Zinc is an essential mineral found in all human cells, and believed to be of critical importance to public health and human biology, especially in the fields of pre- and post-natal development. Deficiency in childhood causes retarded growth, delays the onset of sexual maturity, increases susceptibility to infection, and can cause chronic diarrhoea.
The average adult body contains 2-4 grams of zinc, in the prostate gland and parts of the eye, as well as in bones, muscle, liver and kidney, Particularly high concentrations of zinc are present in semen, which makes it a crucial factor in the functioning of the prostate gland and growth of the male reproductive organs.
Zinc has a varied and frequent interaction with many physiological processes, and is involved in the metabolism of DNA and RNA, gene expression and the sending of molecular signals. In the brain, while it contributes to the expansion capacity of synapses, it may also function as a neurotoxin, and so needs to be kept in balance to maintain normal brain function.
Dietary zinc can be found in animal-based proteins (especially oysters), wheat, seeds, whole grains, nuts, beans, and blackcurrants, and it can also be taken as a supplement.