Click here to return to the Super Home Remedies Main Page

Click here to send this article link to a friend from your own e-mail account! Send To A Friend

Zinc - Dietary Supplement And Cold Virus Fighter

Zinc (from German Zink and may be from Old Persian)

is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30.

Notable characteristics

Zinc is a moderately reactive metal that will combine with oxygen and other non-metals, and will react with dilute acids to release hydrogen. The one common oxidation state of zinc is +2.

Health Benefits of Zinc

Zinc has a multitude of metallurgical properties, which will not be discussed here. Like selenium, zinc (in the form of zinc oxide, a white pigment found in many products from paint to toothpaste), has many everyday health properties:

  • Zinc oxide is applied as a thin coating on the exposed skin of the face and nose to prevent dehydration and thereby protect against sunburn in the summer and windburn in the winter.
  • Applied thinly to a baby’s diaper area (perineum) with each diaper change, zinc oxide protects against rash.
  • As determined in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, it’s part of an effective treatment for age-related macular degeneration in some cases.
  • Zinc chloride is used as a deodorant and as a wood preservative.
  • Lotions made of calamine, a mix of Zn-(hydroxy-)carbonates and silicates, are used to treat skin rash.
  • Zinc metal is included in most proprietary over-the-counter daily vitamin and mineral preparations. Along with some other metals, it is believed by some to possess anti-oxidant properties, which protect against premature aging of the skin and muscles of the body. In larger amounts, taken as zinc alone in other proprietaries, it is believed by some to speed up the healing process after an injury. Preparations include zinc acetate and zinc gluconate.
  • Zinc gluconate glycine is taken in lozenge form as a remedy for the common cold.
  • Since Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss, many naturopathic health products and topical creams used to treat psoriasis contain zinc as one of the ingredients.

Biological role

Zinc is an essential element, necessary for sustaining all life. It is estimated that 3000 of the hundreds of thousands of proteins in the human body contain zinc.

Zinc Food Sources

The best and most abundant natural food source of zinc is oysters. Zinc is found in most animal proteins such as beef, pork and poultry. Other food sources of zinc include beans, nuts, whole grains, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Phytates, which are found in whole grain breads, cereals, legumes and other products, have been known to decrease zinc absorption. This, coupled with the fact that the human body absorbs zinc more easily from animal protein than from plant protein means that vegetarians are required to eat many more food sources containing zinc than non-vegetarians.

Editorial Note: This liquid multimineral and multivitamin supplement is an excellent source of selenium, zinc, and many other required trace elements, as well as herbs, amino acids, and other nutritionals.

Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency in humans is often a result of inadequate intake of zinc, or inadequate absorption of zinc into the body. Signs of Zinc deficiency includes hair loss, skin lesions, diarrhea, wasting of body tissues, and, eventually, death. Eyesight, taste, smell and memory are also connected with zinc and a deficiency in zinc can cause malfunctions of these organs and functions.

Obtaining a sufficient zinc intake during pregnancy and in young children is a very real problem, especially among those who cannot afford a good supply of meat and a varied diet. Brain develepment is stunted by zinc insufficiency in utero and in youth.

There is zinc in semen. As much as half a milligram of zinc will be found in 1 mL of seminal fluid, which explains why males require a higher intake of zinc than do females [1]. Zinc deficiency in males can lead to reduced sperm count and sex drive, but this is probably just a by-product of the general malaise of advanced malnutrition. There is no evidence that zinc supplements enhance male sexuality in males who have adequate general nutrition.

Immune System

According to some sources, taking zinc tablets may provide some immunity against colds and flu, although this is disputed. The biological basis of this is that it has been established that the immune system is impaired by zinc deficiency and so will respond to zinc supplements. The direct effect of zinc (as in lozenges) on bacteria and viruses is also well-established, and has been used since at least 2000 BC, from when zinc salts in palliative salves are documented. However, exactly how to deliver zinc salts against pathogens (germs) without injuring one’s own tissues is still being investigated.


Metallic zinc is not considered to be toxic, but there is a condition called zinc shakes or zinc chills that can be induced by the inhalation of freshly formed zinc oxide. Excessive intake of zinc can promote deficiency in other dietary minerals.

See also: What Are Vitamins And Why Are They Healthy?, Health Benefits of Trace Dietary Minerals

Most of this article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article “Zinc”.

Didn't Find What You Were Looking For?
Search Here:


Comments are closed.