A mineral essential to the body, zinc is a constituent of many enzymes that permit chemical reactions to proceed at normal rates. It is involved in the manufacture of protein (protein synthesis) and in cell division. Zinc is also a constituent of insulin, and is concerned with the sense of smell. Food sources of zinc include meat, particularly liver and seafood; eggs; nuts; and cereal grains. Deficiency of zinc is associated with short stature, anemia, increased pigmentation of skin (hyperpigmentation), enlarged liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly), impaired gonadal function (hypogonadism), impaired wound healing, and immune deficiency. (For a genetic disorder that impairs zinc uptake, please see Acrodermatitis enteropathica). Too much zinc can cause gastrointestinal irritation (upset stomach), interfere with copper absorption and cause copper deficiency, and (like too little zinc) cause immune deficiency. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowance of zinc is 12 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men.
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A metallic element, atomic no. 30, atomic wt. 65.39; an essential bioelement; a number of salts of z. are used in medicine; a cofactor in many proteins. [Ger. Zink]
- z. chloride ZnCl2; formerly used as a caustic for the removal of cutaneous cancers, nevi, etc., and in weak solution in the treatment of gonorrhea and conjunctivitis. SYN: butter of z..
- z. gelatin z. oxide, gelatin, glycerin, and purified water; used topically as a protectant.
- z. iodide ZnI2; has been used as an antiseptic and astringent.
- z. oxide ZnO; used as a protective in ointment, as a dusting powder; also used in paint as a substitute for lead carbonate. SYN: flowers of z., z. white.
- z. oxide and eugenol used as a base material beneath metallic dental restorations and as a temporary filling material or impression material; setting and hardening result from complex reactions between the powder and the eugenol.
- z. permanganate action is similar to that of potassium permanganate, but more astringent; used in urethritis, by injection or douche in a 1:4000 solution.
- z. peroxide ZnO2; a yellowish white powder, insoluble in water and decomposed by acids; used in pharmaceutic preparations. SYN: z. superoxide.
- z. phenolsulfonate used as an intestinal antiseptic and locally as an astringent in chronic inflammation of the mucous membranes. SYN: z. sulfocarbolate.
- z. phosphide Zn3P2; used as a bait poison for the extermination of rats and mice.
- z. stearate a z. compound with variable proportions of stearic and palmitic acid s; a water-repellent, protective agent used in powders and ointments in the treatment of eczema, acne, and other skin diseases.
- z. sulfate used as a local astringent in the treatment of gonorrhea, indolent ulcers, conjunctivitis, and various skin diseases, and internally as an emetic.
- z. sulfocarbolate SYN: z. phenolsulfonate.
- z. superoxide SYN: z. peroxide.
- z. undecylenate, z. undecenoate the z. salt of undecylenic acid; used in the treatment of fungal and other affections of the skin, including psoriasis.
- z. white SYN: z. oxide.

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zinc 'ziŋk n a bluish white crystalline bivalent metallic element of low to intermediate hardness that is an essential micronutrient for both plants and animals symbol Zn see ELEMENT (table)

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a trace element that is a cofactor of many enzymes. Deficiency is rare with a balanced diet but may occur in alcoholics and those with kidney disease; symptoms include lesions of the skin, oesophagus, and cornea and (in children) retarded growth. Symbol: Zn.

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(Zn) (zingk) [L. zincum] a blue-white metal, many of whose salts are used in medicine; atomic number, 30; atomic weight, 65.37. Zinc is necessary in trace amounts in the body, and hence in the diet; it forms an essential part of many enzymes (e.g., carbonic anhydrase, important in carbon dioxide metabolism) and plays an important role in protein synthesis and in cell division. Deficiency in zinc is associated with anemia, short stature, hypogonadism, impaired wound healing, and geophagia. Excessive exposure to zinc is toxic, and can interfere with the use of copper by the body; ingestion causes gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting, and inhalation of zinc dust, generally associated with welding or other industrial exposure, causes metal fume fever.

Medical dictionary. 2011.


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