What Does Zinc Do?


When we think of vitamins and minerals, we often think of the letter ones like vitamins B, C, D and others. But we really shouldn’t overlook zinc and how important it is for the body.

What Are The Benefits Of Taking Zinc?

What does zinc do for the body? The benefits of zinc are pretty immense. Zinc is a nutrient in the body that aids the immune system and metabolic function. It also helps wounds to heal as well as improve your sense of taste and smell (1).

Zinc is found in a lot of popular foods we eat such as chicken, red meat and even fortified breakfast cereals. But some people will take a zinc supplement orally to treat colds. It is important to know that zinc can decrease the effectiveness of some drugs and does have side effects so it’s important to talk to your doctor.

What is the proper zinc dosage? Women should consume 8 milligrams daily while men should consume 11 milligrams. Here are some conditions that taking a zinc supplement can help:


There is some evidence that taking zinc by lozenge form or syrup within 24 hours after cold symptoms appear can shorten the length of the cold. It’s best to avoid it taking intranasal zinc, which has been linked with a loss of smell.


Zinc can benefit people with skin ulcers or wounds as it enables them to heal faster.

Macular Degeneration

There is some research to suggest that zinc may help with this age-related eye disease.

What Are The Signs Of A Zinc Deficiency?

Zinc deficiency shows itself in a variety of ways. A lot of the symptoms can be attributed to other health conditions so it’s important to consult with a medical professional to determine whether or not you have a zinc deficiency. So if you experience any of the symptoms listed below, get checked out.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Impaired immune function
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Taste abnormalities
  • Mental lethargy
  • Acne
  • Dermatitis
  • Long-term respiratory infections

It can be hard to diagnose a zinc deficiency due to zinc’s distribution throughout the body and how it is a component of various proteins and nucleic acids. Doctors will often consider risk factors like poor caloric intake, alcoholism and digestive diseases as well as symptoms to determine if zinc supplements are necessary long term.

There are certain groups at higher risk of zinc deficiency including people with certain diseases like:

  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Liver disease
  • Renal disease
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Diabetes

People with chronic diarrhea may also be at higher risk. Pregnant and lactating women are more at risk due to the high fetal requirements for zinc. Vegetarians may not get enough zinc so it’s important they include whole grains and legumes as part of their diet.

What Does Zinc Do For You Sexually?

What does zinc do for you sexually? Zinc has some benefits sexually as well because it can help the body produce and regulate hormones including testosterone.  Zinc is crucial to the development and function of the male sex organs. There are even some studies that show a link between zinc for erectile dysfunction

A study showed that rats who received a moderate daily dose of zinc showed an increase in time before ejaculation and penis thrusting. It can also help those who are affected by premature ejaculation. Zinc is being looked into as a potential treatment for people who have ED and kidney disease.

Are Zinc Supplements Safe To Take?

Zinc supplements are relatively safe when taken as directed. They are a good way to ensure getting the recommended daily amount while improving certain areas of your health.

It is important to know there are some side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. Taking more than 40 milligrams per day can even cause flu-like symptoms like coughing, fever, headache and fatigue. Remember, the daily recommended amount is 8 milligrams for women and 11 milligrams for men.

To avoid getting side effects, stick to the recommended dosage and don’t go over the tolerable upper limit of 40 milligrams unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Does Zinc Help The Immune System?

Zinc supplements can boost the immune system and are now a popular treatment to take for the common cold. It’s best to take zinc as soon as cold symptoms appear. But it has been shown to reduce the duration of a cold by a day or so. And when you have a cold, any reduction is good!

Zinc may also help reduce the number of upper respiratory infections in children. Overall, zinc can help fight infections and help wounds to heal.

Which Foods Are High In Zinc?

What foods do you get zinc from? There is a large variety of foods that contain zinc so many people often get what they need from food alone and use supplements for when they have a cold. Overall, oysters contain more zinc than any other food per serving (2).  But it can also be found in these foods:

  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Beans
  • Nuts such as cashews and almonds
  • Seeds such as pumpkin seed
  • Other seafood like crabs and lobsters
  • Whole grains
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Chickpeas
  • Peas
  • Dairy products such as cheese and milk
  • Eggs
  • Some vegetables such as potatoes, green beans and kale
  • Dark chocolate

It’s important to eat a variety of foods not just for the amount of zinc they contain, but also for overall nutrients that are necessary for optimal health.

Supplements Can Help

There are other supplements that can assist with overall health and longevity such as spermidine. Please note, we cannot claim to heal or cure any illnesses or diseases. But we know how zinc can assist the immune system, so consider adding spermidine as well.

Our body is made up of cells. Overtime, some of those cells may become damaged. Spermidine works by activating the body’s cellular renewal process known as autophagy. With autophagy, dysfunctional cell components are recycled. This allows cells the ability to regenerate and rejuvenate.

Cells are the foundation to optimal health. When cells are weak and unhealthy, the body becomes weak and unhealthy. Spermidine helps trigger the body’s way of getting rid of those dysfunctional components so the body can focus on preventative support.

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[1] Zinc

[2] Zinc 2

  • Don Moxley - Director of Applied Science

    Don Moxley is the Director of Applied Science at Longevity Labs. Moxley draws upon his career as an athlete, a sports scientist, and an instructor to lead and educate on the science of autophagy and longevity.