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Zinc is a mineral that stimulates the activity of approximately 100 enzymes, which are substances that promote biochemical reactions in your body. These reactions are essential for the formation of superoxide dismutase, one of the body’s most important free radical scavengers. Zinc also promotes immune function, taste sensitivity, protein and DNA synthesis, insulin production, reproductive organ development and sperm motility. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence.
Age-related declines in immune function are associated with zinc deficiency, and the elderly represent a group that is vulnerable to mild zinc deficiency. Certain aspects of immune function in the elderly have been found to improve with zinc supplementation.