11 Health Benefits of Zinc

11 Health Benefits of Zinc

Jan 04, 2024

Did you know that the health benefits of zinc go far beyond their role in fighting off the common cold and supporting the immune function? Although these two roles are important, it’s beneficial to realize that there are other major areas where zinc lends a hand. Let’s recognize zinc as the superstar nutrient, it is and finally let it have its moment to shine! Here are 11 health benefits of zinc:

  1. It supports the immune system

Even though we already know this, a refresher doesn’t hurt. Zinc is responsible for the proper development and function of immune cells.1 If there is a zinc deficiency, the immune system can’t make important immune-fighting cells such as T and B cells.1 Studies show that zinc supplementation can help reduce cold duration by 2.25 days.2 This is why it’s crucial to get enough zinc during the cold and flu season. Discover other ways you can support your immune system, here!

  1. It helps control blood sugar levels

Regulating blood sugar levels is important as it can directly impact energy levels, heart health, weight management, and more. Plus, if your blood sugars are too high, it could be a sign of type 2 diabetes. Studies have linked low zinc levels with poor blood sugar control3 , and supplementation can help improve blood sugar indicators.4

  1. It improves reproductive health, especially in men

Along with aiding the immune system, zinc also plays an important role in reproduction functions. Zinc plays a vital role in testosterone production and helps with sperm production.5 Studies show that those with low zinc levels have low sperm quantity and quality, impacting overall fertility.5 More men’s health support can be found here.

  1. Wound healing

Did you know zinc can be found in the skin? It’s abundantly found in the epidermis, one of the seven layers of the skin. Research shows that low levels can lead to rough skin and impaired wound healing.6 This mineral plays an important role in the entire process of wound healing, from aiding in the inflammation response to even scar formation.6

  1. Heart health

Cardiovascular disease is a major chronic disease that’s on the rise. As researchers spend more time trying to understand CVD, zinc is showing more promise in its role in heart health. Research shows that zinc deficiency is a leading factor in developing heart disease, as too little can lead to the thickening of arteries and increase inflammation.7 Here’s more on how you can support heart health.

  1. Taste and smell

Did you know that taste buds also need zinc to function at their best? Research shows that those who suffer from altered taste have low levels of salivary zinc, resulting in altered taste buds.8 Also, studies show that zinc supplementation helps improve taste and reduces the risk of developing a taste disorder.8  

  1. Cognitive function

One of the major roles of zinc is brain and central nervous system development. In fact, zinc concentration is highest in the brain.9 Research shows that zinc deficiency can lead to cognitive impairment and premature ageing.10 That’s because zinc plays an integral role in neurogenesis10 – the growth and development of nervous tissue. Not getting enough means that important brain cells are not being made, which could lead to cognitive impairment.10 

  1. Helps decrease acne

Zinc can do many things, and one of those is its role in decreasing inflammation.  Zinc can be beneficial for acne in two ways. First, it helps fight against viruses and bacteria and second, it decreases inflammation.11 It’s no wonder why studies show that zinc supplementation can be beneficial for decreasing acne. 12 For more on how to support healthy skin, click here.

  1. Diarrhea

Zinc’s immune-supporting role isn’t only for preventing colds and the flu, but also plays an essential role in fighting against viruses and bacteria in the gut.  Zinc is also found to reduce intestinal damage, is anti-inflammatory, and helps protect the integrity of the gut’s lining.13 In areas where diarrhea is common, and can lead to dehydration and death, the World Health Organization recommends taking a zinc supplementation during episodes of diarrhea, as research shows it can decrease the duration of it.14

  1. Decreases inflammation

One of the crucial roles of this mineral is decreasing inflammation and increasing antioxidants, keeping oxidative stress at bay. Research shows that zinc increases more anti-inflammatory properties vs pro-inflammatory cells. 15 When given zinc supplementation, studies showed lower inflammatory markers and higher antioxidant capacity.16

  1. Reduce risk of age-related diseases

Thanks to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits of zinc, it’s no wonder that it can be beneficial for reducing the risk of age-related diseases. We’ve already covered heart health (#5) and cognitive function (#7) but there are more areas where zinc can be beneficial such as, eye health. When it comes to maintaining eye health, zinc supplementation may be effective in preventing the progression of age-related macular degeneration – a complex eye condition that can lead to vision loss.17 Find more eye health support, here!


  1. Prasad A. S. (2008). Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.), 14(5-6), 353–357. https://doi.org/10.2119/2008-00033.Prasad
  2. Wang, M. X., Win, S. S., & Pang, J. (2020). Zinc Supplementation Reduces Common Cold Duration among Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials with Micronutrients Supplementation. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 103(1), 86–99. https://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.19-0718
  3. Farooq M. (2019). Zinc Deficiency is Associated with Poor Glycemic Control. Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan : JCPSP, 29(3), 253–257. https://doi.org/10.29271/jcpsp.2019.03.253
  4. Wang, X., Wu, W., Zheng, W., Fang, X., Chen, L., Rink, L., Min, J., & Wang, F. (2019). Zinc supplementation improves glycemic control for diabetes prevention and management: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 110(1), 76–90. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz041
  5. Fallah, A., Mohammad-Hasani, A., & Colagar, A. H. (2018). Zinc is an Essential Element for Male Fertility: A Review of Zn Roles in Men's Health, Germination, Sperm Quality, and Fertilization. Journal of reproduction & infertility, 19(2), 69–81.
  6. Lin, P. H., Sermersheim, M., Li, H., Lee, P. H. U., Steinberg, S. M., & Ma, J. (2017). Zinc in Wound Healing Modulation. Nutrients, 10(1), 16. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10010016
  7. Knez, M., & Glibetic, M. (2021). Zinc as a Biomarker of Cardiovascular Health. Frontiers in nutrition, 8, 686078. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2021.686078
  8. Mozaffar, B., Ardavani, A., Muzafar, H., & Idris, I. (2023). The Effectiveness of Zinc Supplementation in Taste Disorder Treatment: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2023, 6711071. https://doi.org/10.1155/2023/6711071
  9. Portbury, S. D., & Adlard, P. A. (2017). Zinc Signal in Brain Diseases. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(12), 2506. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms18122506
  10. Sun, R., Wang, J., Feng, J., & Cao, B. (2022). Zinc in Cognitive Impairment and Aging. Biomolecules, 12(7), 1000. https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12071000
  11. Cherney, K. (2019, March 8). Zinc for acne: Cystic, scars, OTC products, and more. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/zinc-for-acne
  12. Yee, B. E., Richards, P., Sui, J. Y., & Marsch, A. F. (2020). Serum zinc levels and efficacy of zinc treatment in acne vulgaris: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Dermatologic therapy, 33(6), e14252. https://doi.org/10.1111/dth.14252
  13. Scarpellini, E., Balsiger, L. M., Maurizi, V., Rinninella, E., Gasbarrini, A., Giostra, N., Santori, P., Abenavoli, L., & Rasetti, C. (2022). Zinc and gut microbiota in health and gastrointestinal disease under the COVID-19 suggestion. BioFactors (Oxford, England), 48(2), 294–306. https://doi.org/10.1002/biof.1829
  14. Barffour, M. A., Hinnouho, G. M., Wessells, K. R., Kounnavong, S., Ratsavong, K., Sitthideth, D., Bounheuang, B., Sengnam, K., Chanhthavong, B., Arnold, C. D., Brown, K. H., Larson, C. P., & Hess, S. Y. (2020). Effects of therapeutic zinc supplementation for diarrhea and two preventive zinc supplementation regimens on the incidence and duration of diarrhea and acute respiratory tract infections in rural Laotian children: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of global health, 10(1), 010424. https://doi.org/10.7189/jogh.10.010424
  15. Jarosz, M., Olbert, M., Wyszogrodzka, G., Młyniec, K., & Librowski, T. (2017). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of zinc. Zinc-dependent NF-κB signaling. Inflammopharmacology, 25(1), 11–24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10787-017-0309-4
  16. Mohammadi, H., Talebi, S., Ghavami, A., Rafiei, M., Sharifi, S., Faghihimani, Z., Ranjbar, G., Miraghajani, M., & Askari, G. (2021). Effects of zinc supplementation on inflammatory biomarkers and oxidative stress in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology : organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements (GMS), 68, 126857. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtemb.2021.126857
  17. Vishwanathan, R., Chung, M., & Johnson, E. J. (2013). A systematic review on zinc for the prevention and treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 54(6), 3985–3998. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.12-11552

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