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Zinc's Functional Role In The Body

Do you feel:

  • Alternating between constipation and diarrhea?
  • Unexplained itchy skin?
  • Acne and unhealthy skin?
  • Excessive hair loss?
  • Difficulty gaining weight?
If you are experiencing any of these situations, then you might be experiencing some zinc deficiency in your body.

Whenever someone thinks of zinc, their minds go to the immune system in the body. Surprisingly though, the immune system needs zinc so that way, the body could function properly. Not only that, but zinc is the unsung mineral that has numerous functions and structural roles that is throughout the body. Zinc also makes sure that the body is at a healthy weight for anyone who may have disorders from chronic illnesses or from autoimmune diseases that can make the bodyweight fluctuate from being overweight to underweight.

Zinc Beneficial Properties

One of the things to know is that zinc cannot be naturally produced in the body, but it can be consumed through food or supplements. This mineral can help the body in numerous ways since it is the second abundant trace mineral that is present in the body, right after iron. Research shows that zinc is necessary for 300 enzymes to activate the body’s metabolism and many of its functions to make sure that each of the systems is working correctly, especially the immune system.


Zinc has many beneficial properties that can help support a healthy body. When it comes to the immune system, studies have shown that zinc can act as an antioxidant and help fight inflammation. The studies even stated that the effects of zinc could reduce the symptoms of the common cold within 24 hours. There are about five zinc supplements that are excellent for the body and can be beneficial to make sure that each system, including the immune system. They are:
  • Zinc gluconate: This supplement is one of the most over the counter forms of zinc that is usually found in the form of cold remedies like cough drops, lozenges and nasal sprays that are found in local stores.
  • Zinc acetate: Just like zinc gluconate, this supplement is added to lozenges to help reduce cold symptoms and to speed up the recovery process.
  • Zinc sulfate: For anyone that has a zinc deficiency, this supplement has been known to help reduce severe acne on the skin.
  • Zinc picolinate: This supplement can be absorbed better into the body than the other forms of zinc, as the research shows.
  • Zinc orotate: This supplement is bounded with orotic acid and is one of the most common zinc supplements that can be found in the market or the grocery stores.
  • Zinc citrate: Studies have found that this zinc supplement can be absorbed like zinc gluconate; however, it has a more appealing taste that is less bitter, when it is consumed.
With these zinc supplements, they can be found in any local stores that carry supplements, cough drops, lozenges at an affordable price, and can help increase a person's intake as well as impact their health.

Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

Even though a person cannot produce zinc in their body, it is rare for someone to have a severe zinc deficiency unless it is from a rare genetic mutation or anyone that is taking any specific immune-suppressing medication. Research has found that anyone who has acrodermatitis enteropathica can have the symptoms of a severe zinc deficiency. Acrodermatitis enteropathica is a recessive condition that is autosomal and can result in a person to have a severe zinc deficiency. The symptoms can range from impaired growth to skin rashes.

There are other ways that zinc deficiency can cause symptoms that can affect the body and cause problems as well. They can include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin conditions like acne or eczema
  • Increase the risk of chronic diseases like Crohn's disease or chronic kidney disease
Many healthcare professionals have found that zinc deficiency has a severe wide-ranging consequence and is one of the prevalent micronutrient deficiencies in the world. Studies have found that when a person has a low zinc intake can contribute to altering neurotransmitter levels, especially GABA in the brain. The research has found and suggested that when a person takes a zinc supplement can help improve neurodegenerative functions like depression and anxiety.


Zinc is one of the minerals that the body cannot produce naturally. When a person takes zinc in a supplement form or food form, it can provide native support for the body and the systems. Zinc is highly crucial in the immune system because when the immune system is deficient, it can cause a development of chronic illnesses that can harm the body. Some products can help the body have a healthy immune system by providing support to the metabolic system and the gastrointestinal system.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.


Barrie, S A, et al. “Comparative Absorption of Zinc Picolinate, Zinc Citrate and Zinc Gluconate in Humans.” Agents and Actions, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 1987, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3630857.

Birmingham, C L, and S Gritzner. “How Does Zinc Supplementation Benefit Anorexia Nervosa?” Eating and Weight Disorders: EWD, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2006, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17272939.

Gupta, Mrinal, et al. “Zinc Therapy in Dermatology: a Review.” Dermatology Research and Practice, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120804.

Hemilä, Harri, et al. “Zinc Acetate Lozenges May Improve the Recovery Rate of Common Cold Patients: An Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis.” Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Oxford University Press, 3 Apr. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5410113/.

Higdon, Jane. “Zinc.” Linus Pauling Institute, 1 Jan. 2020, lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/zinc#impaired-immune-function.

Kubala, Jillian. “Zinc: Everything You Need to Know.” Healthline, 14 Nov. 2014, www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc.

Lim, Karen H C, et al. “Iron and Zinc Nutrition in the Economically-Developed World: a Review.” Nutrients, MDPI, 13 Aug. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775249/.

Nistor, Nicolai, et al. “Acrodermatitis Enteropathica: A Case Report.” Medicine, Wolters Kluwer Health, May 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4902399/.

Team, DFH. “Functional Roles of Zinc.” Designs for Health, 28 Jan. 2020, blog.designsforhealth.com/node/1193.

Wegmüller, Rita, et al. “Zinc Absorption by Young Adults from Supplemental Zinc Citrate Is Comparable with That from Zinc Gluconate and Higher than from Zinc Oxide.” The Journal of Nutrition, American Society for Nutrition, Feb. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24259556.

Wieringa, Frank T, et al. “Determination of Zinc Status in Humans: Which Indicator Should We Use?” Nutrients, MDPI, 6 May 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446750/.

Zastrow, Melissa L, and Vincent L Pecoraro. “Designing Hydrolytic Zinc Metalloenzymes.” Biochemistry, American Chemical Society, 18 Feb. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24506795.

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The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to contact us. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN* email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com phone: 915-850-0900 Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*