Zinc supplements have many medicinal values

The essential mineral zinc is necessary for many bodily functions, and deficiency causes diseases. We get zinc from foods like legumes, spinach, shrimp, flax seeds etc. But zinc supplements can also help to treat many different ailments when zinc from food is not enough.

Zinc is a mineral that is partially responsible for the metabolic action of the enzymes present in the body. It is also crucial for both reproduction and growth. The mineral also plays a vital role in boosting immunity.

Zinc deficiency can cause a number of illnesses, for which zinc supplements are prescribed. If you cannot obtain enough zinc from food, you may need to take supplements to prevent deficiencies. Strict vegetarians, alcohol abusers, women who are breastfeeding and people with poor diets may particularly need supplements. Zinc can also be used to treat several illnesses and conditions.

Boosting the immune system

Zinc helps to make the immune system stronger. This is why it is a popular treatment for common colds. Note that there is not enough evidence to suggest whether or not zinc lozenges can really cut short the duration of a cold by half. But this is a belief that many people still go by.

Because of its immunity-boosting property, zinc is also used for treating AIDS, which is a disease of the immune system.

Treating chronic ear infections

Zinc is often prescribed to children who suffer from chronic middle ear infections. Since zinc cannot be stored in the body, it must be regularly obtained from food. Some children who do not receive an adequate intake of zinc from food are given supplements to help prevent an earache and temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Preventing respiratory infections

Lower respiratory infections like pneumonia may be prevented and even fought with zinc supplements. Since zinc is an important mineral for cell growth and metabolism, it protects the body against infections. Studies have shown that zinc supplements may lower the chances of children catching respiratory infections. Zinc may also make respiratory problems less severe.

Treating eye diseases

Zinc is present in a part of the retina of the eye, called the macula. The mineral helps the body to create melanin, which is an important pigment that protects the eye. Zinc also helps us to see better at night. This is why zinc deficiency often causes night blindness.

Some people use zinc supplements to treat diseases of the eye like macular degeneration (AMD), which is an age-related weakening of vision.

Treating parasitic diseases

Zinc is known to flush parasites from the body in combination with copper and silver. Recent studies have found that many fungal scalp infections can be treated with zinc.

Treating skin conditions

Zinc is applied topically for many skin conditions. It is used to treat acne, infections caused by the herpes simplex virus, eczema and psoriasis etc. Studies show that taking zinc supplement also improves skin health. The mineral helps achieve healthy hormone levels and encourages quick healing.

Healing wounds

Zinc is known to speed up healing of wounds. The ancient Egyptians would use zinc to heal wounds. However, if your body is already receiving the zinc it needs, taking additional supplements may not give you additional advantages.

Treating neurological conditions

Zinc is also used to treat neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease, ADHD (attention-deficit disorder) and Down syndrome etc.

It is also prescribed to patients who have a ringing in their ears or a blunt sense of taste. It is also often used for erectile dysfunction, male infertility, osteoporosis, sickle cell disease, thalassemia, Down syndrome, peptic ulcers, colitis, anorexia etc.

Best food sources for zinc

  • Oysters
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Nuts
  • yoghurt
  • Wheat germ
  • Milk

Implications of zinc deficiency

Zinc is what is called a trace mineral. It supports a number of critical functions, such as supporting immunity. A deficiency of the mineral can cause serious health conditions. It slows down the healing of wounds.


An excess of zinc can also create complications. One should never take more zinc than is recommended. It is also important to not self-medicate. Taking the supplement to treat a disorder or its symptoms, after reading this article is not something anyone should be doing. It must only be taken under a doctor's supervision.

The recommended amount of zinc per day for women is 8 mg and for men, it is 11 mg. Taking more than the required amount can stop your body from absorbing copper, another important mineral. If you are taking zinc supplements, you should also take 2 mg of copper, if copper is not already additionally present in your zinc supplements.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Swati Sarnobat07 Dec 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Adding to this article, it is said that zinc should not be taken along with iron or calcium. It should be preferably taken during the daytime. People with sleeping disorders can also consume zinc to some extent because it plays an important role in metabolism.

Author: Juana08 Jan 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 2

Thank you for the information.

I went on a fact-finding mission and learnt that zinc supplements are best taken an hour prior to a meal or two hours after a meal. The supplement should be taken with a glass of water or juice. Additionally, it should not be taken after a meal that’s rich in any of the following – fibre, dairy, poultry or coffee, as these can hinder absorption.

Zinc supplements can cause mild side effects that include a metallic aftertaste, nausea, stomach upset and retching.

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