Zinc is an essential trace element for humans, animals and plants. It is vital
for many biological functions and plays a crucial role in more than 300 enzymes
in the human body. The adult body contains about 2-3 grams of zinc. Zinc is
found in all parts of the body: it is in organs, tissues, bones, fluids and
cells. Muscles and bones contain most of the body’s zinc (90%). Particularly
high concentrations of zinc are in the prostate gland and semen.
Zinc – vital for growth and cell division
Zinc is especially important during pregnancy, for the growing fetus whose cells
are rapidly dividing. Zinc also helps to avoid congenital abnormalities and
pre-term delivery. Zinc is vital in activating growth – height, weight and bone
development – in infants, children and teenagers.
Zinc – vital for fertility
Zinc plays a vital role in fertility. In males, zinc protects the prostate gland
from infection (prostatitis) and ultimately from enlargement (prostatic
hypertrophy). Zinc helps maintain sperm count and mobility and normal levels of
In females, zinc can help treat menstrual problems and alleviate symptoms
associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Zinc – vital for the immune system
Among all the vitamins and minerals, zinc shows the strongest effect on our
all-important immune system. Zinc plays a unique role in the T-cells. Low zinc
levels lead to reduced and weakened T-cells which are not able to recognize and
fight off certain infections. An increase of the zinc level has proven effective
in fighting pneumonia and diarrhea and other infections. Zinc can also reduce
the duration and severity of a common cold.
Zinc – vital for taste, smell and appetite
Zinc activates areas of the brain that receive and process information from
taste and smell sensors. Levels of zinc in plasma and zinc’s effect on other
nutrients, like copper and manganese, influence appetite and taste preference.
Zinc is also used in the treatment of anorexia.
Zinc – vital for skin, hair and nails
Zinc accelerates the renewal of the skin cells. Zinc creams are used for babies
to soothe diaper rash and to heal cuts and wounds. Zinc has also proven
effective in treating acne, a problem that affects especially adolescents, and
zinc has been reported to have a positive effect on psoriasis and neurodermitis.
Zinc is also used as an anti-inflammatory agent and can help sooth the skin
tissue, particularly in cases of poison ivy, sunburn, blisters and certain gum
Zinc is important for healthy hair. Insufficient zinc levels may result in loss
of hair, hair that looks thin and dull and that goes grey early. There are also
a number of shampoos which contain zinc to help prevent dandruff.
Zinc – vital for vision
High concentrations of zinc are found in the retina. With age the retinal zinc
declines which seems to play a role in the development of age-related macular
degeneration (AMD), which leads to partial or complete loss of vision. Zinc may
also protect from night blindness and prevent the development of cataracts.