- What other names is Zinc known by?
- What is Zinc?
- How does Zinc work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Zinc.
Zinc Safety and Side Effects
Zinc is safe for most adults when applied to the skin, or when taken by mouth in amounts not larger than 40 mg per day for adults age 19 and older. Routine zinc supplementation is not recommended without the advice of a healthcare professional. In some people zinc might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, metallic taste, kidney and stomach damage, and other side effects. Using zinc on broken skin may cause burning, stinging, itching, and tingling.
High doses above the recommended amounts might cause fever, coughing, stomach pain, fatigue, and many other problems.
Taking more than 100 mg of supplemental zinc daily or taking supplemental zinc for 10 or more years doubles the risk of developing prostate cancer. There is also concern that taking large amounts of a multivitamin plus a separate zinc supplement increases the chance of dying from prostate cancer.
Taking 450 mg or more of zinc daily can cause problems with blood iron. Single doses of 10-30 grams of zinc can be fatal...
- Preventing and treating zinc deficiency.
Likely Effective for...
- Reducing diarrhea in malnourished children, or in children who have low zinc levels.
- Wilson's disease, a rare genetic disorder.
Possibly Effective for...
- Decreasing the length of time the common cold lasts, when taken by mouth as a lozenge. However, using zinc as a pill or a nose spray doesn't seem to help prevent colds.
- Promoting weight gain and improving depression in people with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.
- Treating hypogeusia, a rare condition where the sense of taste is abnormal.
- Osteoporosis. Low zinc intake seems to be linked to lower bone mass. Taking a zinc supplement in combination with copper, manganese, and calcium might also decrease bone loss in postmenopausal women.
- Treating an inherited disorder called acrodermatitis enteropathica.
- Leprosy, when used with other medications.
- Herpes simplex virus, when zinc preparations made for the skin are applied directly to the mouth or genitals.
- Treating an eye disease called AMD (age-related macular degeneration) when taken with other medicines.
- Preventing and treating stomach ulcers.
- Preventing complications related to sickle cell anemia in people who have low zinc levels.
- Preventing muscle cramps in people who have low zinc levels.
- Treating leg wounds in people with low zinc levels.
- As a mouthwash or toothpaste for preventing tarter and gingivitis.
- Improving healing of burns.
- Increasing vitamin A levels in underfed children, or in children with low zinc levels.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Preventing and treating pneumonia in undernourished children in developing countries.
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Raising iron blood levels in pregnant women, when taken with iron and folic acid supplements.
- Skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, or hair loss.
- Many kinds of arthritis.
- Preventing or treating cataracts.
- Malaria in underfed children.
- Inflammatory bowel disease.
- "Ringing in the ears" (tinnitus).
- AIDS diarrhea-wasting syndrome.
- Preventing the flu.
- Increasing birth weight and gestation time in infants born to HIV infected women.
- Preventing prostate cancer. Some preliminary research suggests that some men might benefit from taking zinc along with other vitamins and minerals for preventing prostate cancer. But other research suggests that taking zinc can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer and increase the risk of dying from prostate cancer.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Alzheimer's disease, wrinkled skin, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, treating the common cold when used as a nose spray, asthma, Down syndrome, recurrent ear infections, male sexual problems, preventing cancer, and other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Next: How does Zinc work?
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