The immune system depends on this essential trace element.

Many (but not all) diseases respond positively when zinc is used to support immunity or correct a zinc deficiency.

Positive response to zinc supplements taken by mouth

  • Diarrhea
  • Chronic hepatitis C
  • Shigellosis
  • Leprosy
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Acute lower respiratory infection
  • Leishmaniasis

In contrast, the results for the common cold and malaria are not conclusive, and zinc was ineffective in most vaccination and rheumatoid arthritis studies.


  • For AIDS, zinc supplementation may be a risk factor for increased mortality.
  • In type 1 diabetes, zinc supplementation is associated with a deterioration of the glucose metabolism.

The bottom line?
The authors from RWTH Aachen University Hospital in Germany concluded, “Zinc supplementation should be used with care and limited to clearly zinc-deficient individuals.”

2/27/08 09:54 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.