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Z

Zinc: 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. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowances of zinc are 12 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men. Food sources of zinc include meat including liver, eggs, seafood, nuts and cereal. 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. Recently, zinc has been touted as a treatment for the common cold (see the MedicineNet NEWS).

Zinc deficiency: 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). According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowances of zinc are 12 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men. Food sources of zinc include meat including liver, eggs, seafood, nuts and cereal.

Zinc deficiency dermatitis and diarrhea: A genetic disease called acrodermatitis enteropathica is characterized by the simultaneous occurrence of skin inflammation (dermatitis) and diarrhea. The skin on the cheeks, elbows and knees and tissue about the mouth and anus are inflammed. There is also balding of the scalp, eyebrows and lashes, delayed wound healing and recurrent bacterial and fungal infections due to immune deficiency. The key laboratory finding is an abnormally low blood zinc level reflecting impaired zinc uptake. Oral treatment with zinc is curative.

Zinc excess: 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 Allowances of zinc are 12 milligrams per day for women and 10 milligrams per day for men.

Zinsser: See Brill-Zinsser disease (recrudescent epidemic typhus).

Zygoma: The bone that forms the prominence of the cheek. Known also as the zygomatic bone, the zygomatic arch, malar bone, yoke bone. Zygoma comes from the Greek zygon meaning a yoke (as for oxen).

Zygomatic arch: See Zygoma.

Zygomatic bone. See Zygoma.

Zygote: A zygote is the cell that is formed by the union of a sperm (male sex cell) and an ovum (female sex cell). The zygote develops into the embryo as instructed by the genetic material within the unified cell. The unification of a sperm and an ovum is called "fertilization." (see sperm, ovum).

 
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