Fat Loss & Zinc

Fat Loss & Zinc

Did you know that a metal such as zinc can help contribute to a healthy weight? Did you also know zinc can also help your body heal? Have a read of this article to learn the benefits.

LAST UPDATED: March 2019 by Ben

There are a full list of the cited references below the body of text to support this article.

Zinc and Fat Mass

We look at the combination of correct nutrition and why zinc is one of the keys to fat loss if you are wanting to manage your weight.

A lot of people think that the key to weight loss and fat burn is to skip meals and generally eat less.

Breakfast is missed; then it’s an apple for lunch and a glass of wine for an evening meal to try and block the depression of not being able to eat a pizza.

However, while less calories in versus the calories burnt as energy is the simple equation to weight loss and fat burn, there is a better way.

No one wants to look malnourished and tired. And, burning fat does not necessarily mean losing weight.

It is probably a good idea to ditch the scales because fat loss doesn’t always coincide with a loss of weight.

If you fuel yourself with the right nutrients by not skipping (healthy) meals and incorporate a progressive exercise regime that includes resistance training you can build yourself a healthy, fit, athletic and toned body with less fat mass.

So, the correct vitamins and minerals are key to healthy fat loss.

We look look at the following:

  • What’s zinc
  • Benefits
  • Fat loss 
  • Video summary
  • Foods rich in zinc
  • Conclusion

What is Zinc?

You may remember zinc from your days in school studying science and the periodic table.

However, if you are anything like me you have probably forgotten almost everything you were taught.

Yet, one thing I do remember is that zinc is a metal.

This poses a few questions such as…

  • How is eating metal going to benefit fat loss?
  • Will it kill me?
  • Will I become the Terminator? 

I really wish the last question was true and I would become the Terminator by ingesting zinc, but unfortunately that is non-starter. So scratch that off the list.

But we can discuss the first couple of questions.

Firstly, let’s run through a bit of information about zinc.

Zinc is a trace chemical element that is involved in a lot of different cellular functions.

It is called a ‘trace’ chemical element because very small amounts are required for healthy bodily function.

Thankfully it is in abundant amounts in the earths crust so we are not going to run out anytime soon.

That said, many people are deficient in zinc, partly because we cannot store it. [1]

As a result we need to keep topping zinc up. This is particularly important because it can help prevent disease.

In fact one of the key benefits to zinc is wound healing.

As we said we need it is very small amounts, but on an industrial scale this metal can be used as a roof for buildings, and, if scratched it can also self heal over time.

Because we need so little, and it being a requirement to health, consuming zinc will not kill you.

However, if you take what is considered a large dose of zinc over time it can cause some issues.

But, bare in mind that a large dose is considered a tenth of a gram – so just 100mg.


black man in a squat rack with a barbell

As already mentioned, we need zinc. It is required for healthy bodily function, and it is corrosion resistant.

So you can’t say its uses aren’t diverse…if you want to have a leak and rust resistant roof anyway.

However, in terms of human health we could go on for hours discussing the merits of zinc, so we will run through the basics first so you can get an idea of how important this metal is.

Basics of Zinc

Zinc is required for:

  • Healthy immune system function
  • Protein synthesis
  • Wound healing
  • DNA synthesis
  • Growth and development

It is recommended that an adult male has 11mg of zinc daily.

Due to its requirements for growth and development, women who are pregnant require 11mg and if breastfeeding they need 12mg

If you are deficient in zinc (2 billion people world wide are thought to be so) it could effect your growth.

Low levels of zinc can have a negative effect on your appetite but can also contribute to hair loss and impotency.

Too little zinc will lower natural testosterone levels and may even cause diarrhea among other ailments.

Fat loss

Let’s get on to the nitty gritty, and why zinc is important for fat loss.

Let’s start with obesity and how it has taken a grip on the world’s population.

In many developing countries obesity is now a growing epidemic, to say obesity is a global concern would be accurate.

So how can zinc help?

Let’s first understand that people with obesity also have low levels of zinc [2], not only that, those who are deficient zinc have a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease because their low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the good cholesterol) levels are low. [3]

Furthermore, a low level of zinc is also related to high inflammation, oxidation stress and insulin resistance. [4]

All of which are related to an increase level of fat mass [5].

Therefore, already we can see there is a strong link between zinc, the effects of zinc deficiency and obesity. [6]

Does this mean then that zinc supplementation can help reverse fatty tissue build up?

In essence, yes. Zinc has a major role to play in decreasing inflammation plus the contributory effects which can promote chronic diseases such as obesity. [7]

Furthermore, a study involving obese children concluded that zinc supplementation could be considered as a useful and safe treatment. [8]

Another study confirmed that zinc has important effects on metabolism and theromgenesis.

Thus the researchers concluded that zinc has a role in catabolic mechanisms whereby the molecules are broken down in to smaller units to be used for energy. [9]

On the other hand, a study discovered that zinc helps with the production of serotonin which in tun helps regulate food intake by reducing your appetite. [10]

This means that you calorie intake can be more easily regulated.

It has also been established that a deficiency in zinc can reduce the level of thyroid hormones. This can lead to weight gain. [11]

You may or may not of heard about a hormone called leptinin.

However, this is known as the energy hormone. It controls your needs for energy by preventing you from feeling hungry and therefore you do not consume too much fuel that can be stored as fat if not used.

Research has demonstrated that zinc supplementation increased the secretion of leptinin making you feel full and controlling energy intake. [12]

Video Summary

Zinc Rich Foods

foods high in natural zinc

As earlier stated, don’t try to lose weight by skipping meals, you need to eat to right foods high in nutrients coupled with an exercise regime.

As such, take a look at these foods that are high in zinc that can help contribute to fat loss:

  • Oysters
  • Beef
  • Crab
  • Pork
  • Lobster
  • Cashews
  • Chickpeas
  • Milk
  • Kindney beans
  • Cheese
  • Peas


As illustrated by the many studies that we have discussed, zinc has a contributing factor and role in to fat mass and obesity.

There is a proven link between obesity and zinc deficiency. This is related to oxidative stress and inflammation among other contributory factors.

In addition, there is also a proven link between zinc supplementation and metabolism plus energy intake control.

Zinc helps increase thermogenesis which increases calorie expenditure and it helps maintain hunger control which prevents you from eating too much and storing unspent energy as fat.


[1] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

[2] Zinc nutritional status in obese children and adolescents. Marreiro DN, Fisberg M, Cozzolino SM. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2002 May;86(2):107-22. PMID: 12008974

[3] Effects of Zinc supplementation on serum lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ranasinghe P, Wathurapatha WS, Ishara MH, Jayawardana R, Galappatthy P, Katulanda P, Constantine GR. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2015 Aug 4;12:26. doi: 10.1186/s12986-015-0023-4. eCollection 2015. Review. PMID: 26244049 

[4] Effect of zinc supplementation on markers of insulin resistance, oxidative stress, and inflammation among prepubescent children with metabolic syndrome. Kelishadi R, Hashemipour M, Adeli K, Tavakoli N, Movahedian-Attar A, Shapouri J, Poursafa P, Rouzbahani A. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2010 Dec;8(6):505-10. doi: 10.1089/met.2010.0020. Epub 2010 Oct 28. PMID: 21028969

[5] http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/116/11/1234.short

[6] https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/1811/49029/Dara_Burris_Thesis.pdf?sequence=1

[7] https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0531556507002458

[8] Effect of zinc supplementation on insulin resistance and components of the metabolic syndrome in prepubertal obese children. Hashemipour M, Kelishadi R, Shapouri J, Sarrafzadegan N, Amini M, Tavakoli N, Movahedian-Attar A, Mirmoghtadaee P, Poursafa P. Hormones (Athens). 2009 Oct-Dec;8(4):279-85. PMID: 20045801

[9] Relationship between zinc and obesity. Di Martino G, Matera MG, De Martino B, Vacca C, Di Martino S, Rossi F. J Med. 1993;24(2-3):177-83. PMID: 8409780

[10] Micronutrient accumulation and depletion in schizophrenia, epilepsy, autism and Parkinson’s disease? Johnson S1.

[11] https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/14698569

[12] http://ijem.in/article.asp?issn=2230-8210;year=2012;volume=16;issue=9;spage=611;epage=616;aulast=Baltaci;type=3

Zinc and fat loss
Article Name
Zinc and fat loss
We look at the benefits zinc and how it can help towards controlling your weight.

Ben BA(Hons), PGCert

Ben established this site to be a free resource in 2015. Since then it has gained over half a million visits. He has always been interested in sport and he started playing rugby at the age of 6 represented his town, county and school. Ben also enjoys cycling, has started skiing and is in the Army Reserve representing his Regiment as part of the 150 Regimental Shooting Team. He holds a bachelor's and postgraduate degree in sport exercise & nutrition.

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