Odds are, you probably have enough supplements and multivitamins in your cabinet to start a small pharmacy. The big players like Vitamin C, B12, and fish oils are probably on your radar, but you might be ignoring other micronutrients vital to everyday bodily functions.

Case and point: zinc. A healthy man only needs about 11mg (8 for women) of the stuff per day, but if you become deficient in it, there are some unpleasant consequences. According to the National Institutes of Health, zinc deficiency is characterized by loss of appetite and impaired immune function. In some extreme cases of zinc deficiency, people have experienced weight loss, lethargy, hair loss, and diarrhea.

“Zinc performs many crucial functions in the body, such as supporting a healthy immune system and helping proper wound healing,” says Erin Stokes, a naturopathic doctor. “Zinc is also important for our eyesight, as well as our senses of taste and smell.”

Here are a few important things to know about zinc.

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