Zinc deficiency has a global impact on health in both developing and developed countries, especially among children and the elderly. By modulating anti-inflammatory and antioxidant pathways, zinc supplementation is recommended for the treatment of several ailments, such as liver disease, male hypogonadism, cancers, heart disease (e.g. dyslipidemia) and central nervous system disorders; however, the topic of dietary vs. pharmacological doses of zinc remains controversial. This paper provides a detailed critical review of the effects of zinc supplementation in medicinal doses (i.e. >40 mg/d of elemental zinc) on human health. We further highlight the difficulty in achieving a therapeutic dose of zinc from foodstuffs.
Keywords: Antioxidant supplements; Hypogonadism; Immunonutrition; ZMA; Zinc supplementation.
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