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Causes and signs of zinc deficiency

Causes and signs of zinc deficiency

What is the need for zinc?

Zinc is a nutrient spread throughout the body. It strengthens immunity and metabolic function. Zinc is important in repairing wounds and maintaining the functions of smell and taste.

Zinc is considered an essential nutrient, which means that the body cannot produce or store it. For this reason, you need to maintain a constant level through diet or supplementation.

Zinc is needed for many processes in your body, including:

  • Gene expression
  • Enzymatic reactions
  • Immune function
  • Protein synthesis
  • DNA synthesis
  • Wound healing
  • Growth and development

The role of zinc in the body

  • Zinc is the second most abundant trace element in your body – after iron – and is present in every cell (1).
  • Zinc is needed for the activity of over 300 enzymes that help metabolism, digestion, nerve function and many other processes.
  • It is essential for the development and functioning of immune cells (2).
  • It is also fundamental for skin health, DNA synthesis and protein production (3).
  • The growth and development of the body is based on zinc due to its role in the growth and division of cells (4).
  • Zinc is also needed for the senses of taste and smell. Because one of the crucial enzymes for proper taste and smell is dependent on this nutrient. A zinc deficiency can reduce your ability to taste or smell (5, 6).

Health benefits

  • Immunity – Research shows that zinc has many health benefits:
    • Stimulates the immune system.
    • Zinc helps keep your immune system strong.
    • Because it is necessary for immune cell function and cell signaling, a deficiency can lead to a weakened immune response.
    • Zinc supplements stimulate certain immune cells and reduce oxidative stress.
    • For example, an analysis of seven clinical trials showed that 80-92 mg per day of zinc can reduce the duration of the cold by up to 33%. For this situation, chewable zinc is preferred, especially if the disease is associated with sore throat (7).
  • Accelerates wound healing, commonly used in hospitals as treatment for burns, certain ulcers and other skin lesions (10).
    • Because this mineral plays a critical role in collagen synthesis, immune function and the inflammatory response, it is necessary for proper wound healing.
    • In fact, your skin has a relatively high amount – about 5% – of your body’s zinc content.
    • Zinc deficiency can slow wound healing, zinc supplementation can speed recovery in injured people (11, 12).
    • For example, in a 12-week study of 60 people with diabetic foot ulcers, those treated with 200 mg of zinc per day showed significant reductions in ulcer size compared to a placebo group (13).
  • Zinc can reduce the risk of certain age-related diseases:
    • Zinc can significantly reduce the risk of age-related diseases, such as pneumonia, infection, and age-related macular degeneration.
    • Zinc can relieve oxidative stress and improve the immune response by stimulating the activity of T cells and natural killer cells, which help protect an older body from infections (14, 15).
    • Older adults who supplement with zinc respond much better to the flu vaccine, have reduced risk of pneumonia, and have improved mental performance (16, 17).
    • In fact, one study found that 45 mg a day of zinc can reduce infection rates in older adults by almost 66% (18).
  • Zinc can help treat acne:
    • Acne is a common skin disease that is estimated to affect up to 9.4% of the global population.
    • Acne is caused by an obstruction of the oil-producing glands, bacteria and inflammation.
    • Studies suggest that both topical and oral zinc treatments can effectively treat acne by reducing inflammation, inhibiting the growth of P. acnes bacteria and by suppressing the activity of the oil glands (19).
    • People with acne tend to have lower levels of zinc. Therefore, supplementation can help reduce symptoms.
  • Reduces inflammation
    • Zinc lowers oxidative stress and reduces the levels of certain inflammatory proteins in the body (20).
    • Oxidative stress leads to chronic inflammation, a factor that contributes to a wide range of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and mental decline (21).
    • In a study of 40 older adults, those who took 45 mg of zinc a day showed greater reductions in inflammatory markers than the placebo group (22).
  • Zinc is important for prostate health
    • Research has consistently shown the role of zinc in prostate function, especially in men over 50 (23)
    • Among other functions, zinc has a role in regulating the balance between testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, the two male hormones that stimulate the growth of prostate cells, both benign and malignant (24)

What is the daily dose of zinc in the European Union? The minimum daily dose (recommended) is 10 mg and the maximum safe daily dose is 25 mg

Provita Nutrition offers: Zinc Citrate.

Zinc is also included in Provita Nutrition products:

Products mentioned in this article:

Zinc Citrate – 50 mg – 90 tablets

  • Zinc is important for the immune system, necessary in the process of healing the wounds.
  • Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in almost all cells.
  • Dietary supplement manufactured under GMP standard.
  • For therapeutic use.

Super Immune Ultra – 60 capsules

  • Excellent antiviral, anticancer, anti-metastatic.
  • Powerful immune modulator for weak or hyperactive immune system.
  • Product with >30x potency.
  • Good for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Pharmaceutical quality, Canadian product. Certificated by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

Hepatothione – 60 delayed release capsules

  • Increases the level of the super-molecule Glutathione.
  • Plays an important role in gallbladder health, helping the liver to detoxify fat before the bile is emitted, which reduces stress on the gallbladder.
  • Dietary supplement.

Prostate Protekt forte – 60 capsules

  • Complex orthomolecular formula.
  • Ensures normal prostate function, improves sexual function.
  • Reduces inflammation of the prostate to normal.
  • Recommended for prostatitis, prostate adenoma, benign hyperplasia, prostate cancer.


  • Karen H. C. Lim et al. – Iron and Zinc Nutrition in the Economically-Developed World: A Review – Nutrients. 2013 Aug; 5(8): 3184–3211.
  • Ananda S Prasad – Zinc in Human Health: Effect of Zinc on Immune Cells- Mol Med. 2008 May-Jun; 14(5-6): 353–357
  • Nazanin Roohani et al. – Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review – J Res Med Sci . 2013 Feb;18(2):144-57
  • Enju Liu et al. – Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Growth Outcomes in Children under 5 Years of Age – Nutrients. 2018 Mar; 10(3): 377.
  • Laurel Lyckholm et al. – A Randomized, Placebo Controlled Trial of Oral Zinc for Chemotherapy-Related Taste and Smell Disorders – J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2012 Jun; 26(2): 111–114.
  • Det al. – A Double-Blind Study of the Therapeutic Efficacy of Zinc Gluconate on Taste Disorder -Elsevier Auris Nasus Larynx – Volume 18, Issue 2, 1991, Pages 153-161
  • Harri Hemilä – Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage – JRSM Open. 2017 May; 8(5): 2054270417694291.
  • Hajo Haase and Lothar Rink – The immune system and the impact of zinc during aging – Immun Ageing. 2009; 6: 9.
  • Hajo Haase et al. – Correlation between zinc status and immune function in the elderly – Biogerontology Oct-Dec 2006;7(5-6):421-8
  • Surajit Bhattacharya and R. K. Mishra – Pressure ulcers: Current understanding and newer modalities of treatment – Indian J Plast Surg. 2015 Jan-Apr; 48(1): 4–16.
  • Pei-Hui Lin et al. – Zinc in Wound Healing Modulation – Nutrients. 2018 Jan; 10(1): 16
  • Alan B G Lansdown et al. – Zinc in wound healing: theoretical, experimental, and clinical aspects -Wound Repair Regen Jan-Feb 2007;15(1):2-16
  • Mansooreh Momen-Heravi et al. – The effects of zinc supplementation on wound healing and metabolic status in patients with diabetic foot ulcer: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial – Wound Repair Regen . 2017 May;25(3):512-520.
  • Hajo Haase and Lothar Rink – The immune system and the impact of zinc during aging – Immun Ageing. 2009; 6: 9
  • Hajo Haase et al. – Correlation between zinc status and immune function in the elderly – Biogerontology Oct-Dec 2006;7(5-6):421-8
  • Junaidah B Barnett et al. – Low zinc status: a new risk factor for pneumonia in the elderly? – Nutr Rev 2010 Jan;68(1):30-7
  • Ángel Julio Romero Cabrera – Zinc, aging, and immunosenescence: an overview – Pathobiol Aging Age Relat Dis. 2015; 5: 10.340
  • Ananda S. Prasad – Discovery of Human Zinc Deficiency: Its Impact on Human Health and Disease – Adv Nutr. 2013 Mar; 4(2): 176–190
  • Yoon Soo Bae et al. – Innovative uses for zinc in dermatology – Dermatol Clin 2010 Jul;28(3):587-97
  • Erik Lubberts and Wim B. van den Berg – Cytokines in the Pathogenesis of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Collagen-Induced Arthritis – Bioscience; 2000-2013
  • Pahwa R, Goyal A, Bansal P, et al. – Chronic Inflammation- Book – StatPearls Publishing; 2021
  • Bin Bao et al. – Zinc decreases C-reactive protein, lipid peroxidation, and inflammatory cytokines in elderly subjects: a potential implication of zinc as an atheroprotective agent – Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun; 91(6): 1634–1641
  • Ann Katrin Sauer et al. – Zinc Deficiency in Men Over 50 and Its Implications in Prostate Disorders – Front. Oncol., 06 August 2020
  • Harvard Medical School, Harvard Men’s Health Watch – Zinc and prostate cancer – Published: March, 2006