Zinc is an essential mineral for healthy metabolism and is found in shellfish (particularly oysters), red meat, nuts (cashews are a good choice) and some fortified cereals. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of zinc for adults 19 and up is 11 milligrams for men and 8 milligrams for women.

Research shows that zinc intake can influence your health in a number of ways.

The Common Cold

There is evidence to suggest that this immune-boosting supplement can help shorten the length of a cold.

In fact, a 2008 study found that subjects who took a zinc supplement within 24 hours of symptom onset had less severe symptoms for a shorter period of time than cold-suffering subjects who took a placebo.

Wound Healing

Zinc is essential to healthy skin. Zinc deficiency has been linked to delayed wound healing.

People with chronic skin ulcers, such as diabetics, could benefit from a daily zinc supplement to ensure their zinc serum levels are normal and skin healing is not impaired.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration or AMD is a common eye disease causing vision loss primarily in adults aged 50 and older.

Those with a family history of AMD are at higher risk, but lifestyle choices including a healthy diet and supplementation may help slow the disease’s progression.

Zinc is an important part of the AREDS formulation—a combination of supplements found in the National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study—that may help prevent or slow the progression of AMD.

Here are a few zinc supplements we recommend:

For kids

Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Kid’s Zinc Lozenges.

At the first sign of cold symptoms, offer one of these soothing lozenges to your little one.

For adults

Pure Encapsulations Zinc 30 Capsules.

These gluten-free, non-GMO capsules contain 30 milligrams of zinc picolinate to support a healthy immune system.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need slightly more zinc. Consult your doctor about a dose that is right for you.