Ingredient Type: Mineral
Also Known As: Zn, Zinc amino acid chelate, Zinc citrate, Zinc gluconate
Zinc is a natural chemical element, the first in group 12 of the periodic table. It is an essential mineral, and a daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state, because the body has no specialized zinc storage system. Zinc is considered to be an antioxidant, helping to protect against accelerated aging of the skin and muscles. It also helps speed up healing after injuries and is thought to be beneficial to the immune system. Deficiency is characterized by growth retardation, loss of appetite, and impaired immune function.
The oldest known zinc supplements were made of the zinc carbonates hydrozincite and smithsonite. The pills were used for sore eyes and were found aboard the Roman ship Relitto del Pozzino, wrecked in 140 BC.
Zinc is used in supplements today in many ways, including to support immune system function, for enzyme and hormone production, for healthy tissue healing and development, and to help maintain healthy vision.
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In the meantime see the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements entry for zinc, the MedlinePlus entry for zinc, the Mayo Clinic entry for zinc, the RXList entry for zinc, the Examine.com entry for zinc, or the WebMD entry for zinc for more information.