Zinc Supplementation and Body Weight: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Adv Nutr. 2020 Mar 1;11(2):398-411. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz084.


The aim of this study was to determine the effect of zinc supplementation on anthropometric measures. In this systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis, we searched PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library from database inception to August 2018 for relevant randomized controlled trials. Mean differences and SDs for each outcome were pooled using a random-effects model. Furthermore, a dose-response analysis for zinc dosage was performed using a fractional polynomial model. Quality of evidence was evaluated using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology. Twenty-seven trials (n = 1438 participants) were included in the meta-analysis. There were no significant changes in anthropometric measures after zinc supplementation in the overall analysis. However, subgroup analyses revealed that zinc supplementation increased body weight in individuals undergoing hemodialysis (HD) [3 trials, n = 154 participants; weighted mean difference (WMD) = 1.02 kg; 95% CI: 0.38, 1.65 kg; P = 0.002; I2 = 11.4%] and decreased body weight in subjects who are overweight/obese but otherwise healthy (5 trials, n = 245 participants; WMD = -0.55 kg; 95% CI: -1.06, -0.04 kg; P = 0.03; I2 = 31.5%). Dose-response analyses revealed a significant nonlinear effect of supplementation dosage on BMI (P = 0.001). Our data suggest that zinc supplementation increases body weight in patients undergoing HD and decreases body weight in individuals who are overweight/obese but otherwise healthy, although after normalization for study duration, the association observed in subjects who are overweight/obese disappeared. Although more high-quality studies are needed to reach a definitive conclusion, our study supports the view that zinc may be associated with body weight.

Keywords: body mass index; body weight; dose–response; meta-analysis; obesity; zinc.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Zinc / administration & dosage*


  • Zinc