Zinc is a constituent of at least 25 enzymes involved in digestion and metabolism. It is a component of insulin and essential in the synthesis of nucleic acids which control the formation of different proteins in the cell. Zinc is important for the proper development of the reproductive organs and normal functioning of the prostate gland.
The mineral speeds the healing of wounds and bone fractures, keeps the skin healthy, and is involved in the formation of keratin, a substance in hair and nails. It supports the immune system and protects against free radicals.
Zinc content of foods depends on soil content. Chemical fertilizers impair its absorption into plants. The milling process removes substantial amounts of the mineral. Although moderate doses enhance immunity, excessive amounts depress it. It is recommended that no more than 100 mg be taken daily.