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Zinc is an important trace mineral that people need to stay healthy. This element is second only to iron in its concentration in the body. Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It is needed for the body's defensive (immune) system to properly work. It plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Zinc is also needed for the senses of smell and taste. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly.
Recent information from an expert review on zinc supplements showed that: When taken for at least 5 months, zinc may reduce the risk of becoming sick with the common cold; starting to take zinc supplements within 24 hours after cold symptoms begin may reduce how long the symptoms last and make the symptoms less severe.