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What is Zinc?

Zinc is a nutrient that people need to stay healthy. Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Zinc also helps wounds heal and is important for proper senses of taste and smell.

The amount of zinc you need each day depends on your age. Average daily recommended amounts for different ages are listed below in milligrams (mg):

Life Stage - Recommended Amount
Birth to 6 months - 2 mg
Infants 7–12 months - 3 mg
Children 1–3 years - 3 mg
Children 4–8 years - 5 mg
Children 9–13 years - 8 mg
Teens 14–18 years (boys) - 11 mg
Teens 14–18 years (girls) - 9 mg
Adults (men) - 11 mg
Adults (women) - 8 mg
Pregnant teens - 12 mg
Pregnant women - 11 mg
Breastfeeding teens  -13 mg
Breastfeeding women - 12 mg