In this study, our objective was to evaluating the value of serum zinc levels as an etiologic and prognostic marker in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome. We conducted a prospective study, including 53 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome and 33 healthy controls. We compared serum zinc levels, as well as clinical and metabolic features, of the cases. We also compared serum zinc levels between patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome with insulin resistance. Mean zinc levels were found to be significantly lower in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome than healthy controls. Multiple logistic regression analysis of significant metabolic variables between polycystic ovarian syndrome and control groups (serum zinc level, body mass index, the ratio of triglyceride/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and homocysteine) revealed that zinc level was the most significant variable to predict polycystic ovarian syndrome. Mean serum zinc levels tended to be lower in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome with impaired glucose tolerance than patients with normal glucose tolerance, but the difference was not statistically significant. In conclusion, zinc deficiency may play a role in the pathogenesis of polycystic ovarian syndrome and may be related with its long-term metabolic complications.