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Zinc (symbol Zn)
An essential trace element, necessary for growth and development and maintaining a healthy reproductive system, fertility and foetal development. It also keeps the skin healthy, protects the immune system and regulates the sense of taste.
Its best sources are to be found in dairy products, meat, smoked oysters (which can be bought tinned) and pulses and whole-grain cereals.
Zinc taken as a supplement with vitamin C helps prevent and possible shorten the life span of the common cold.
From very early times zinc has been used as a component of brass, but it wasn't recognized as a separate metal until 1746 by Andreas Sigismund Marggraf (1709-82).