Among the consequences of zinc deficiency, dermatitis (skin inflammation) and diarrhea are particularly prominent features.
A genetic disease called acrodermatitis enteropathica in which there is impaired zinc uptake from the intestine is, in fact, characterized by the simultaneous presence of dermatitis (skin inflammation) and diarrhea. The skin on the cheeks, elbows and knees and the tissues about the mouth and anus are inflamed. There is balding of the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes. Wound healing is delayed. And there are recurrent bacterial and fungal infections due to immune deficiency. The key laboratory finding in acrodermatitis enteropathica is an abnormally low blood zinc level reflecting the impaired zinc uptake. Treatment with zinc is curative.
- Zinc excess
Too much zinc can cause gastrointestinal irritation (upset stomach), interfere with copper absorption and cause copper deficiency, and (like too little zinc) cause immune deficiency. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowance of zinc is 8 milligrams per day for women age 19+ years and 11 milligrams per day for men […]
- Zinc finger
A finger-shaped fold in a protein that permits it to interact with DNA and RNA. The fold is created by the binding of specific amino acids in the protein to a zinc atom. Zinc-finger proteins regulate the expression of genes as well as nucleic acid recognition, reverse transcription and virus assembly.
- Zinc ointment
A topical preparation that contains zinc and is applied to protect the skin from irritation or sunburn. Zinc ointment is also often the basis for commercial preparations for preventing diaper rash. It should not be used on skin that is already broken or irritated, however.
- Zinc oxide
An ingredient found in creams and ointments used to prevent or treat minor skin burns and irritation including sun burns and diaper rash.
- Zinc sulfate
A form of zinc that can be administered in eyedrops. Zinc sulfate is used in some types of eye tests.