Scientists are studying zinc to see how it affects health. Here are a few examples of what this research has shown.
Immune system and wound healing
Zinc supplements might help some people with sores and skin ulcers, but only if these people have low levels of zinc.
Children who live in developing countries often die from diarrhea. Zinc supplements might help these children get better more quickly. It is not clear if zinc supplements help children with diarrhea who get enough zinc, such as most children in the United States.
The common cold
Some scientists have tried to find out whether zinc lozenges help people with a cold feel better and recover more quickly. But these studies have had different results. At this time, it is not clear whether zinc lozenges can help treat the common cold.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
People with AMD lose their vision over time. In one study, scientists gave older people with AMD a daily supplement with 80 mg zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and copper for about 6 years. The people who took these supplements had a lower chance of getting advanced AMD and lost less of their vision. The same study showed that taking supplements containing only zinc also lowered the chance of getting advanced AMD in people with a high risk of this disease.