Zinc’s most important role is in maintaining the immune system. Zinc is important for the production, storage, and release of insulin. It is active in blood clotting, thyroid function, and influences behavior and learning. It is essential for vision, sense of taste and smell, wound healing, sperm production and a healthy prostate. Other roles are proper early development and health of the reproductive organs. The body will usually react very quickly to Zinc supplementation.
The following references have become outdated or may have been superseded by newer science-based publications. Nonetheless, they remain relevant and considered critical information resources. Click on the name of the author to read the publication.
Black RE. Zinc deficiency, infectious disease and mortality in the developing world.
J Nutr. 2003 May;133(5 Suppl 1):1485S-9S.
El-Tawil AM. Zinc deficiency in men with Crohn’s disease may contribute to poor sperm function and male infertility.
Andrologia. 2003 Dec;35(6):337-41.
Sturniolo GC, Di Leo V, Ferronato A, D’Odorico A, D’Inca R. Zinc supplementation tightens “leaky gut” in Crohn’s disease.
Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2001 May;7(2):94-8.
Myung SJ, Yang SK, Jung HY, Jung SA, Kang GH, Ha HK, Hong WS, Min YI. Zinc deficiency manifested by dermatitis and visual dysfunction in a patient with Crohn’s disease.
J Gastroenterol. 1998 Dec;33(6):876-9.
Belluzzi A, Brignola C, Campieri M, Gionchetti P, Rizzello F, Boschi S, Cunanne S, Miglioli M, Barbara L. Short report: zinc sulphate supplementation corrects abnormal erythrocyte membrane long-chain fatty acid composition in patients with Crohn’s disease.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1994 Feb;8(1):127-30.
Boosting the Immune System
Peake JM, Gerrard DF, Griffin JF. Plasma zinc and immune markers in runners in response to a moderate increase in training volume.
Int J Sports Med. 2003 Apr;24(3):212-6.
Dardenne M. Zinc and immune function.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Aug;56 Suppl 3:S20-3.
Fraker PJ, King LE, Laakko T, Vollmer TL. The dynamic link between the integrity of the immune system and zinc status.
J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1399S-406S.
Rink L, Gabriel P. Zinc and the immune system.
Proc Nutr Soc. 2000 Nov;59(4):541-52.
Al-Gurairi FT, Al-Waiz M, Sharquie KE. Oral zinc sulphate in the treatment of recalcitrant viral warts: randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Br J Dermatol. 2002 Mar;146(3):423-31.
Maes M, Vandoolaeghe E, Neels H, Demedts P, Wauters A, Meltzer HY, Altamura C, Desnyder R.Lower serum zinc in major depression is a sensitive marker of treatment resistance and of the immune/inflammatory response in that illness.
Biol Psychiatry. 1997 Sep 1;42(5):349-58.
Stehbens WE. Oxidative stress, toxic hepatitis, and antioxidants with particular emphasis on zinc.
Exp Mol Pathol. 2003 Dec;75(3):265-76.
Ananda S Prasad, Frances WJ Beck, Bin Bao, James T Fitzgerald, Diane C Snell, Joel D Steinberg and Lavoisier J Cardozo. Zinc supplementation decreases incidence of infections in the elderly: effect of zinc on generation of cytokines and oxidative stress American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 85, No. 3, 837-844, March 2007
Andrews M, Gallagher-Allred C. The role of zinc in wound healing.
Adv Wound Care. 1999 Apr;12(3):137-8.
Igarashi A, Yamaguchi M. Increase in bone growth factors with healing rat fractures: the enhancing effect of zinc.
Int J Mol Med. 2001 Oct;8(4):433-8.
Nezu R, Takagi Y, Ito T, Matsuda H, Okada A. The importance of total parenteral nutrition-associated tissue zinc distribution in wound healing.
Surg Today. 1999;29(1):34-41.
Lee DH, Anderson KE, Harnack LJ, Folsom AR, Jacobs DR Jr. Heme iron, zinc, alcohol consumption, and colon cancer: Iowa Women’s Health Study.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2004 Mar 3;96(5):403-7.
Rishi I, Baidouri H, Abbasi JA, Bullard-Dillard R, Kajdacsy-Balla A, Pestaner JP, Skacel M, Tubbs R, Bagasra O. Prostate cancer in African American men is associated with downregulation of zinc transporters.
Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2003 Sep;11(3):253-60.
Ho E, Courtemanche C, Ames BN. Zinc deficiency induces oxidative DNA damage and increases p53 expression in human lung fibroblasts.
J Nutr. 2003 Aug;133(8):2543-8.
Cunzhi H, Jiexian J, Xianwen Z, Jingang G, Shumin Z, Lili D. Serum and tissue levels of six trace elements and copper/zinc ratio in patients with cervical cancer and uterine myoma.
Biol Trace Elem Res. 2003 Aug;94(2):113-22.
Prasad AS, Kucuk O. Zinc in cancer prevention.
Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2002;21(3-4):291-5.