Zinc is a nutrient that plays many vital roles in your body.
Because your body doesn’t naturally produce zinc, you must obtain it through food or supplements.
Zinc is considered an essential nutrient, meaning that your body can’t produce or store it.
For this reason, you must get a constant supply through your diet.
Zinc is required for numerous processes in your body, including (1):
- Gene expression
- Enzymatic reactions
- Immune function
- Protein synthesis
- DNA synthesis
- Wound healing
- Growth and development
Zinc is naturally found in a wide variety of both plant and animal foods.
Foods that don’t naturally contain this mineral, such as breakfast cereals, snack bars and baking flour, are often fortified with synthetic forms of zinc.
You can also take zinc supplements or multi-nutrient supplements that provide zinc.
Because of its role in immune function, zinc is likewise added to some nasal sprays, lozenges and other natural cold treatments.