Zinc supplements are used to treat zinc deficiency that sometimes occurs in people with severe diarrhea, cirrhosis of the liver, or absorption disorders, according to WebMD. Zinc supplements are also sometimes needed following long-term tube feeding and after major surgery.
Zinc supplements may be an effective treatment for Wilson's disease, which is an inherited disorder characterized by excess copper in the body, states WebMD. In people with the disease, zinc works by blocking the amount of copper the body absorbs and helping the body to release excess copper.
Some research suggests that zinc supplements may possibly be effective in treating acne in some people, suggests WebMD. According to researchers, people with acne have lower levels of zinc in the skin and blood, and taking oral supplements of zinc may help to treat it. Zinc ointment applied to the skin and used in conjunction with erythromycin, an antibiotic, may also be beneficial to acne sufferers.
Some other potential uses for zinc include treatment of age-related macular degeneration and reduction in the risk of anemia, notes WebMD. Zinc supplements may also help increase weight gain and reduce symptoms of depression in anorexics. There is also some research into its use for the treatment of attention deficit disorder, burns, the common cold and diabetic foot ulcers.