Abstract

Zinc is an essential microelement that plays many important functions in the body. It is crucial for the regulation of cell growth, hormone release, immunological response and reproduction. This review focuses on its importance in the reproductive system of women of reproductive and postmenopausal ages, not including its well-described role in pregnancy. Only recently, attention has been drawn to the potential role of zinc in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), dysmenorrhea, or endometriosis. This review is mainly based on 36 randomized, controlled studies on reproductive, pre- and post-menopausal populations of women and on research trying to explain the potential impact of zinc and its supplementation in the etiology of selected female reproductive system disorders. In women with PCOS, zinc supplementation has a positive effect on many parameters, especially those related to insulin resistance and lipid balance. In primary dysmenorrhea, zinc supplementation before and during each menstrual cycle seems to be an important factor reducing the intensity of menstrual pain. On the other hand, little is known of the role of zinc in endometriosis and in postmenopausal women. Therefore, further studies explaining the potential impact of zinc and its supplementation on female reproductive system would be highly advisable and valuable.

Keywords: dysmenorrhea; endometriosis; ovary; polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); primary dysmenorrhea (PD); reproductive system; supplementation; uterus; zinc.