Studies on the efficacy of zinc supplementation for treatment or prevention of diarrhea have shown an inconsistent effect in populations at risk for zinc deficiency. Unlike drugs, which have no preexisting presence in the body, endogenous zinc must be assessed pharmacokinetically by isotope tracer studies. Although such methods have produced much data, very few studies have estimated the dose and the timing of dosing of zinc supplementation. This review examines drug kinetics used to establish the best dose, the timing of such doses, and the mechanism of action through pharmacodynamic markers and applies them, where possible, to zinc supplements. The findings reveal that little is known, especially in children at highest risk of zinc deficiency. Key data missing to inform proper dosing, whether for treatment of disease or for preventive nutrient supplementation, are noted. Addressing these uncertainties could improve study design, leading to future studies of zinc supplements that might be of greater benefit.