Benefits of Zinc and Zinc Supplements

Zinc is an essential nutrient required by humans and animals alike. It plays a variety of biological roles in the body including catalytic, structural, and regulatory roles. It is required to heal injuries, to maintain fertility in adults and growth in children, synthesize protein, maintain health vision, support immune function, and protect the body against the oxidative effects of free radicals.

While zinc deficiencies are not as common in developed countries, in third world countries zinc deficiencies are quite common. However, even in developed countries, low-income pregnant women are at risk of mild zinc deficiencies. People with liver cirrhosis, malabsorption syndromes, and Down's syndrome may also be prone to zinc deficiencies.

Supplemental zinc comes in many different types and forms. These include zinc gluconate, zinc oxide, zinc aspartate, zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, zinc monomethionine, and zinc histidine. Zinc supplements are available on a stand-alone basis or in combination with other supplement products. A normal dose of zinc is about 15 milligrams (as elemental zinc) per day.