Health Library

Zinc

Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

  • Zinc Acetate
  • Zinc Citrate
  • Zinc Gluconate
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Zinc Picolinate
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Chelated Zinc

Introduction

Zinc is an essential nutrient found in meat, dairy, and nuts. It has been used to help the body fight illness, improve digestion, and promote healing in wounds and skin infections. It is also used to treat zinc deficiency.

Zinc can be taken as a pill, liquid, syrup, or lozenge. Zinc can also be applied to the skin and has been used to prevent sunburns and improve acne. It can be applied as a cream, ointment, or salve.

Dosages

40 milligrams daily

What Research Shows

Likely Effective

  • Growth outcomes in children—likely to improve growth outcomes in young children L1
  • Hemodialysis—likely to benefit the nutritional status of people having hemodialysis M1
  • Newborn jaundice—likely to reduce the duration of phototherapy Q1
  • Pneumonia—likely to prevent in young children and to improve outcome when used with standard treatment R1-R3

May Be Effective

  • Common cold—may shorten time of sickness G1-G3
  • Diarrhea in children—may ease symptoms I1-I3

May Not Be Effective

  • Beta thalassemia—may not provide benefit C1
  • Dysmenorrhea—may not provide benefit J1
  • Pressure ulcers—may not prevent or treat T1

Unlikely to Be Effective

  • Birthweight—unlikely to have an effect D1
  • Cognitive function in children—unlikely to provide benefit F1
  • Leg ulcers—unlikely to promote healing N1
  • Mental and motor development in children—unlikely to provide benefit P1
  • Tinnitus—unlikely to improve symptoms W1

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Age-related macular degeneration A1
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder B1
  • Birthweight D1
  • Burns E1
  • Diabetic kidney disease H1
  • Ear infection K1
  • Measles O1
  • Pregnancy outcomes S1
  • Sickle cell disease U1
  • Taste disturbances V1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to use zinc products on the skin and to take zinc orally in small doses for a short time, but nausea is possible when used as a lozenge. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take large doses of zinc.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.

References

REFA
Age-Related Macular Degeneration

REFA1
Evans JR, Lawrenson JG. Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements for slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Jul 31;7:CD000254.

REFB
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

REFB1
Ghanizadeh A, Berk M. Zinc for treating of children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review of randomized controlled clinical trials. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jan;67(1):122-124.

REFC
Beta Thalassemia

REFC1
Swe KM, Abas AB, et al. Zinc supplements for treating thalassaemia and sickle cell disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 28;(6):CD009415.

REFD
Birthweight

REFD1
Gebreselassie SG, Gashe FE. A systematic review of effect of prenatal zinc supplementation on birthweight: meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled trials. J Health Popul Nutr. 2011 Apr;29(2):134-140.

REFE
Burns

REFE1
Kurmis R, Greenwood J, et al. Trace Element Supplementation Following Severe Burn Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Burn Care Res. 2016 May-Jun;37(3):143-59.

REFF
Cognitive Function in Children

REFF1
Warthon-Medina M, Moran VH, et al. Zinc intake, status and indices of cognitive function in adults and children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;69(6):649-661.

REFG
Common Cold

REFG1
Science M, Johnstone J, et al. Zinc for the treatment of the common cold: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. CMAJ. 2012;184(10):E551-561.

REFG2
Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 18;(6):CD001364.

REFG3
Hemilä H, Petrus EJ, et al. Zinc acetate for treating the common cold: an individual patient data meta-analysis. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2016;82(5):1393-1398.

REFH
Diabetic Kidney Disease

REFH1
Bolignano D, Cernaro V, et al. Antioxidant agents for delaying diabetic kidney disease progression: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2017 Jun 1;12(6):e0178699.

REFI
Diarrhea in Children

REFI1
Lamberti LM, Walker CL, et al. Oral zinc supplementation for the treatment of acute diarrhea in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2013 Nov 21;5(11):4715-4740.

REFI2
Zou TT, Mou J, et al. Zinc supplementation in acute diarrhea. Indian J Pediatr. 2015 May;82(5):415-420.

REFI3
Lazzerini M, Wanzira H. Oral zinc for treating diarrhoea in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Dec 20;12:CD005436.

REFJ
Dysmenorrhea

REFJ1
Pattanittum P, Kunyanone N, et al. Dietary supplements for dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Mar 22;3:CD002124.

REFK
Ear Infection

REFK1
Gulani A, Sachdev HS. Zinc supplementation for preventing otitis media. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(6):CD006639.

REFL
Growth Outcomes in Children

REFL1
Liu E, Pimpin L, et al. Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Growth Outcomes in Children under 5 Years of Age. Nutrients. 2018 Mar 20;10(3). pii: E377.

REFM
Hemodialysis

REFM1
Wang LJ, Wang MQ, et al. Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Maintenance Hemodialysis Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of 15 Randomized Controlled Trials. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:1024769.

REFN
Leg Ulcers

REFN1
Wilkinson EA. Oral zinc for arterial and venous leg ulcers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014(9):CD001273.

REFO
Measles

REFO1
Awotiwon AA, Oduwole O, et al. Zinc supplementation for the treatment of measles in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;6:CD011177.

REFP
Mental and Motor Development in Children

REFP1
Gogia S, Sachdev HS. Zinc supplementation for mental and motor development in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Dec 12;12:CD007991.

REFQ
Newborn Jaundice

REFQ1
Yang L, Wu, et al. The influence of zinc sulfate on neonatal jaundice: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2018 May;31(10):1311-1317.

REFR
Pneumonia

REFR1
Tie HT, Tan Q, et al. Zinc as an adjunct to antibiotics for the treatment of severe pneumonia in children <5 years: a meta-analysis of randomised-controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2016 Mar 14;115(5):807-816.

REFR2
Lassi ZS, Moin A, et al. Zinc supplementation for the prevention of pneumonia in children aged 2 months to 59 months. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Dec 4;12:CD005978.

REFR3
Wang L, Song Y. Efficacy of zinc given as an adjunct to the treatment of severe pneumonia: A meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trials. Clin Respir J. 2018;12(3):857-863.

REFS
Pregnancy Outcomes

REFS1
Ota E, Mori R, et al. Zinc supplementation for improving pregnancy and infant outcome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Feb 2;(2):CD000230.

REFT
Pressure Ulcers

REFT1
Langer G, Fink A. Nutritional interventions for preventing and treating pressure ulcers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Jun 12;(6):CD003216.

REFU
Sickle Cell Disease

REFU1
Swe KM, Abas AB, et al. Zinc supplements for treating thalassaemia and sickle cell disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 28;(6):CD009415.

REFV
Taste Disturbances

REFV1
Kumbargere Nagraj S, et al. Interventions for managing taste disturbances. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Dec 20;12:CD010470.

REFW
Tinnitus

REFW1
Person OC, Puga ME, et al. Zinc supplementation for tinnitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;11:CD009832.

  • EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • 201907
  • 20200326