Zinc is a mineral that is part of a large number of enzymes in the body, which are involved in metabolism. Zinc is needed in the development of proteins, the growth and development of tissue and the proper functioning of the immune system. Zinc is an antioxidant: it protects the cells in the body from free radicals. Free radicals play a role in aging processes.


Zinc is found in small quantities in many different foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, brewer’s yeast, cheese, cereals, nuts, coffee, tea and seafood like prawns and mussels.



Infants can, due to a shortage of zinc, catch growth retardation and severe malnutrition. Other effects of zinc shortage may include: delayed growth, impaired taste and smell, prostate problems, infertility, hair loss, skin defects and night blindness.


An acute excess of zinc is rare in humans. When a large dose of zinc is ingested at once, this is caused by food or drink that had come into contact with galvanized tin. The symptoms that occur here include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Prolonged intake of too much zinc may result in anemia and a reduced immune system.