Food Supplements and Vitamins. Zinc

Zinc

Background

Zinc is necessary for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymes and plays a vital role in a large number of biological processes. Zinc is a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and is in a number of enzymatic reactions involved in carbohydrate and protein metabolism.

Its immune-enhancing activities include regulation of T-lymphocytes, CD4 cells, natural killer cells, and interleukin-2. In addition, it has been claimed that zinc possesses antiviral activity. Zinc is necessary for the maturation of sperm and normal fetal development. It is involved in sensory perception (taste, smell, and vision) and controls the release of stored vitamin A from the liver. In the endocrine system, zinc has been shown to regulate insulin activity and promote the conversion thyroid hormones thyroxine to triiodothyronine.

Zinc has been used since ancient Egyptian times to enhance wound healing, although the usefulness of this approach is only partially confirmed by clinical data today. In available research, it has been shown to play a role in wound healing, especially following burns or surgical incisions. Based on available scientific evidence, zinc may be effective for the treatment or management of a number of conditions, including diarrhea in malnourished children, skin conditions (such as acne vulgaris, eczema, and psoriasis), gastric ulcers, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), immune disorders, sickle cell anemia, leg ulcers, infertility, Wilson’s disease, herpes, taste or smell disorders, diabetes, and diabetic neuropathy. Zinc has also gained popularity for its use in the prevention of the common cold.

The role of zinc is controversial in some cases, as either the results of published studies provide contradictory information and/or the methodological quality of the studies does not allow for a confident conclusion regarding the role of zinc in the diseases in question.

Dosing

NB! The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

Note : Avoid use of intranasal Zicam®. Numerous reports exist of loss of smell associated with zinc-containing Zicam® products. These zinc-containing formulas have since been withdrawn from the U.S. market.

The current recommended dietary allowance for zinc taken by mouth is: 11 milligrams for males 19 years old and older; 8 milligrams for females 19 years and older; 11 milligrams for pregnant females 19 years old and older; and 12 milligrams for lactating females 19 years and older.

  • For acetazolamide side effects, 0.2 grams of zinc sulfate has been taken three times daily by mouth.
  • For acne vulgaris, doses of 40-300 milligrams of zinc sulfate two or three times daily with or without food have been taken by mouth for 4-12 weeks. 30-200 milligrams of zinc gluconate prior to a meal daily for 2-3 months has also been studied. The following preparations have been used on the skin: zinc (1.2-1.3%) combined with 4% erythromycin two times daily for up to one year; Nel’s cream (containing chloroxylenol and zinc oxide and 5% benzoyl peroxide) two times daily for eight weeks; and 2% zinc sulfate in propylene glycol and ethanol applied three times daily for 12 weeks.
  • For acrodermatitis enteropathica, experts recommend 1-3 milligrams of zinc sulfate or gluconate salts per kilogram, taken by mouth daily. 45-220 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth three times daily.
  • For age-related macular degeneration, 200 milligrams has been used with food once daily or in two divided doses for up to two years.
  • For alopecia areata, Zincomed, containing 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate, has been taken by mouth twice daily for three months.
  • For aphthous stomatitis, 220-660 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken daily by mouth.
  • For burns, 660 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken daily by mouth.
  • For cancer, 90 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth daily for five days, with a maintenance dose of 180 milligrams daily. Zinc gluconate (two tablets, each containing 10 milligrams of zinc) has also been used daily for 10 days.
  • For chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease, 45 milligrams of zinc by mouth daily for two months was not associated with beneficial effects on clinical outcomes or inflammatory indexes.
  • For cognitive function, 15-30 milligrams of zinc by mouth daily for six months improved spatial working memory. However, unfavorable effects were observed on attention with the 15 milligram daily dose.
  • For the common cold, doses have ranged from 4.5 to 24 milligrams of zinc (gluconate or acetate) as a lozenge taken by mouth every 1-2 hours during waking hours while cold symptoms were present.
  • For patients on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), 100 milligrams of elemental zinc by mouth daily for three months did not improve nutritional status.
  • For cutaneous leishamaniasis, 2.5-10 milligrams of zinc sulfate per kilogram by mouth for 45 days has shown beneficial effects. Cure rates were dose dependent. Intralesional injections of 2% zinc sulfate have also been studied.
  • For dandruff, shampoo containing 1% zinc pythione (ZPT) has been used.
  • For dementia, 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate (containing 50 milligrams of elemental zinc) has been used by mouth three times daily for 24 weeks.
  • For diabetes and diabetic neuropathy, 660 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth for six weeks.
  • For patients on dialysis, 50 milligrams of zinc by mouth has been used daily for blood cell effects.
  • For patients with Down syndrome, 135 milligrams of zinc sulfate taken by mouth daily for two months improved immune function.
  • For eating disorders, 45-100 milligrams of zinc (zinc sulfate, zinc gluconate, or zinc acetate) has been taken daily by mouth. Twenty-five milligrams of zinc as zinc acetate in a solution taken daily by mouth 30 minutes before each of three meals, for three weeks in patients with bulimia nervosa and for four weeks in patients with anorexia nervosa, has been studied. For anorexia, 40 micromoles of zinc has been used intravenously daily for seven days, followed by 15 milligrams by mouth daily for 60 days.
  • For eczema, 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken daily by mouth (duration not specified).
  • For exercise performance, 20 milligrams of zinc has been taken by mouth daily for seven days.
  • For furunculosis (boils), 45 milligrams of zinc (Solvezink®, Tika) by mouth has been used three times daily for four weeks.
  • For gastric ulcers, 300 milligrams of A-84 (e-acetamide zinc caproate) has been taken with meals three times daily for three weeks, and 300-900 milligrams of zinc acexamate has been taken with or without food daily for up to 90 days.
  • For Gilbert’s syndrome, 40 milligrams of zinc sulfate in a single dose by mouth has been used for acute conditions. For chronic conditions, 100 milligrams of zinc sulfate in a single dose has been used by mouth for seven days.
  • For halitosis (bad breath), one or two pieces of a zinc chewing gum has been chewed for at least 10 minutes, three times daily for one week.
  • For hepatic encephalopathy, 600 milligrams of zinc sulfate or zinc acetate has been taken by mouth daily for 7-10 days.
  • For herpes simplex virus, the following has been applied to the skin: 0.3% zinc oxide/glycine cream applied every two hours until the sore resolves or for 21 days; Virunderim Gel®, containing 10 milligrams of zinc sulfate, for up to 12 days; 0.01-0.05% zinc sulfate solution applied often during a breakout and once per week during remission; and 4% zinc sulfate solution in water.
  • For hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), 7.7 micromoles of zinc sulfate (50 milligrams of elemental zinc) has been taken by mouth daily for 90 days, and 150 milligrams of zinc has been taken by mouth daily for 12 weeks.
  • For hyperprolactinemia, acute administration of 37.5 milligrams of zinc sulfate (as zinc sulfate diluted in 20 milliliters of deionized water) every 30 minutes for 240 minutes was not shown to have an effect on prolactin levels. Chronic administration of 47.7 milligrams of zinc three times daily for 60 days was also not shown to have an effect on prolactin levels.
  • For HIV/AIDS, 200 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth daily for four weeks as an aid to immune response, and 125 milligrams of zinc gluconate taken by mouth twice daily for three weeks increased the levels of immune cells.
  • For immune function, the following doses have been taken by mouth in various patients: in the elderly, 12-150 milligrams of elemental zinc daily for up to one month, or 440 milligrams of zinc sulfate in two divided doses daily for one month, or 100 milligrams of zinc daily for three months; in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis, 200 milligrams of zinc sulfate for two months; in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 0.02 milligrams of zinc per kilogram of body weight (duration unspecified); in healthy men, 30 milligrams of zinc daily for 14 weeks; in patients with cancer, two tablets of zinc gluconate (each containing 10 milligrams of zinc) daily for 10 days; and 120 milligrams of zinc sulfate after dialysis sessions. A 10% zinc sulfate in Aquaphor® ointment has also been applied to the skin as a one-time dose. Intravenous zinc (dose unavailable) for eight weeks has been used. 30 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been used for the first three days of total parenteral nutrition. 17.3 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been administered intravenously in saline daily for 28 days.
  • For incision wounds, 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth three times daily following surgery to promote wound healing.
  • For infertility, the following doses have been taken by mouth: 50 milligrams of zinc daily in hemodialysis patients; 66 milligrams of zinc sulfate daily for 26 weeks in fertile and subfertile males to increase sperm count; 250 milligrams of zinc sulfate twice daily for three months; 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate (Zincolak® caps, Shalaks Chemicals) once daily for four months; 440 milligrams of zinc sulfate for up to 24 months; 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate for impotence and hypogonadism in hepatic cirrhosis patients; and 500 milligrams of zinc daily with hydrochlorothiazide. Zinc-L-hydrogen-aspartate solution added to 10 liters of commercially available dialysis concentrate to achieve a plasma zinc concentration of 19.5-25 micromoles per liter has been used. Zinc chloride added to dialysate to achieve a serum zinc concentration of 17% has been used for six weeks.
  • For inflammatory bowel disease, 300 milligrams of zinc aspartate (equal to 60 milligrams of elemental zinc) has been taken by mouth daily for four weeks. In patients with ulcerative colitis, 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth three times daily for 3-4 weeks. 200 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth daily for three months in patients with Crohn’s disease.
  • For intestinal malabsorption, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 100 milligrams three times daily; and 19 milligrams daily.
  • For leg ulcers, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate 1-3 times daily for up to 12 months; 660 milligrams daily; and 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate three times daily (duration not specified). The following has been applied to the skin: 250-510 micrograms of zinc oxide per square centimeter in polyvinyl pyrrolidone; zinc oxide dressings (Mezinc™) for eight weeks; gauze compress medicated with zinc oxide (400 micrograms of zinc oxide per square centimeter) for eight weeks; and zinc oxide (400 micrograms of zinc oxide per square centimeter) applied to gauze compresses, changed once daily for 8 weeks.
  • For leprosy, 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth as an adjunct to leprosy medication daily for up to 18 months. Zinc oxide tape (approximately 30%) on leprosy wounds has also been used
  • For leukemia, 0.02 milligrams of zinc sulfate per kilogram by mouth has been studied as an adjunct therapy.
  • For liver cirrhosis, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 200 milligrams of zinc sulfate daily for two months; 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate twice daily for 12 weeks; and 200 milligrams three times daily for 42-60 days.
  • For mood disorders, seven milligrams of zinc has been taken by mouth daily for 10 weeks.
  • For muscle cramps in patients with cirrhosis, 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth twice daily for 12 weeks.
  • For nickel-positive patients, 100 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth three times daily for 30 days.
  • For plaque or gingivitis, the following has been used: a mouthwash with 0.001% zinc has been used twice daily for three weeks; a dentifrice containing 0.5% zinc citrate as a substitute for toothpaste three times daily for 12 weeks; a dentifrice containing 0.5% zinc citrate trihydrate, 0.15% fluoride as sodium monofluorophosphate, silica abrasive, and 0.20% triclosan twice daily in combination with normal brushing for four weeks; and 10 milliliters of an active mouthwash of 0.2% zinc citrate (600 parts per million of zinc) for one minute twice daily for seven days.
  • For pregnancy, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of zinc is as follows: 11 milligrams daily for pregnant women 19 years of age and older; or 12 milligrams daily in pregnant women 14-18 years of age. The following doses have been taken by mouth: 14 milligrams of iron and 250 micrograms of folate with 15 milligrams of zinc from week 10-24 of gestation until delivery; 44 milligrams of zinc (Zinclet ® , Gunnar Kjems Aps) from <20 weeks of gestation until delivery; 66 milligrams of zinc sulfate daily after breakfast in women who were <20 weeks of gestation until delivery; 30-90 milligrams of zinc gluconate daily starting in the 20th week of pregnancy until delivery; and 22.5 milligrams of zinc as citrate in effervescent tablets for the last 15-25 weeks of pregnancy.
  • For psoriasis, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate three times daily for up to six months; 50 milligrams of elemental zinc three times daily; and one tablet containing 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate (45 milligrams of elemental zinc) daily after an evening meal for 12 weeks.
  • For upper respiratory tract infections, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 15 milligrams of zinc gluconate daily (duration unspecified); and 23 milligrams of zinc gluconate lozenges daily as an initial dose of four lozenges, then one lozenge every two hours for seven days.
  • For rheumatoid arthritis, 200-220 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth three times daily for up to eight months.
  • For sexual dysfunction, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate for impotence and hypogonadism in hepatic cirrhosis patients for 6-8 months; 500 milligrams of zinc as a supplement with hydrochlorothiazide for sexual side effects; and 150 milligrams of zinc daily in three divided doses in men undergoing hemodialysis.
  • For sickle cell anemia management, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate three times daily; 50-75 milligrams of zinc daily for up to three years; a solution of 1% zinc sulfate in distilled water; 15 milligrams of zinc as acetate; 25 milligrams every four hours; 15 milligrams of zinc as acetate three times daily for 12 months; and 660 milligrams of zinc sulfate daily.
  • For skin damage caused by incontinence, zinc oxide oil (concentration and frequency unspecified) has been applied to the skin for 14 days.
  • For stress, 10 milligrams of elemental zinc has been taken by mouth daily (duration unspecified) in the elderly.
  • For taste disturbances, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 15-30 milligrams daily (duration unspecified); 140 milligrams of zinc gluconate daily (duration unspecified); 29 milligrams of zinc picolinate three times daily for three months; 100 milligrams of zinc ion for three months; 15 milligrams of zinc sulfate daily for 95 days; 158 milligrams of anhydrous zinc gluconate three times daily for four months; 45 milligrams of zinc sulfate three times daily after meals; 100 milligrams of zinc ion for three months; 100 milligrams of zinc sulfate daily for 4-6 months; 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate daily for six weeks or 50 milligrams of zinc acetate in hemodialysis patients. The following intravenous doses of zinc have also been used: 20-100 milliliters of a 4.25% zinc-L-hydrogen aspartate solution added to 10 liters of a commercially available dialysis concentrate to achieve a plasma concentration of 19.5-20.5 micromoles per liter; and 400 micrograms of zinc chloride per liter of dialysate for four weeks.
  • For tinea versicolor, 1% lathered zinc pyrithione shampoo has been applied using a long-handled brush to the trunk, arms, and thighs for five minutes prior to taking a shower once daily in the evening for 14 days.
  • For tinnitus, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 22 milligrams of zinc (administered as zinc sulfate in sustained-release tablets) three times daily for eight weeks; 50 milligrams of zinc daily for two months; and 34-68 milligrams of zinc daily for two weeks.
  • For trichomoniasis, 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate has been taken by mouth twice daily for three weeks in patients unresponsive to metronidazole.
  • For ulcers (foot ulcers), zinc hyaluronate gel has been applied once daily to the ulcer surface after cleaning it with physiologic saline solution (dose unspecified).
  • For viral warts, 10 milligrams of zinc sulfate per kilogram has been taken by mouth daily (up to 600 milligrams daily) for 2-6 months.
  • For Wilson’s disease, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 25-50 milligrams of zinc three times daily; and 100-400 milligrams of zinc sulfate three times daily.

Children (under 18 years old)

The current recommended dietary allowance for zinc taken by mouth is: 2 milligrams for 0 to six month-olds; 3 milligrams for seven month-olds to three year-olds; 5 milligrams for 4-8 year-olds; 8 milligrams for 9-13 year-olds; 11 milligrams for males 14-18 years old; 9 milligrams for 14-18 year-old females; 12 milligrams for 14-18 year-old pregnant females; 13 milligrams for 14-18 year-old lactating females.

  • For acrodermatitis enteropathica, 525 micromoles of zinc has been used by mouth daily in a 16 year-old male.
  • For attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 150 milligrams of zinc sulfate sprinkled into a breakfast drink daily for 12 weeks; 55 milligrams of zinc sulfate (containing approximately 15 milligrams of elemental zinc) in addition to one milligram of methylphenidate per kilogram, daily for six weeks; and 30 milligrams of zinc oxide with or without 30 milligrams of iron for six months.
  • For beta-thalassemia, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth, based on age: 22.5-45 milligrams of elemental zinc (for ages 1-4 years); 67.5 milligrams of elemental zinc (for ages 4-10); and 90 milligrams of elemental zinc (for ages 10 and up).
  • For cognitive function, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 30 milligrams of zinc oxide with or without 30 milligrams of ferrous fumarate for six months; and 30 milligrams of zinc oxide with or without 30 milligrams of iron for six months.
  • For the common cold, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 10 milligrams of zinc lozenges 5-6 times daily, based on age; one-half of a zinc lozenge (23 milligrams) (Truett Laboratories, TX), for children under 27 kilograms, every two hours, not to exceed six daily; and zinc gluconate glycine lozenges (Cold-EEZE®) four times daily for the duration of the cold.
  • For cystic fibrosis, tablets containing zinc sulfate (equivalent to 45 milligrams of elemental zinc) have been taken by mouth twice daily for six months, in patients 12 and older (children under 12 received half of the dose).
  • For diaper rash, 10 milligrams of zinc gluconate has been taken by mouth for four months as an adjunct to antifungal cream.
  • For diarrhea, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 10-20 milligrams of zinc 1-2 times daily for up to six months; 50-70 milligrams weekly for 12 months; for children aged 3-6 months, 22.5 milligrams of elemental zinc; for children aged 7-60 months, 45 milligrams of elemental zinc daily until the resolution of diarrhea but not exceeding five days; 15 milligrams (for those aged #8804;12 months) or 30 milligrams (for those aged >12 months) of elemental zinc daily in three divided doses for 14-30 days; zinc gluconate (10 milligrams of elemental zinc to infants and 20 milligrams to older children); 14.2-40 milligrams of zinc daily in children aged 3-24 months; 20 milligrams of zinc acetate in addition to oral rehydration solution (ORS) for 14 days; 10 milligrams of zinc in four milliliters liquid daily for seven months; zinc syrup (15 milligrams of zinc for 6-11 month-old children and 30 milligrams for 12-35 month-old children); multivitamin juice with 15 milligrams of zinc acetate per kilogram of body weight; and 5-20 milligrams daily for the duration of the illness.
  • For Down syndrome, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: one milligram of zinc sulfate per kilogram of body weight for 2-4 months; 25 milligrams of zinc gluconate daily for children aged 1-9 years and 50 milligrams of zinc gluconate daily for children older than nine years of age, both for 12 months; 20 milligrams of zinc per kilogram daily for two months; and 135 milligrams of zinc daily for two months.
  • For eczema, 22.5 milligrams of zinc has been taken by mouth three times daily (in sustained-release capsules) for eight weeks.
  • For growth, 5-20 milligrams of elemental zinc has been taken by mouth daily for up to six months.
  • For HIV/AIDS, 1.8-2.2 milligrams of zinc per kilogram has been taken by mouth daily for 3-4 weeks.
  • For infant development, 10-20 milligrams of elemental zinc, based on age, has been taken by mouth daily for four months.
  • For infection, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 30-50 milligrams of zinc five times per week for 12 months for Schistosoma mansoni infection; 20 milligrams of zinc daily with or without 20 milligrams of iron five days per week for one year for episodes of infectious disease.
  • For kwashiorkor, 2-5 milligrams of zinc per kilogram has been taken by mouth for one week.
  • For lower respiratory tract infections, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 10 milligrams of zinc daily for six months; 10 milligrams of zinc sulfate in four milliliters of liquid daily for seven months; 10 milligrams for infants and 20 milligrams for older children for four months; and 10 milligrams of zinc twice daily for five days.
  • For malaria, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 12.5 milligrams of zinc sulfate six days per week for six months; 10 milligrams of zinc six days per week for up to 46 weeks; and 20 milligrams zinc daily for infants and 40 milligrams zinc daily for older children, each for four days.
  • For mortality reduction, 5-10 milligrams of zinc has been taken by mouth, based on age, for a mean of 484.7 days.
  • For parasites, 10 milligrams of zinc as amino acid chelate has been taken by mouth.
  • For plaque or gingivitis, 0.5% zinc citrate dentifrice has been used in the mouth for three years (frequency unspecified).
  • For pneumonia, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: two teaspoons (35 milligrams of zinc acetate per five milliliters) once weekly for 12 months; 10-20 milligrams of zinc, based on age, daily for 14 days as an adjuvant to antibiotics; and 10 milligram tablets of zinc sulfate twice daily during hospitalization, along with standard therapy for severe pneumonia.
  • For shigellosis (adjunct therapy), 20 milligrams of zinc has been taken by mouth daily for two weeks.
  • For sickle cell anemia management, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 10 milligrams of zinc daily in five milliliters of cherry soup; 660 milligrams of zinc sulfate daily; and 220 milligrams of zinc sulfate three times daily.
  • For taste disturbances, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 1 milligram of zinc chelate per kilogram daily for three months; and 0.5-0.75 milligrams of zinc sulfate per kilogram daily for six months in patients with renal failure.
  • For taste perception (hemodialysis, cancer), zinc sulfate capsules, containing 15 milligrams of zinc for children <10 years of age or 50 milligrams for adolescents, have been taken by mouth for six weeks (frequency unspecified).
  • For Wilson’s disease, the following doses of zinc have been taken by mouth: 25 milligrams of zinc twice daily for children 1-5 years of age; for patients 6-15 years of age, if under 125 pounds of body weight, 25 milligrams of zinc three times daily; 50 milligrams of zinc three times daily for children 16 years and older or over 125 pounds; 35 milligrams of elemental zinc twice daily for children under the age of six; 25 milligrams three times daily for children 7-16 or under 125 pounds of body weight; 50 milligrams three times daily for children older than 16 years of age or over 125 pounds; and D-penicillamine, followed by treatment with 150 milligrams of zinc sulfate, three times daily for the first doses, then 100 milligrams three times daily.

Safety

NB! There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

Zinc oxide allergy has been reported. Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to zinc compounds.

Side Effects and Warnings

Zinc is regarded as relatively safe and generally well tolerated when taken at recommended doses, and few studies report side effects. Occasionally, adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea have been observed. Reduced levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol have been observed following daily supplementation with zinc. Reduced immune responses have also been observed. A slight tingling or burning sensation in the nostril has been reported from zinc nasal gel. A trend toward increased respiratory infections in children has been noted. One case of hypersensitivity pneumonitis has been reported.

Unpleasant taste, taste distortion, and abdominal cramping have been occasionally reported, especially in studies examining the efficacy of zinc-containing lozenges in treating symptoms of common cold or treatment of diarrhea in children.

Reports of skin conditions have been noted. In one study, worsening of an acne condition was observed following topical application of zinc, although many studies have shown positive effects of zinc on acne. A case report suggested the presence of dermatitis due to zinc deficiency.

Use amounts regularly exceeding the recommended upper tolerance levels (greater than 40 milligrams daily) under a physician’s guidance only. Sideroblastic anemia, leukopenia, microcytic anemia, neutropenia, bleeding gastric erosion, hepatitis (liver inflammation), liver failure, intestinal bleeding, acute tubular necrosis, and interstitial nephritis have been reported following the ingestion of large amounts of zinc. High-quality studies have found evidence of an association between high-dose zinc supplement use and hospitalization for urinary complications, including benign prostatic hyperplasia or urinary retention, urinary tract infection, and urinary lithiasis. This was especially evident among males.

There is one report of death following the ingestion of 400 coins (mostly pennies). Pennies are composed mostly of zinc. There is also one case report of a fatal outcome from cystic degeneration in the putamen and necrosis in the hypothalamus. It was reported as a consequence of zinc treatment for Wilson’s disease. However, the patient had received penicillamine, followed by a relatively high daily dose of zinc for several weeks, followed by penicillamine again for an unspecified time, so it remains unclear if zinc was responsible for the death.

  • Zinc may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Zinc may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Use cautiously in patients with high cholesterol or blood fats, a high risk of developing heart disease, various skin disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, liver disease, genitourinary conditions, blood disorders, neurological disorders, pulmonary or respiratory disorders, immune disorders, or kidney disease, or in patients taking antidepressants, potassium-sparing diuretics, antibiotics (particularly tetracyclines and quinolones), iron, penicillamine, thyroid hormones, or copper.
  • Avoid in patients who are homozygous for hemochromatosis (a metabolic disorder involving the deposition of iron-containing pigments in the tissues and characterized by bronzing of the skin, diabetes, and weakness).
  • Avoid use of intranasal Zicam®. Numerous reports exist of loss of smell associated with zinc-containing Zicam® products. These zinc-containing formulas have since been withdrawn from the U.S. market.
  • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to zinc compounds.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Zinc is likely safe when consumed in amounts generally found in foods (or as part of a multivitamin or multimineral compound) in nonallergic women. There is insufficient reliable information available about the safety or efficacy of medicinal use of zinc during pregnancy or lactation. The relationship between zinc levels or intake and low birthweight or delivery complications has been studied, but the results are conflicting.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc during pregnancy and lactation is as follows: for pregnant women 19 years old and older, 11 milligrams daily; for pregnant women 14-18 years of age, 13 milligrams daily; for breastfeeding women 19 years old and older, 12 milligrams daily; and for breastfeeding women 14-18 years of age, 14 milligrams daily.

source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

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  1. Pingback: Zinc Oxide – 4.4oz / 125g · My-infoWorld.NET

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