help in metabolism, digestion, nerve function and many other processes, zinc is essential.

Furthermore, it is essential for the growth and function of immune cells. This mineral is also central to the development of skin protection, DNA synthesis and protein. What's more, because of its role in cell growth and division, body growth and development rely on zinc.

For your senses of taste and smell, zinc is also necessary. Since this nutrient is dependent on one of the enzymes crucial for proper taste and smell, a zinc deficiency will decrease your ability to taste or smell.

Health Benefits

Boosts Your Immune System

Zinc helps preserve the strength of the immune system. A deficiency can lead to a weakened immune response because it is required for immune cell function and cell signaling.

Supplements of zinc activate various immune cells and decrease oxidative stress. A analysis of seven studies, for example, found that 80-92 mg of zinc per day would minimize the duration of the common cold by up to 33 percent. In addition, zinc supplements greatly reduce the risk of infections in older adults and enhance immune response.

Accelerates Wound Healing

As a cure for burns, some ulcers and other skin injuries, zinc is widely used in hospitals. It is essential for proper healing because this mineral plays a critical role in collagen synthesis, immune function and inflammatory response.

Your skin currently holds a relatively high amount of the zinc content of your body, about 5 percent. Although zinc deficiency can delay wound healing, in individuals with wounds, supplementation with zinc can speed recovery.

May Reduce the Risk of Certain Age-Related Diseases

Your risk of age-related diseases such as pneumonia, infection and age-related macular degeneration may be substantially decreased by zinc (AMD).

By boosting the activity of T-cells and natural killer cells, which help protect your body from infection, zinc can relieve oxidative stress and improve immune response.

May Help Treat Acne

It is estimated that acne is a common skin disorder that affects up to 9.4 percent of the global population. Obstruction of oil-producing glands, bacteria and inflammation is driven by acne.

By reducing inflammation, inhibiting the growth of P. acnes bacteria, and suppressing oily gland development, studies indicate that both topical and oral zinc treatments can effectively treat acne. People that have acne appear to have lower zinc levels. Supplements can, therefore, help reduce symptoms.

Decreases Inflammation

Zinc lowers oxidative stress and decreases levels in your body of such inflammatory proteins. Chronic inflammation, a contributing factor in a wide variety of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and mental deterioration, is caused by oxidative stress.

Toxicity and Dosage Recommendations

Much as zinc deficiency can cause health problems, harmful side effects can also be caused by excessive consumption.

Too much supplementary zinc, which can cause both acute and chronic effects, is the most common cause of zinc toxicity.

Toxicity symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Decreased “good” HDL cholesterol levels

  • Diarrhea

  • Headaches

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Reduced immune function

Deficiencies in other nutrients can also be caused by ingesting too much zinc. Chronic high ingestion of zinc, for instance, will interfere with your copper and iron absorption. In people who ingest only moderately high doses of zinc, 60 mg per day, for 10 weeks, decreases in copper levels have also been recorded.

Recommended Dosages

Keep away from high-dose zinc supplements to prevent overconsumption, unless approved by a physician.

For adult men, the recommended daily intake (RDI) is 11 mg, and for adult women, 8 mg.

11 and 12 mg per day should be eaten by pregnant and breastfeeding women, respectively.

You can easily hit the RDI for zinc by diet alone, unless a medical condition is hindering absorption. For zinc, the tolerable upper amount is 40 mg per day. This does not, however, refer to individuals with zinc deficiencies who may have to take high-dose supplements.

Choose absorbable sources, such as zinc citrate or zinc gluconate, when taking supplements. Keep away from the poorly absorbed zinc oxide.

To Sum It Up

For DNA synthesis, immune function, metabolism and growth, zinc is necessary. Inflammation and the risk of certain age-related illnesses may be minimized. Most people have a dietary RDI of 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women, but older adults and people with diseases that impede the absorption of zinc may need supplementation.

Because high-dose zinc supplements can cause harmful side effects, it is important to adhere to the guidelines and take supplements only if appropriate.

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