Zinc.....Just the Facts!

A mineral essential to the body, and has the chemical symbol-ZN. Zinc is a constituent of many enzymes that permit chemical reactions to proceed at normal rates. It is involved in the manufacture of protein (protein synthesis) and in cell division. Zinc is also a constituent of insulin and is concerned with the sense of smell. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowances of zinc are 12 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men. Food sources of zinc include meat including liver, eggs, seafood, nuts and cereal.

Deficiency of zinc is associated with short stature, anemia, increased pigmentation of skin (hyperpigmentation), enlarged liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly), impaired gonadal function (hypogonadism), impaired wound healing, and immune deficiency.

Too much zinc can cause gastrointestinal irritation (upset stomach), interfere with copper absorption and cause copper deficiency, and (like too little zinc) cause immune deficiency.

For more information about Nutrition & Zinc, see the following MedicineNet.com areas:


Last Editorial Review: 7/7/2004