What is zinc?

Zinc is a nutrient found in cells throughout the human body. It’s a trace mineral, which means the body needs very small amounts. Zinc is essential for more than 100 enzymes to carry out their function.

Zinc is important for the synthesis of DNA, the growth of cells, building proteins, healing damaged tissue, and supporting a healthy immune system. Zinc also helps wounds heal and is important for the proper sense of taste.

Zinc Benefits

  • Supports the growth and normal functioning of immune cells
  • DNA synthesis
  • Improves wound healing
  • Supports healthy metabolism
  • Helps create new cells, particularly collagen and fiber-like tissues
  • Maintains a sense of taste
  • Reduces the risk of infection

How much zinc do you need per day?

  • Adult Women: 8 mg
  • Adult Men: 11 mg
  • Pregnant/Breastfeeding Women: 11 mg

Natural sources of zinc

  • Oysters
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Learn about zinc deficiency symptoms.

Further reading: Harvard School of Public Health, National Institutes of Public Health (1),(2)