Formal Names:

Zinc sulfate

Supplement forms:

Pills, food, liquid

Recommended daily allowance (in mg):



2 - 3



3 - 8



9 - 11



8 - 11


Pregnant Women

11 - 12


Lactating Women

12 - 13


What is...?

Zinc must be present in order for the body to stay healthy. Cells hold 99% of the body's zinc, and the other 1% is found in extracellular fluid and the blood stream. It is important in the physiological processes because zinc improves the immune system; in addition, it is necessary for the synthesis of proteins and cell reproduction. The enzymes in the body cannot function without it. Zinc must be obtained through diet, and a number of foods, particularly protein-rich foods, have the mineral in them.

Bodily functions

Every cell in the body has zinc, and zinc is critical for cell division and growth. Zinc is necessary for the immune system to work properly, and the catalyst for the enzyme processes. Zinc must be present in order to create proteins and DNA. With zinc, wounds and infections heal more quickly. Another function of zinc is to move vitamin A into the retina. This trace mineral is also important for healthy hair and skin as well as sexual development and growth. Zinc is particularly influenced by other nutrients within the body. Peptides and amino acids cause zinc to be absorbed; copper, fiber, and calcium inhibit zinc absorption.

Deficiency Symptoms

Zinc deficiency symptoms include the following: Insomnia, hair loss, loss of appetite, decreased sense of smell and taste, stunted growth, diarrhea, eye and skin disorders, dandruff, weight loss, inadequate wound healing, and/or reduced alertness.


Oysters, garlic, beef, pork, lamb, chicken dark meat, shellfish, fortified cereals, beans, chickpeas, sesame seeds, watermelon seeds, squash seeds, nuts, yeast, whole grains, wheat germ, dairy products, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, brown rice, potatoes, yogurt, and peanuts.

Side effects

Nausea, frequent infections, vomiting, loss of hair, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, problems with the senses of taste and smell, hypogonadism in males, skin sores, slow growth, lack of night vision, headaches, slow-healing wounds, low copper levels, low HDL cholesterol, poor development of reproductive organs.

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