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 age 19+ years. Food sources of zinc include meat including liver, eggs, seafood, nuts and cereal.
Deficiency of zinc is associated with short stature, anemia, increased pigmentation of skin (hyperpigmentation), enlarged liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly), impaired gonadal function (hypogonadism), impaired wound healing, and immune deficiency.
In a genetic disease called acrodermatitis enteropathica, there is impaired zinc uptake from the intestine. The condition is 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 is an abnormally low blood zinc level reflecting the impaired zinc uptake. Treatment with zinc is curative.
- Zinc deficiency dermatitis and diarrhea
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 […]
- 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.