Why do we need zinc?
Zinc is needed for many of the chemical reactions which are going on inside us all the time at micro-level. Zinc is also needed for:
- Our immune systems to work well to fight off infection.
- Healing of wounds.
- Building the proteins and molecules which are the basis of all our cells.
- Taste, smell and good vision.
Where do we get zinc from?
Zinc is readily available in many foods including:
- Red meat
- Chicken and other poultry
- Seafood, particularly oysters (which are loaded with zinc), crab and lobster
- Grains, beans, lentils and split peas
- Dairy products - milk, yoghurt, cheese
- Fortified breakfast cereal.
What happens if we don't have enough, or too much of it?
Not having enough zinc can cause a whole host of physical symptoms, ranging from mild to life-threatening. Occasionally, people become ill from having too much zinc (zinc toxicity)
Further reading and references
Evans JR, Lawrenson JG; Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements for slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Nov 1411:CD000254. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000254.pub3.
Singh M, Das RR; Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 186:CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub4.
Lazzerini M, Wanzira H; Oral zinc for treating diarrhoea in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Dec 2012:CD005436. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005436.pub5.
Allan GM, Arroll B; Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence. CMAJ. 2014 Feb 18186(3):190-9. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.121442. Epub 2014 Jan 27.
Saper RB, Rash R; Zinc: an essential micronutrient. Am Fam Physician. 2009 May 179(9):768-72.
Zinc. Consumer Fact Sheet; National Institute of Health Office of dietary supplements
Acrodermatitis enteropathica; DermNet NZ
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.