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Zinc is a nutrient that supports growth and the immune system during childhood. Low zinc levels can increase a person’s risk of illness and illness.

Zinc supports a number of functions in the human body . In addition to supporting the immune system, it enables the body to make protein and DNA, contributes to wound healing, and plays a role in childhood growth and development. Also possess antioxidant properties.

Zinc occurs naturally in many foods such as beans, meat, and fish. It is also available as a dietary supplement.

This article looks at the health benefits of zinc, what happens when a person does not have enough zinc, and useful resources.

Immune Function

The body needs zinc for the immune system to function properly. Low zinc levels can increase the risk of infections such as pneumonia.

Treatment of diarrhea

There is evidence that it can shorten bouts of diarrhea, especially in those who do not eat a nutritious diet.

Wound healing

Zinc plays a role in maintaining healthy skin.

People with long-term wounds or ulcers often have low zinc levels. Health professionals may recommend zinc supplements for people with permanent wounds.

Research from 2018 states that zinc plays a key role at every stage of wound healing, from skin repair to preventing infections. The authors call for further study to determine exactly how zinc works in healing wounds. They say this could lead to new treatments for wounds that are difficult to heal.

Chronic illness

Zinc has antioxidant properties. Therefore, it can help reduce oxidative stress. Scientists believe there is a link between oxidative stress and chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and other aspects of metabolic syndrome.

Research from 2018 suggests that zinc may help prevent metabolic syndrome. They suggest more studies to determine how zinc affects health and to see if supplementation would be beneficial as a treatment.

Age-related macular degeneration

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), zinc prevents cell damage to the retina and may help delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss. However, it is unlikely to prevent degeneration.

The authors of the 2020 study found that a zinc deficiency may play a role in improving this degeneration. They want more research and suggest that zinc may contribute to new treatment approaches.

Overall, some studies suggest that supplementation can help, but the evidence is not conclusive.

Sexual health

Low zinc levels can lead to delayed sexual development, fertility problems and other sexual health problems in men.

The authors of the 2018 study describe zinc as essential for men’s sexual health. The reasons for this may include zinc’s role as an antioxidant and hormone stabilizer.

However, while zinc deficiency can have an adverse effect, too much zinc can lead to toxicity, which can be detrimental to sperm.

Anyone considering zinc supplements to support their sexual health should speak to a doctor.

Because zinc plays a role in wound healing, there is some evidence that it can help treat some skin conditions.

Studies show that zinc can help treat:

  • Acne vulgaris
  • Hidradenitis süpürativa
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Diaper dermatitis


Zinc plays an important role in bone formation and health and may help prevent osteoporosis, according to research in 2020 .

However, it remains unclear whether zinc supplementation can prevent this condition, and more research needs to be done.

Neurological symptoms

A small study from 2020 concluded that there may be a link between low zinc levels and neurological symptoms.

The researchers looked at 63 people with headaches, tingling, and peripheral neuropathy, as well as deficiencies in zinc and other micronutrients.

After treating these deficiencies, the participants reported an improvement in their neurological symptoms. However, the researchers agree that more research needs to be done.

Common cold

One review suggests that studies from 2011 may help shorten the duration of zinc lozenges for colds, but only with daily doses of over 75 milligrams (mg).

Overall, studies looking at the use of zinc for colds have been of poor quality. There is no reliable evidence that taking zinc prevents the common cold.

Also, the NIH warns that zinc can affect the sense of smell. Talk to a doctor before using nasal sprays or zinc-containing gels, as the damage can be long-lasting or permanent.

Learning and memory

Some research in rodents shows that zinc can increase cognitive function. In a 2017 study, mice taking zinc supplements performed better on tasks involving thinking and memory.

However, there seems to be insufficient evidence that zinc can improve memory or learning in humans.

Zinc and COVID-19

Some researchers have suggested that maintaining adequate zinc levels could possibly provide some protection against COVID-19.

A 2020 review states that zinc helps boost the immune system and protect mucous membranes. People with zinc deficiency appear to be at higher risk of various infections, including pneumonia.

However, it is important to note that while zinc can improve a person’s overall health and ability to resist disease, there is currently no evidence that it can prevent or treat COVID-19.

Also, some zinc products can cause a permanent loss of odor.

Recommended Taking

Adequate zinc intake is especially important for children because it plays a role in their development.

The table below shows the recommended daily amount of zinc based on a person’s age and sex:

Age Male Woman
0-6 months 2 mg 2 mg
7-12 months 3 mg 3 mg
1-3 years 3 mg 3 mg
4-8 years 5 mg 5 mg
9–13 years 8 mg 8 mg
14–18 years 11 mg 9 mg
19 years and older 11 mg 8 mg

Higher zinc intake is required during pregnancy and lactation, because newborn babies and babies up to 6 months of age receive zinc through breast milk.


Good sources of zinc include:

  • Beans
  • Meats
  • Hazelnut
  • The fish
  • Sea ​​products
  • Whole grain cereal
  • Dairy products
  • Some fortified foods

Anyone on a plant-based diet may need additional zinc because the zinc in these foods is more difficult to absorb by the body.


Zinc is available in capsules, tablets, creams, ointments and liquid form.

Adults aged 19 and over who are interested in using zinc supplements should be careful not to consume more than 40 mg per day. Too much zinc can cause health problems.

Zinc supplements can be purchased online. But before trying it, consult a doctor.


Zinc deficiency can increase the risk of a variety of problems, including:

  • Delayed growth in children
  • Anorexia
  • Taste changes
  • Higher risk of infection
  • Fertility problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Problems with wound healing
  • Eye and skin lesions
  • Problems with thinking

According to research conducted in 2017, there is strong evidence that low zinc levels can increase the risk of infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, measles and pneumonia.

Zinc deficiency is often caused by malnutrition, but can also be caused by malabsorption and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, liver disease and sickle cell disease.

Zinc Toxicity

Zinc has many health benefits, but consuming too much can be harmful. Possible side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea

Over -intake of 150-450 mg per day can over time lead to:

  • Low copper levels
  • Changes in iron function
  • Reduced immune function
  • Decreased levels of ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • Urogenital problems

Zinc can also interact with antibiotics and diuretics.


Zinc is essential to health and plays a key role in childhood development, immune system, wound healing, and other functions.

It is best to obtain it from foods such as zinc, beans, seafood, and fortified products. If there is a risk of deficiency, the doctor may prescribe supplements.

People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on a plant-based diet require extra zinc. However, as always, consult a doctor before using a supplement.

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