What Is Zinc and How Does It Work?

Zinc is an essential mineral that humans need to stay healthy. Zinc helps the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses, is important for wound healing and is important for proper senses of taste and smell. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic materials in cells.

Zinc is available under the following different brand names: Galzin and ZnCl2.

Zinc can naturally be found in shellfish, fish, red meat; plant sources such as whole grains, legumes and nuts, though it is less bioavailable due to phytic acid binding.

What Are Dosages of Zinc?

Dosages of Zinc:

Adult and Pediatric Dosages

Capsule (zinc gluconate)

  • 50 mg

Capsule (zinc acetate)

  • 25 mg
  • 50 mg

Tablet (zinc gluconate)

  • 15 mg
  • 30 mg
  • 50 mg
  • 100 mg

Tablet, extended-release (zinc gluconate)

  • 100 mg

Lozenge (zinc gluconate)

  • 10 mg
  • 13.3 mg


  • 13.3 mg

IV solution (zinc sulfate)

  • 1 mg/ml
  • 5 mg/ml

IV solution (zinc chloride)

  • 1 mg/ml

Recommended daily dosage (elemental zinc):

  • Adult dosages:
    • Males older than 14 years: 11 mg/day
    • Females older than 19 years: 8 mg/day
    • Pregnancy: (14-18 years old) 12 mg/day
    • Pregnancy: (older than 19 years old): 11 mg/day
    • Breastfeeding: (14-18 years old) 13 mg/day
    • Breastfeeding: (older than 19 years) 12 mg/day
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): (14-18 years old) 34 mg/day
    • UL: (older than 19 years): 40 mg/day
  • Pediatric dosages:
    • Infants 0-6 months: 2 mg/day
    • Infants 6-12 months: 3 mg/day
    • Children 1-3 years: 3 mg/day
    • Children 3-8 years: 5 mg/day
    • Children 8-13 years: 8 mg/day
    • Children 13-18 years: 11 mg/day

Common Cold (expressed as elemental zinc)

  • Adult dosage:
    • 4.5-23.7 mg zinc gluconate lozenge orally every 2 hours
  • Total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
  • Adult dosage
    • Acute catabolic state: 4.5-6 mg/day added to total parenteral nutrition intravenously if metabolically stable
    • Metabolically stable: 2.5 mg-4 mg/day, additional 12.2 mg per liter of small bowel fluid lost, or 17.1 mg per kilogram of stool or ileostomy recommended
  • Pediatric dosage:
    • Children over 5 years: 100 mcg/kg per day added to total parenteral nutrition intravenously
    • Premature infants (over 1500 g birth weight-3 kg): 300 mcg/kg per day added to TPN intravenously

Wilson's disease

  • Adult dosages (expressed as elemental zinc)
    • Zinc acetate (galzin): 50 mg orally three times daily
    • During pregnancy: 25 mg orally three times daily, may increase to 50 mg three times daily if inadequate response
  • Pediatric dosages
  • Zinc acetate
  • Manufacturer's dosing
    • Children older than 10 years: 25 mg orally three times daily, may increase to 50 mg three times daily if inadequate response
  • American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) dosing
    • Children older than 5 years and under 50 kg: 25 mg orally three times daily
    • Children over 50 kg and adolescents: 50 mg orally three times daily

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

  • Take Galzin capsules on an empty stomach and swallow whole

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Zinc?

Side effects of zinc include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • gastric irritation
  • elevation of serum alkaline phosphate, amylase, and lipase that may return to high normal within 1-2 years of therapy
  • neurologic deterioration

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

What Other Drugs Interact with Zinc?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist first.

  • Zinc has no known severe interactions with any drugs.
  • Zinc has no known serious interactions with any drugs.
  • Zinc has no known moderate interactions with any drugs.
  • Zinc has no known mild interactions with any drugs.

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions, concerns, or for more information about this medicine.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Zinc?


  • This medication contains zinc
  • Do not take Galzin or ZnCl2 if you are allergic to zinc or any ingredients contained in this drug
  • Keep out of reach of children
  • In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately


Effects of Drug Abuse

  • No information available

Short-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Zinc?"

Long-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Zinc?"


  • Zinc is not for direct injection into a peripheral vein as it may cause infusion phlebitis
  • The injection contains aluminum, which may cause toxicity in prolonged parenteral administration if renal function is impaired
  • Do not use zinc intranasally (as in Zicam) due to the risk of permanent loss of smell
  • Lozenges sweetened with citric acid, mannitol, or sorbitol have decreased efficacy, lozenges should only be sweetened with glycine

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • The use of zinc (Galzin) in pregnancy is generally acceptable. Controlled studies in pregnant women show no evidence of fetal risk
  • Use of zinc (injection or gluconate) during pregnancy with caution if benefits outweigh risks. Animal studies show risk and human studies are not available, or neither animal nor human studies were done
  • Zinc is present in breast milk, use caution if breastfeeding
Medscape. Zinc.
NIH. Office of Dietary Supplements. Zinc.

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