Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)
What is it?
Zinc is a naturally occurring mineral. Zinc is important for growth and for the development and health of body tissues. According to the FDA, there is no evidence in the available information on zinc sulfate, zinc oxide, zinc gluconate, zinc acetate, zinc carbonate, and zinc chloride that demonstrates, or suggests reasonable grounds to suspect, a hazard to the public.
Zinc gluconate, C12H22O14Zn, is used to treat and to prevent zinc deficiency. It exists as a pure white or off-white powder, but is available at the pharmacy in tablet form. It is also available in lozenge and spray form that is often promoted for use in helping to shorten the duration of a cold. The use of oral zinc to prevent or shorten colds is controversial, and studies are conflicting as to the effectiveness of zinc for cold treatment.
Zinc has also been used as a treatment for the common cold and for enhanced wound healing, but evidence to support these indications is limited. Zinc also has applications in pneumonia, diarrhea, male fertility, and Alzheimer disease.