Zinc

Zinc: Main Image

Zinc is an essential mineral that is a component of more than 300 enzymes needed to repair wounds, maintain fertility in adults and growth in children, synthesize protein, help cells reproduce, preserve vision, boost immunity, and protect against free radicals, among other functions.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Acne Vulgaris
60 to 90 mg daily3 stars[3 stars]
Several double-blind trials indicate that taking zinc reduces acne severity. Long-term use requires 1 to 2 mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency.
Acrodermatitis
30 to 150 mg per day under a doctor's supervision3 stars[3 stars]
Supplementing with the correct amount of zinc can completely resolve hereditary acrodermatitis enteropathica
Common Cold and Sore Throat
Use 13 to 25 mg as gluconate, gluconate-glycine, or acetate in lozenges every two hoursas Zinc Lozenges3 stars[3 stars]
Zinc lozenges used at the first sign of a cold have been shown to help stop the virus and shorten the illness.
Down’s Syndrome
1 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight daily3 stars[3 stars]
Zinc may improve immune function, reduce infection rates, and stimulate growth. Take under a doctor’s supervision.
Male Infertility
60 mg (plus 2 mg of copper, to prevent depletion) daily 3 stars[3 stars]
Zinc deficiency leads to reduced numbers of sperm and impotence in men. Taking zinc may correct this problem and improve sperm quality.
Night Blindness
If deficient: 15 to 30 mg daily (with 1 to 2 mg copper daily, to prevent depletion)3 stars[3 stars]
A lack of zinc may reduce the activity of retinol dehydrogenase, an enzyme needed to help vitamin A work in the eye. Zinc helps night blindness in people who are zinc-deficient.
Wilson’s Disease
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner3 stars[3 stars]
Supplementing with zinc may help reduce dietary copper absorption.
Wound Healing
30 mg daily (with 2 mg copper daily to prevent depletion), or apply topical zinc preparations regularly3 stars[3 stars]
Zinc is a component of enzymes needed to repair wounds, and even a mild deficiency can interfere with optimal recovery from everyday tissue damage.
Acne Rosacea
23 mg three times per day for three months2 stars[2 stars]
In a double-blind study, zinc supplements decreased the rosacea severity by about 75%. Long-term zinc users should also take a copper supplement to prevent deficiency.
Alcohol Withdrawal
Take under medical supervision: 135 to 215 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with zinc may correct the deficiency common in alcoholic liver cirrhosis and may correct the impaired taste function that people with cirrhosis often experience.
Anorexia
50 mg a day (with 1 to 3 mg copper daily, to protect against depletion)2 stars[2 stars]
People with anorexia may be deficient in zinc, in which case supplementing with the mineral can restore levels and improve symptoms.
Attention Deficit–Hyperactivity Disorder
If deficient: 15 mg per day2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, children with ADHD who received zinc showed significantly greater behavioral improvement, compared with children who received a placebo.
Birth Defects
15 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Many doctors recommend a zinc-containing multivitamin to all women of childbearing age who may become pregnant for its potential role in preventing neural tube defects.
Bulimia
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
People with bulimia may be deficient in zinc, in which case supplementing with the mineral can restore levels and improve symptoms.
Canker Sores
150 mg daily plus 1 to 2 mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency 2 stars[2 stars]
Zinc deficiency has been linked with recurrent canker sores, so treating the deficiency may lead to relief. Long-term zinc supplementation requires extra copper to avoid deficiency.
Celiac Disease
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
The malabsorption that occurs in celiac disease can lead to multiple nutritional deficiencies. Supplementing with zinc may correct a deficiency.
Cold Sores
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Topically applied zinc appears to inhibit the replication of the herpes virus and help prevent future outbreaks. Use topical zinc only under a doctor’s supervision.
Common Cold and Sore Throat
For prevention: 15 mg daily; for treating colds: 30 mg daily at the onsetas Zinc Oral2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, oral zinc supplementation significantly reduced both the incidence and duration of the common cold.
Crohn’s Disease
25 to 50 mg of zinc (with 2 to 4 mg of copper to avoid depletion) per day 2 stars[2 stars]
Zinc is needed to repair intestinal cells damaged by Crohn’s disease. Supplementation may offset some of the deficiency caused by Crohn’s-related malabsorption.
Eczema
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
In a preliminary study, eczema severity and itching improved significantly more in the children who received zinc than in the control group.
Genital Herpes
Apply a topical preparation containing 0.025 to 0.9% zinc several times per day2 stars[2 stars]
Applying zinc topically may help prevent outbreaks and has been shown to stop the pain, burning, and tingling of a herpes outbreak.
Halitosis
Regularly use a mouthrinse or toothpaste containing zincas Zinc Chloride2 stars[2 stars]
Zinc is able to reduce the concentration of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth, thus lessening halitosis.
Hepatitis and Hepatitis C
Take zinc L-carnosine supplying 17 mg zinc twice per day2 stars[2 stars]
In a preliminary trial, supplementing with betaine improved signs of liver inflammation in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a type of liver inflammation.
HIV and AIDS Support
12 to 45 mg daily 2 stars[2 stars]
Zinc levels are frequently low in people with HIV infection. Zinc supplements have been shown to reduce the number of infections in people with AIDS.
Infection
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
Zinc deficiencies can impair immune function. Supplementing with zinc has been shown to increase immune function in healthy people. Zinc lozenges have been found helpful in against the common cold.
Infectious Diarrhea
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
Two of the nutrients that may not be absorbed efficiently as a result of diarrhea are zinc and vitamin A, both needed to fight infections.
Liver Cirrhosis
Take under medical supervision: 135 to 215 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with zinc may correct the deficiency common in alcoholic liver cirrhosis and may correct the impaired taste function that people with cirrhosis often experience.
Macular Degeneration
45 mg daily (with 1 to 2 mg of copper to protect against depletion)2 stars[2 stars]
Two important enzymes in the retina that are needed for vision require zinc. In one trial, zinc supplementation significantly reduced the rate of visual loss in people with macular degeneration.
Peptic Ulcer
25 to 50 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with zinc may help speed the repair of damaged stomach tissue.
Peptic Ulcer

(Carnosine)
150 mg of zinc carnosine complex twice per day2 stars[2 stars]
Studies have shown that a zinc salt of the amino acid carnosine protects against ulcer formation and promotes the healing of existing ulcers.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
Use a prenatal supplement that includes zinc2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, women who used a zinc-containing nutritional supplement before and after conception had a 36% decreased chance of having a baby with a neural tube defect.
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Deficient zinc levels have been reported in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Some trials have found that supplementing with zinc reduces rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Sickle Cell Anemia
Take under medical supervision: 100 mg of zinc (plus 2 mg of copper daily to protect against depletion)2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with zinc appears to help prevent cell damage and speed healing of leg ulcers associated with sickle cell anemia.
Skin Ulcers
Take under medical supervision: 50 mg of zinc (plus 1 to 3 mg of copper daily, to prevent depletion) and apply zinc-containing bandages or tape to the area2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with zinc may help some types of skin ulcer by facilitating tissue growth.
Sprains and Strains
Take under medical supervision: 25 to 50 mg daily ( plus 1 to 3 mg of copper daily, to prevent depletion)2 stars[2 stars]
Zinc helps with healing. Even a mild deficiency can interfere with optimal recovery from everyday tissue damage and more serious trauma.
Thalassemia
If deficient: 22.5 to 90 mg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Researchers have reported improved growth rates in zinc-deficient thalassemic children who were given zinc supplements.
Tinnitus
Take under medical supervision: 90 mg daily (with 2 or 3 mg per day of copper to prevent depletion)2 stars[2 stars]
For people deficient in zinc, supplementing with zinc may help improve their tinnitus.
Type 1 Diabetes
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with zinc may lower blood sugar levels and improve immune function in people with type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
15 to 25 mg per day2 stars[2 stars]
People with type 2 diabetes tend to be zinc deficient, supplementing with zinc may help restore levels.
Warts
Take under medical supervision: 2.25 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) body weight, up to 135 mg per day2 stars[2 stars]
In one study, supplementing with zinc, resulted in complete disappearance of warts in 87% of people treated.
Athletic Performance
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Exercise depletes zinc, and severe zinc deficiency can compromise muscle function. One trial found that zinc improved muscle strength, and another study of athletes with low zinc levels found that zinc improved red blood cell flexibility during exercise, which could benefit blood flow to the muscles.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Zinc has been shown to reduce prostate size in some studies. If you are taking 30 mg or more of zinc per day, most doctors recommend adding 2 to 3 mg of copper to avoid deficiency.
Childhood Diseases
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Zinc is a mineral antioxidant nutrient that the immune system requires. Supplementing with it increases immune activity in people with certain illnesses.
Cystic Fibrosis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
The malabsorption produced by cystic fibrosis may adversely affect zinc absorption. Supplementing with zinc can help counteract this deficiency.
Depression
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In one study, the addition of a zinc supplement enhanced the beneficial effects of antidepressants.
Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Supplementing with zinc can counteract the nutrient deficiency that often occurs as a result of malabsorption.
Ear Infections
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Zinc stimulates immune function, so some doctors recommend zinc supplements for people with recurrent ear infections.
Gastritis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Zinc is helpful in healing peptic ulcers, which can occur in some types of gastritis.
Gestational Hypertension
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In one study, supplementing with zinc reduced the incidence of gestational hypertension in a group of pregnant Hispanic women who were not zinc deficient.
Goiter
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Deficiencies of zinc can contribute to iodine-deficiency goiter. Supplementing with zinc may help.
Hypoglycemia
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Zinc helps control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, and since there are similarities in the way the body regulates high and low blood sugar levels, it might be helpful for hypoglycemia as well.
Hypothyroidism
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In people with low zinc, supplementing with zinc may increased thyroid hormone levels.
Immune Function
25 mg daily1 star[1 star]
Zinc supplements have been reported to increase immune function. Some doctors recommend zinc supplements for people with recurrent infections.
Insulin Resistance Syndrome
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Low zinc intake appears to be associated with several of the risk factors common in IRS, and a low blood level of zinc is associated with insulin resistance in overweight people.
Osgood-Schlatter Disease

(Manganese, Vitamin B6)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Some doctors have reported good results using a combination of zinc, manganese, and vitamin B6 for people with Osgood-Schlatter disease.
Osteoporosis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Supplementing with zinc appears to be helpful in both preventing and treating osteoporosis.
Pre- and Post-Surgery Health
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Zinc is important for proper immune system function and wound healing. Zinc supplements taken before surgery may prevent zinc deficiency and promote healing.
Prostatitis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Zinc has antibacterial activity and is a key factor in the natural resistance of male urinary tract infections. Supplementing with it may improve postatitis.
Common Cold and Sore Throat

Not recommended due to a potenially serious side effect

as Zinc Nasal Spray
Zinc nasal sprays appear to be effective at shortening the duration of cold symptoms, however, some people have experienced long-lasting or permanent loss of smell after using the spray.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.