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Search Health Information    Zinc

Zinc

Uses

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
3 Stars
Acne Vulgaris
60 to 90 mg daily
Several double-blind trials indicate that taking zinc reduces acne severity. Long-term use requires 1 to 2 mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency.

Several double-blind trials indicate that zinc supplements reduce the severity of acne.1 , 2 , 3 , 4 In one double-blind trial,5 though not in another,6 zinc was found to be as effective as oral antibiotic therapy. Doctors sometimes suggest that people with acne take 30 mg of zinc two or three times per day for a few months, then 30 mg per day thereafter. It often takes 12 weeks before any improvement is seen. Long-term zinc supplementation requires 1–2 mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency.

3 Stars
Acrodermatitis
30 to 150 mg per day under a doctor's supervision
Supplementing with the correct amount of zinc can completely resolve hereditary acrodermatitis enteropathica

Supplementation with zinc brings about complete remission in hereditary acrodermatitis enteropathica. Zinc supplements in the amount of 30 to 150 mg per day are used by people with this condition.7 People with acrodermatitis enteropathica need to be monitored by a healthcare professional to ensure that their level of zinc supplementation is adequate and that the zinc supplements are not inducing a copper deficiency.

3 Stars
Common Cold and Sore Throat (Zinc Lozenges)
Use 13 to 25 mg as gluconate, gluconate-glycine, or acetate in lozenges every two hours
Zinc lozenges used at the first sign of a cold have been shown to help stop the virus and shorten the illness.

Zinc interferes with viral replication in test tubes, may interfere with the ability of viruses to enter cells of the body, may help immune cells to fight a cold, and may relieve cold symptoms when taken as a supplement.8 In double-blind trials, zinc lozenges have reduced the duration of colds in adults but have been ineffective in children.9 , 10 , 11 , 12 Lozenges containing zinc gluconate, zinc gluconate-glycine, and, in most trials, zinc acetate13 , 14 have been effective; most other forms of zinc and lozenges flavored with citric acid,15 tartaric acid, sorbitol, or mannitol have been ineffective.16 Trials using these other forms of zinc have failed, as have trials that use insufficient amounts of zinc.17 For the alleviation of cold symptoms, lozenges providing 13 to 25 mg of zinc (as zinc gluconate, zinc gluconate-glycine, or zinc acetate) are used every two hours while awake but only for several days. The best effect is obtained when lozenges are used at the first sign of a cold.

An analysis of the major zinc trials has claimed that evidence for efficacy is “still lacking.”18 However, despite a lack of statistical significance, this compilation of data from six double-blind trials found that people assigned to zinc had a 50% decreased risk of still having symptoms after one week compared with those given placebo. Some trials included in this analysis used formulations containing substances that may inactivate zinc salts. Other reasons for failure to show statistical significance, according to a recent analysis of these studies,19 may have been small sample size (not enough people) or not enough zinc given. Thus, there are plausible reasons why the authors were unable to show statistical significance, even though positive effects are well supported in most trials using gluconate, gluconate-glycine, or acetate forms of zinc.

3 Stars
Down’s Syndrome
1 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of body weight daily
Zinc may improve immune function, reduce infection rates, and stimulate growth. Take under a doctor’s supervision.

Blood levels of the antioxidant minerals selenium and zinc were normal in one study of people with Down’s syndrome,20 but others have found selenium21 , 22 and zinc23 , 24 , 25 levels to be low. In some studies more than 60% of patients with Down’s syndrome had low zinc levels.26 , 27 A preliminary study of selenium supplementation in children with Down’s syndrome found that the antioxidant activity in the body improved; however, the implications of this finding on the long-term health of these people is unclear.28 Zinc is critical for proper immune function, and in one preliminary study the majority of patients with Down’s syndrome examined had low zinc levels and low immune cell activity. Supplementation with zinc resulted in improved immune cell activity.29 In preliminary intervention trials, improved immune cell activity was associated with reduced rates of infection in Down’s syndrome patients given supplemental zinc in the amount of 1 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day.30 , 31 A controlled trial, however, did not find zinc, at 25 mg daily for children under 10 years of age and 50 mg for older children, to have these benefits.32 Zinc has other roles in the body; preliminary data have indicated that zinc supplementation, at 1 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day, improved thyroid function in Down’s syndrome patients,33 , 34 , 35 and increased growth rate in children with Down’s syndrome.36

3 Stars
Male Infertility
60 mg (plus 2 mg of copper, to prevent depletion) daily
Zinc deficiency leads to reduced numbers of sperm and impotence in men. Taking zinc may correct this problem and improve sperm quality.

Zinc deficiency leads to reduced numbers of sperm and impotence in men.37 The correlation between blood levels of zinc and sperm quality remains controversial. Infertile men have been reported to have lower levels of zinc in their semen, than do men with normal fertility.38 Similarly, men with normal sperm density tend to have higher amounts of zinc in their semen, than do men with low sperm counts.39 However, other studies have found that a high concentration of zinc in the semen is related to decreased sperm motility in infertile men.40 , 41 A few studies have shown that oral zinc supplementation improves both sperm count42 , 43 motility,44 , 45 and the physical characteristics of sperm in some groups of infertile men.46 For infertile men with low semen zinc levels, a preliminary trial found that zinc supplements (240 mg per day) increased sperm counts and possibly contributed to successful impregnation by 3 of the 11 men.47 However, these studies all included small numbers of volunteers, and thus the impact of their conclusions is limited. In a controlled trial, 100 men with low sperm motility received either 57 mg of zinc twice daily or a placebo.48 After three months, there was significant improvement in sperm quality, sperm count, sperm motility, and fertilizing capacity of the sperm. The ideal amount of supplemental zinc remains unknown, but some doctors recommend 30 mg two times per day. Long-term zinc supplementation requires 1–2 mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency.

3 Stars
Night Blindness
If deficient: 15 to 30 mg daily (with 1 to 2 mg copper daily, to prevent depletion)
A lack of zinc may reduce the activity of retinol dehydrogenase, an enzyme needed to help vitamin A work in the eye. Zinc helps night blindness in people who are zinc-deficient.

Dietary zinc deficiency is common, and a lack of zinc may reduce the activity of retinol dehydrogenase, an enzyme needed to help vitamin A work in the eye. Zinc helps night blindness in people who are zinc-deficient;49 therefore, many physicians suggest 15 to 30 mg of zinc per day to support healthy vision. Because long-term zinc supplementation may reduce copper levels, 1 to 2 mg of copper per day (depending on the amount of zinc used) is usually recommended for people who are supplementing with zinc for more than a few weeks.

3 Stars
Wilson’s Disease
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
Supplementing with zinc may help reduce dietary copper absorption.

Zinc is known for its ability to reduce copper absorption and has been used successfully in patients with Wilson’s disease,50 with some trials lasting for years years.51 , 52 Researchers have called zinc a “remarkably effective and nontoxic therapy for Wilson’s disease.”53 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of zinc to treat Wilson’s disease for maintenance therapy following drug therapy, although some scientists recommend that it be considered for initial therapy as well.54

Zinc has also been used to keep normal copper levels from rising in people with Wilson’s disease who had previously been treated successfully with prescription drugs.55 Zinc (50 mg taken three times per day) has been used for such maintenance therapy,56 though some researchers have used the same amount of zinc to successfully treat people with Wilson’s disease who had not received drug therapy.57

Zinc is so effective in lessening the body’s burden of copper that a copper deficiency was reported in someone with Wilson’s disease who took too much (480 mg per day) zinc.58 Nonetheless, zinc may not help everyone with Wilson’s disease. Sometimes increased copper levels can occur in the liver after zinc supplementation;59 however, leading researchers believe this increase is temporary and may not be not harmful.60

Zinc supplementation (25 mg or 50 mg three times daily) has also been used to successfully treat pregnant women with Wilson’s disease.61 Management of Wilson’s disease with zinc should only be undertaken with the close supervision of a doctor.

3 Stars
Wound Healing
30 mg daily (with 2 mg copper daily to prevent depletion), or apply topical zinc preparations regularly
Zinc is a component of enzymes needed to repair wounds, and even a mild deficiency can interfere with optimal recovery from everyday tissue damage.

Zinc is a component of many enzymes, including some that are needed to repair wounds. Even a mild deficiency of zinc can interfere with optimal recovery from everyday tissue damage, as well as from more serious trauma.62 , 63 One controlled trial found the healing time of a surgical wound was reduced by 43% with oral supplementation of 50 mg of zinc three times per day, in the form of zinc sulfate.64

Whether oral zinc helps tissue healing when no actual zinc deficiency exists is unclear,65 but doctors often recommend 30 mg of zinc per day for four to six weeks to aid in the healing of wounds. Topical zinc-containing treatments, on the other hand, have improved healing of skin wounds even when there is no deficiency.66 , 67 Long-term oral zinc supplementation must be accompanied by copper supplementation to prevent a zinc-induced copper deficiency. Typically, if 30 mg of zinc are taken each day, it should be accompanied by 2 mg of copper. If 60 mg of zinc are used, it should be accompanied by 3 mg of copper each day.

2 Stars
Acne Rosacea
23 mg three times per day for three months
In a double-blind study, zinc supplements decreased the rosacea severity by about 75%. Long-term zinc users should also take a copper supplement to prevent deficiency.

In a double-blind study, supplementing with zinc (23 mg three times per day for three months) decreased the severity of rosacea by about 75%, whereas no improvement occurred in the placebo group. Mild gastrointestinal upset was reported by 12% of the people taking zinc, but no other significant side effects occurred.68 Long-term zinc supplementation should be accompanied by a copper supplement, in order to prevent zinc-induced copper deficiency.

2 Stars
Alcohol Withdrawal
Take under medical supervision: 135 to 215 mg daily
Supplementing with zinc may correct the deficiency common in alcoholic liver cirrhosis and may correct the impaired taste function that people with cirrhosis often experience.

Alcoholic liver cirrhosis is associated with zinc deficiency.69 , 70 In a double-blind trial, zinc acetate supplementation (200 mg three times daily, providing a total of 215 mg of elemental zinc per day), given to cirrhosis patients for seven days, significantly improved portal-systemic encephalopathy (PSE).71 A second trial achieved similar results after three months of treatment 72 and a third trial found a beneficial effect from 6 months of treatment with 51 mg per day of zinc in the form of zinc L-carnosine complex.73 People with cirrhosis sometimes have impaired taste function, and it has been suggested that zinc deficiency may be the cause of this abnormality. Although one study demonstrated that taste problems in cirrhosis are due to the disease process itself and not to zinc deficiency,74 a double-blind trial showed that 200 mg three times per day of zinc sulfate (providing 135 mg of elemental zinc per day) for six weeks significantly improved taste function in people with alcoholic liver cirrhosis.75 A doctor should supervise long-term supplementation of zinc in these amounts.

2 Stars
Anorexia
50 mg a day (with 1 to 3 mg copper daily, to protect against depletion)
People with anorexia may be deficient in zinc, in which case supplementing with the mineral can restore levels and improve symptoms.

Zinc deficiency has been detected in people with anorexia or bulimia in most,76 , 77 though not all,78 studies. In addition, some of the manifestations of zinc deficiency, such as reduced appetite, taste, and smell, are similar to symptoms observed in some cases of anorexia or bulimia.79

In an uncontrolled trial, supplementation with 45–90 mg per day of zinc resulted in weight gain in 17 out of 20 anorexics after 8–56 months.80 In a double-blind study, 35 women hospitalized with anorexia, given 14 mg of zinc per day, achieved a 10% increase in weight twice as fast as the group that received a placebo.81 In another report, a group of adolescent girls with anorexia, some of whom were hospitalized, was found to be consuming 7.7 mg of zinc per day in their diet—only half the recommended amount.82 Providing these girls with 50 mg of zinc per day in a double-blind trial helped diminish their depression and anxiety levels, but had no significant effect on weight gain. Anyone taking zinc supplements for more than a few weeks should also supplement with 1 to 3 mg per day of copper to prevent a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

2 Stars
Attention Deficit–Hyperactivity Disorder
If deficient: 15 mg per day
In one study, children with ADHD who received zinc showed significantly greater behavioral improvement, compared with children who received a placebo.

In a double-blind study, children with ADHD who received 15 mg of zinc per day for six weeks showed significantly greater behavioral improvement, compared with children who received a placebo.83 This study was conducted in Iran, and zinc deficiency has been found to be quite common in certain parts of that country. It is not clear, therefore, to what extent the results of this study apply to children living in other countries.

2 Stars
Birth Defects
15 mg daily
Many doctors recommend a zinc-containing multivitamin to all women of childbearing age who may become pregnant for its potential role in preventing neural tube defects.
In a preliminary study, women with the highest total dietary zinc intake before pregnancy (including zinc from both food and supplements) had a 35% decreased risk of having an NTD-affected pregnancy.84 However, another preliminary study found no association between blood levels of zinc in pregnant women and the incidence of NTDs.85 Zinc supplementation (15 mg per day) is considered safe for pregnant women. Given its safety and potential role in preventing NTDs, a zinc-containing multivitamin is recommended by many doctors to all women of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
2 Stars
Bulimia
Refer to label instructions
People with bulimia may be deficient in zinc, in which case supplementing with the mineral can restore levels and improve symptoms.
Zinc deficiency has been detected in people with anorexia or bulimia in most,86 , 87 though not all,88 studies. In addition, some of the manifestations of zinc deficiency, such as reduced appetite, taste, and smell, are similar to symptoms observed in some cases of anorexia or bulimia.89
2 Stars
Canker Sores
150 mg daily plus 1 to 2 mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency
Zinc deficiency has been linked with recurrent canker sores, so treating the deficiency may lead to relief. Long-term zinc supplementation requires extra copper to avoid deficiency.

Zinc deficiency has also been linked with recurrent canker sores in preliminary studies91 and in one case report.92 A preliminary trial found that supplementation with up to 150 mg of zinc per day reduced recurrences of canker sores by 50 to 100%; participants who were zinc deficient experienced the most consistent benefit.93 However, a double-blind trial (that did not test people for zinc deficiency) did not find zinc supplements helpful for recurrent canker sores.94

2 Stars
Celiac Disease
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
The malabsorption that occurs in celiac disease can lead to multiple nutritional deficiencies. Supplementing with zinc may correct a deficiency.

The malabsorption that occurs in celiac disease can lead to multiple nutritional deficiencies. The most common nutritional problems in people with celiac disease include deficiencies of essential fatty acids, iron , vitamin D , vitamin K , calcium , magnesium , and folic acid .95 Zinc malabsorption also occurs frequently in celiac disease96 and may result in zinc deficiency, even in people who are otherwise in remission.97 People with newly diagnosed celiac disease should be assessed for nutritional deficiencies by a doctor. Celiac patients who have not yet completely recovered should supplement with a high-potency multivitamin-mineral . Some patients may require even higher amounts of some of these vitamins and minerals—an issue that should be discussed with their healthcare practitioner. Evidence of a nutrient deficiency in a celiac patient is a clear indication for supplementation with that nutrient.

After commencement of a gluten-free diet, overall nutritional status gradually improves. However, deficiencies of some nutrients may persist, even in people who are strictly avoiding gluten. For example, magnesium deficiency was found in 8 of 23 adults with celiac disease who had been following a gluten-free diet and were symptom-free. When these adults were supplemented with magnesium for two years, their bone mineral density increased significantly.98

2 Stars
Cold Sores
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
Topically applied zinc appears to inhibit the replication of the herpes virus and help prevent future outbreaks. Use topical zinc only under a doctor’s supervision.

Zinc preparations have been shown to inhibit the replication of herpes simplex in the test tube.99 In one study, people with recurrent herpes simplex infections applied a zinc sulfate solution daily to the sores. After healing occurred, the frequency of applications was reduced to once a week for a month, then to twice a month. During an observation period of 16 to 23 months, none of these people experienced a recurrence of their cold sores.100

Zinc oxide, the only commercially available form of zinc for topical application, is probably ineffective as a treatment for herpes simplex.101 Other forms of topical zinc can be obtained by prescription, through a compounding pharmacist. However, because an excessive concentration of zinc may cause skin irritation, topical zinc should be used only with the supervision of a doctor knowledgeable in its use.

2 Stars
Common Cold and Sore Throat (Zinc Oral)
For prevention: 15 mg daily; for treating colds: 30 mg daily at the onset
In one study, oral zinc supplementation significantly reduced both the incidence and duration of the common cold.
Zinc interferes with viral replication in test tubes, may interfere with the ability of viruses to enter cells of the body, may help immune cells to fight a cold, and may relieve cold symptoms when taken as a supplement.102 In double-blind trials, zinc lozenges have reduced the duration of colds in adults but have been ineffective in children.103 , 104 , 105 , 106 Lozenges containing zinc gluconate, zinc gluconate-glycine, and, in most trials, zinc acetate107 , 108 have been effective; most other forms of zinc and lozenges flavored with citric acid,109 tartaric acid, sorbitol, or mannitol have been ineffective.110 Trials using these other forms of zinc have failed, as have trials that use insufficient amounts of zinc.111 For the alleviation of cold symptoms, lozenges providing 13 to 25 mg of zinc (as zinc gluconate, zinc gluconate-glycine, or zinc acetate) are used every two hours while awake but only for several days. The best effect is obtained when lozenges are used at the first sign of a cold.

An analysis of the major zinc trials has claimed that evidence for efficacy is “still lacking.”112 However, despite a lack of statistical significance, this compilation of data from six double-blind trials found that people assigned to zinc had a 50% decreased risk of still having symptoms after one week compared with those given placebo. Some trials included in this analysis used formulations containing substances that may inactivate zinc salts. Other reasons for failure to show statistical significance, according to a recent analysis of these studies,113 may have been small sample size (not enough people) or not enough zinc given. Thus, there are plausible reasons why the authors were unable to show statistical significance, even though positive effects are well supported in most trials using gluconate, gluconate-glycine, or acetate forms of zinc.

In a double-blind study of children in Turkey, oral zinc supplementation significantly reduced both the incidence (by 29%) and the duration (by 11%) of the common cold. The amount of zinc used in this seven-month study was 15 mg per day for children with an average age of 5.6 years. The amount of supplemental zinc was doubled at the onset of a cold, and this higher amount was continued until symptoms resolved.114

2 Stars
Crohn’s Disease
25 to 50 mg of zinc (with 2 to 4 mg of copper to avoid depletion) per day
Zinc is needed to repair intestinal cells damaged by Crohn’s disease. Supplementation may offset some of the deficiency caused by Crohn’s-related malabsorption.

Crohn’s disease often leads to malabsorption . As a result, deficiencies of many nutrients are common. For this reason, it makes sense for people with Crohn’s disease to take a high potency multivitamin-mineral supplement. In particular, deficiencies in zinc , folic acid , vitamin B12 , vitamin D , and iron have been reported.115 , 116 , 117 Zinc, folic acid, and vitamin B12 are all needed to repair intestinal cells damaged by Crohn’s disease. Some doctors recommend 25 to 50 mg of zinc (balanced with 2 to 4 mg of copper), 800 mcg of folic acid, and 800 mcg of vitamin B12 daily. Iron status should be evaluated by a doctor before considering supplementation.

2 Stars
Genital Herpes
Apply a topical preparation containing 0.025 to 0.9% zinc several times per day
Applying zinc topically may help prevent outbreaks and has been shown to stop the pain, burning, and tingling of a herpes outbreak.

In a test tube, zinc is capable of inactivating the type of herpes virus responsible for the majority of genital herpes cases.118 Topical zinc may therefore help prevent outbreaks of genital herpes. One preliminary study treated people (four of whom had genital herpes) with a 4% zinc sulfate solution applied to the site of the initial outbreak.119 In all cases, the pain, burning, and tingling stopped within 24 hours of beginning the topical zinc therapy. The use of lower concentrations of zinc (0.025–0.05%) has also been shown effective against oral and genital herpes outbreaks.120 , 121 While topical zinc has been shown to be helpful, there is no convincing evidence that oral zinc offers the same benefits.122

2 Stars
Halitosis (Zinc Chloride)
Regularly use a mouthrinse or toothpaste containing zinc
Zinc is able to reduce the concentration of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth, thus lessening halitosis.

Preliminary research has also demonstrated the ability of zinc to reduce the concentration of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth. One study found that the addition of zinc to a baking soda toothpaste lessened halitosis by lowering the levels of these compounds.123 A mouthrinse containing zinc chloride was seen in another study to neutralize the damaging effect of methyl mercaptan on periodontal tissue in the mouth.124 , 125

2 Stars
Hepatitis and Hepatitis C
Take zinc L-carnosine supplying 17 mg zinc twice per day
In a preliminary trial, supplementing with betaine improved signs of liver inflammation in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a type of liver inflammation.

Supplementation with 17 mg of zinc twice a day (in the form of a zinc complex of L-carnosine) enhanced the response to interferon therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C, in a preliminary trial.126 It is not known whether this benefit was due primarily to the zinc or the carnosine , or whether other forms of zinc would have the same effect.

2 Stars
HIV and AIDS Support
12 to 45 mg daily
Zinc levels are frequently low in people with HIV infection. Zinc supplements have been shown to reduce the number of infections in people with AIDS.

Blood levels of both zinc127 and selenium 128 are frequently low in people with HIV infection. Zinc supplements (45 mg per day) have been shown to reduce the number of infections in people with AIDS.129 Zinc supplementation (12 mg per day for women, 15 mg per day for men) also slowed the decline in immune function in HIV-infected adults with low blood levels of zinc.130

2 Stars
Infection
Refer to label instructions
Zinc deficiencies can impair immune function. Supplementing with zinc has been shown to increase immune function in healthy people. Zinc lozenges have been found helpful in against the common cold.

Marginal deficiencies of zinc result in immune function impairments.131 In a double-blind study of healthy elderly people, supplementing with 45 mg of zinc per day for one year significantly reduced the frequency of infections.132 Some doctors recommend lower amounts of supplemental zinc for people experiencing recurrent infections, such as 25 mg per day for adults and even lower amounts for children (depending on body weight). Zinc lozenges have been found helpful in some studies for the common cold . Long-term zinc supplementation should in most cases be accompanied by a copper supplement in order to prevent zinc-induced copper deficiency.

2 Stars
Infectious Diarrhea
Refer to label instructions
Two of the nutrients that may not be absorbed efficiently as a result of diarrhea are zinc and vitamin A, both needed to fight infections.
Two of the nutrients that may not be absorbed efficiently as a result of diarrhea are zinc and vitamin A, both needed to fight infections. In third-world countries, supplementation with zinc and vitamin A has led to a reduction in, or prevention of, infectious diarrhea in children.133 There is evidence that even children who are not zinc-deficient could benefit from zinc supplementation during an episode of infectious diarrhea, if the diarrhea is being caused by certain specific organisms, such as the organism that causes cholera or some strains of E. coli. 134
2 Stars
Liver Cirrhosis
Take under medical supervision: 135 to 215 mg daily
Supplementing with zinc may correct the deficiency common in alcoholic liver cirrhosis and may correct the impaired taste function that people with cirrhosis often experience.

Alcoholic liver cirrhosis is associated with zinc deficiency.135 , 136 In a double-blind trial, zinc acetate supplementation (200 mg three times daily, providing a total of 215 mg of elemental zinc per day), given to cirrhosis patients for seven days, significantly improved portal-systemic encephalopathy (PSE).137 A second trial achieved similar results after three months of treatment 138 and a third trial found a beneficial effect from 6 months of treatment with 51 mg per day of zinc in the form of zinc L-carnosine complex.139 People with cirrhosis sometimes have impaired taste function, and it has been suggested that zinc deficiency may be the cause of this abnormality. Although one study demonstrated that taste problems in cirrhosis are due to the disease process itself and not to zinc deficiency,140 a double-blind trial showed that 200 mg three times per day of zinc sulfate (providing 135 mg of elemental zinc per day) for six weeks significantly improved taste function in people with alcoholic liver cirrhosis.141 A doctor should supervise long-term supplementation of zinc in these amounts.

2 Stars
Macular Degeneration
45 mg daily (with 1 to 2 mg of copper to protect against depletion)
Two important enzymes in the retina that are needed for vision require zinc. In one trial, zinc supplementation significantly reduced the rate of visual loss in people with macular degeneration.

Two important enzymes in the retina that are needed for vision require zinc . In a double-blind trial, supplementation with 45 mg of zinc per day for one to two years significantly reduced the rate of visual loss in people with macular degeneration.142 However, in another double-blind trial, supplementation with the same amount of zinc did not prevent vision loss among people with a particular type of macular degeneration (the exudative form).143

2 Stars
Peptic Ulcer (L-Carnosine)
150 mg of zinc carnosine complex twice per day
Studies have shown that a zinc salt of the amino acid carnosine protects against ulcer formation and promotes the healing of existing ulcers.

Experimental animal studies have shown that a zinc salt of the amino acid carnosine exerts significant protection against ulcer formation and promotes the healing of existing ulcers.144 , 145 However, because zinc by itself has been shown to be helpful against peptic ulcer, it is not known how much of the beneficial effect was due to the carnosine.146 , 147 Clinical studies in humans demonstrated that this compound can help eradicate H. pylori, an organism that has been linked to peptic ulcer and stomach cancer.148 The amount of the zinc carnosine complex used in research studies for eradication of H. pylori is 150 mg twice daily.

2 Stars
Peptic Ulcer
25 to 50 mg daily
Supplementing with zinc may help speed the repair of damaged stomach tissue.

Zinc is also needed for the repair of damaged tissue and has protected against stomach ulceration in animal studies.149 In Europe, zinc combined with acexamic acid, an anti-inflammatory substance, is used as a drug in the treatment of peptic ulcers.150 In a small controlled trial, high amounts of zinc accelerated the healing of gastric ulcers compared with placebo.151 Some doctors suspect that such an exceptionally high intake of zinc may be unnecessary, suggesting instead that people with ulcers wishing to take zinc supplements use only 25 to 50 mg of zinc per day. Even at these lower levels, 1 to 3 mg of copper per day must be taken to avoid copper deficiency that would otherwise be induced by the zinc supplementation.

2 Stars
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
Use a prenatal supplement that includes zinc
In one study, women who used a zinc-containing nutritional supplement before and after conception had a 36% decreased chance of having a baby with a neural tube defect.

In a preliminary study, pregnant women who used a zinc -containing nutritional supplement in the three months before and after conception had a 36% decreased chance of having a baby with a neural tube defect, and women who had the highest dietary zinc intake (but took no vitamin supplement) had a 30% decreased risk.152

2 Stars
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
Deficient zinc levels have been reported in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Some trials have found that supplementing with zinc reduces rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Deficient zinc levels have been reported in people with RA.153 Some trials have found that zinc reduced RA symptoms,154 but others have not.155 , 156 Some suggest that zinc might only help those who are zinc-deficient,157 and, although there is no universally accepted test for zinc deficiency, some doctors check white-blood-cell zinc levels.

2 Stars
Sickle Cell Anemia
Take under medical supervision: 100 mg of zinc (plus 2 mg of copper daily to protect against depletion)
Supplementing with zinc appears to help prevent cell damage and speed healing of leg ulcers associated with sickle cell anemia.

Antioxidant nutrients protect the body’s cells from oxygen-related damage. Many studies show that sickle cell anemia patients tend to have low blood levels of antioxidants, including carotenoids , vitamin A , vitamin E , and vitamin C , despite adequate intake.158 , 159 , 160 , 161 , 162 , 163 Low blood levels of vitamin E in particular have been associated with higher numbers of diseased cells in children164 and with greater frequency of symptoms in adults.165 A small, preliminary trial reported a 44% decrease in the average number of diseased cells in six sickle cell anemia patients given 450 IU vitamin E per day for up to 35 weeks. This effect was maintained as long as supplementation continued.166

In another preliminary trial, 13 patients with sickle cell anemia were given two supplement combinations for seven to eight months each. The first combination included 109 mg zinc , 153 IU vitamin E , 600 mg vitamin C , and 400 ml (about 14 ounces) of soybean oil containing 11 grams of linoleic acid and 1.5 grams of alpha linolenic acid. The second combination included 140 IU vitamin E, 600 mg vitamin C, and 20 grams of fish oil containing 6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Reduction in diseased cells was observed only during the administration of the first protocol. The authors concluded that zinc was the important difference between the two combinations and may be a protector of red blood cell membranes.167

Fish oil alone has also been studied. In a double-blind trial, supplementation with menhaden oil, in the amount of 250 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day for one year, reduced the frequency of severe pain episodes by approximately 45%, compared with placebo.168 This treatment may work by correcting an imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that occurs in people with sickle cell anemia.169

The zinc deficiency associated with sickle cell anemia appears to play a role in various aspects of the illness. For example, preliminary research has correlated low zinc levels with poor growth in children with sickle cell anemia.170 In a preliminary trial, 12 people with sickle cell anemia received 25 mg of zinc every four hours for 3 to 18 months.171 The number of damaged red blood cells fell from 28% to 18.6%. Addition of 2 mg of copper per day did not inhibit the effect of zinc. (Zinc supplementation in the absence of copper supplementation induces a copper deficiency.) Patients with the highest number of damaged red blood cells had a marked response to zinc, but those with lower levels of damaged cells (less than 20% irreversibly sickled cells) had little or no response.

Chronic leg ulcers occur in about 75% of adults with sickle cell disease. In a controlled trial, sickle cell patients with low blood levels of zinc received 88 mg of zinc three times per day for 12 weeks.172 Ulcer healing rate was more than three times faster in the zinc group than in the placebo group. Zinc supplementation (25 mg 3 times per day for 3 months) also decreased the number of infections in adults with sickle cell anemia.173

2 Stars
Skin Ulcers
Take under medical supervision: 50 mg of zinc (plus 1 to 3 mg of copper daily, to prevent depletion) and apply zinc-containing bandages or tape to the area
Supplementing with zinc may help some types of skin ulcer by facilitating tissue growth.

Zinc plays an important role in tissue growth processes important for skin ulcer healing. One study reported that patients with pressure ulcers had lower blood levels of zinc and iron than did patients without pressure ulcers,174 and preliminary reports suggested zinc supplements could help some types of skin ulcer.175 Supplementation with 150 mg of zinc per day improved healing in a preliminary study of elderly patients suffering from chronic leg ulcers.176 Double-blind trials using 135 to 150 mg of zinc daily have shown improvement177 only in patients with low blood zinc levels,178 and no improvement in leg ulcer healing.179 , 180 A double-blind trial of 150 mg zinc per day in people with skin ulcers due to sickle cell anemia found that the healing rate was almost three times faster in the zinc group than in the placebo group after six months.181 Lastly, a preliminary study of patients with skin ulcers due to leprosy found that 50 mg of zinc per day in addition to anti-leprosy medication resulted in complete healing in most patients within 6 to 12 weeks.182 Long-term zinc supplementation at these levels should be accompanied by supplements of copper and perhaps calcium, iron, and magnesium. Large amounts of zinc (over 50 mg per day) should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor.

Topically applied zinc using zinc-containing bandages has improved healing of leg ulcers in double-blind studies of both zinc-deficient183 and elderly individuals.184 Most controlled comparison studies have reported that these bandages are no more effective than other bandages used in the conventional treatment of skin ulcers,185 , 186 but one controlled trial found non-elastic zinc bandages superior to alginate dressings or zinc-containing elastic stockinettes.187 Two controlled trials of zinc-containing tape for foot ulcers due to leprosy concluded that zinc tape was similarly effective, but more convenient than conventional dressings.188 , 189

2 Stars
Sprains and Strains
Take under medical supervision: 25 to 50 mg daily ( plus 1 to 3 mg of copper daily, to prevent depletion)
Zinc helps with healing. Even a mild deficiency can interfere with optimal recovery from everyday tissue damage and more serious trauma.

Zinc is a component of many enzymes, including some that are needed to repair wounds. Even a mild deficiency of zinc can interfere with optimal recovery from everyday tissue damage as well as from more serious trauma.190 Trace minerals, such as manganese , copper , and silicon are also known to be important in the biochemistry of tissue healing.191 , 192 , 193 , 194 However, there have been no controlled studies of people with sprains or strains to explore the effect of deficiency of these minerals, or of oral supplementation, on the rate of healing.

2 Stars
Thalassemia
If deficient: 22.5 to 90 mg daily
Researchers have reported improved growth rates in zinc-deficient thalassemic children who were given zinc supplements.

Test tube studies have shown that propionyl-L-carnitine (a form of L-carnitine ) protects red blood cells of people with thalassemia against free radical damage.195 In a preliminary study, children with beta thalassemia major who took 100 mg of L-carnitine per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day for three months had a significantly decreased need for blood transfusions.196 Some studies have found people with thalassemia to be frequently deficient in folic acid , vitamin B12 ,197 and zinc .198 , 199 Researchers have reported improved growth rates in zinc-deficient thalassemic children who were given zinc supplements of 22.5 to 90 mg per day, depending on age.200 , 201 Magnesium has been reported to be low in thalassemia patients in some,202 , 203 but not all,204 studies. A small, preliminary study reported that oral supplements of magnesium, 7.2 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day, improved some red blood cell abnormalities in thalassemia patients.205

2 Stars
Tinnitus
Take under medical supervision: 90 mg daily (with 2 or 3 mg per day of copper to prevent depletion)
For people deficient in zinc, supplementing with zinc may help improve their tinnitus.

Zinc supplements have been used to treat people who had both tinnitus and hearing loss (usually age-related). Of those who had initially low blood levels of zinc, about 25% experienced an improvement in tinnitus after taking zinc (90–150 mg per day for three to six months).206 Such large amounts of zinc should be monitored by a doctor. Two controlled clinical trials207 , 208 found no benefit from zinc supplementation (66 mg per day in one double-blind trial) in people with tinnitus. However, participants in these studies were not zinc deficient. Preliminary research suggests that zinc supplementation is only helpful for tinnitus in people who are zinc deficient.209 A doctor can measure blood levels of zinc.

2 Stars
Type 1 Diabetes
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
Supplementing with zinc may lower blood sugar levels and improve immune function in people with type 1 diabetes.

People with type 1 diabetes tend to be zinc deficient,210 which may impair immune function .211 Zinc supplements have lowered blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes.212

Some doctors are concerned about having people with type 1 diabetes supplement with zinc because of a report that zinc supplementation increased glycosylation,213 generally a sign of deterioration of the condition. This trial is hard to evaluate because zinc supplementation increases the life of blood cells and such an effect artificially increases the lab test results for glycosylation. Until this issue is resolved, those with type 1 diabetes should consult a doctor before considering supplementation with zinc.

2 Stars
Type 2 Diabetes
15 to 25 mg per day
People with type 2 diabetes tend to be zinc deficient, supplementing with zinc may help restore levels.
People with type 2 diabetes tend to be zinc deficient,214 but some evidence indicates that zinc supplementation does not improve their ability to process sugar.215 Nonetheless, many doctors recommend that people with type 2 diabetes supplement with moderate amounts of zinc (15 to 25 mg per day) as a way to correct the deficit.
2 Stars
Warts
Take under medical supervision: 2.25 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) body weight, up to 135 mg per day
In one study, supplementing with zinc, resulted in complete disappearance of warts in 87% of people treated.

In a double-blind study, supplementation with oral zinc , in the form of zinc sulfate, for two months resulted in complete disappearance of warts in 87% of people treated, whereas none of those receiving a placebo improved.216 The amount of zinc used was based on body weight, with a maximum of 135 mg per day. Similar results were seen in another double-blind study.217 These large amounts of zinc should be used under the supervision of a doctor. Side effects included nausea, vomiting, and mild abdominal pain.

1 Star
Athletic Performance
Refer to label instructions
Exercise depletes zinc, and severe zinc deficiency can compromise muscle function. One trial found that zinc improved muscle strength, and another study of athletes with low zinc levels found that zinc improved red blood cell flexibility during exercise, which could benefit blood flow to the muscles.

Exercise increases zinc losses from the human body, and severe zinc deficiency can compromise muscle function.218 , 219 Athletes who do not eat an optimal diet, especially those who are trying to control their weight or use fad diets while exercising strenuously, may become deficient in zinc to the extent that performance or health is compromised.220 , 221 One double-blind trial in women found that 135 mg per day of zinc for two weeks improved one measure of muscle strength.222 Whether these women were zinc deficient was not determined in this study. A double-blind study of male athletes with low blood levels of zinc found that 20 mg per day of zinc improved the flexibility of the red blood cells during exercise, which could benefit blood flow to the muscles.223 No other studies of the effects of zinc supplementation in exercising people have been done. A safe amount of zinc for long-term use is 20 to 40 mg per day along with 1 to 2 mg of copper. Higher amounts should be taken only under the supervision of a doctor.

1 Star
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Refer to label instructions
Zinc has been shown to reduce prostate size in some studies. If you are taking 30 mg or more of zinc per day, most doctors recommend adding 2 to 3 mg of copper to avoid deficiency.

Prostatic secretions are known to contain a high concentration of zinc ; that observation suggests that zinc plays a role in normal prostate function. In one preliminary study, 19 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia took 150 mg of zinc daily for two months, and then 50 to 100 mg daily. In 74% of the men, the prostate became smaller.224 Because this study did not include a control group, improvements may have been due to a placebo effect. Zinc also reduced prostatic size in an animal study but only when given by local injection.225 Although the research supporting the use of zinc is weak, many doctors recommend its use. Because supplementing with large amounts of zinc (such as 30 mg per day or more) may potentially lead to copper deficiency, most doctors recommend taking 2 to 3 mg of copper per day along with zinc.

1 Star
Childhood Diseases
Refer to label instructions
Zinc is a mineral antioxidant nutrient that the immune system requires. Supplementing with it increases immune activity in people with certain illnesses.

Zinc is another mineral antioxidant nutrient that the immune system requires. Zinc deficiency results in lowered immune defenses, and zinc supplementation increases immune activity in people with certain illnesses.226 As with vitamin A, zinc levels have been observed to fall during the early stages of measles infection and to return to normal several days later.227 There is evidence that zinc supplements are helpful in specific viral infections,228 , 229 , 230 but there are no data on the effect of zinc on childhood exanthemous infections.

1 Star
Cystic Fibrosis
Refer to label instructions
The malabsorption produced by cystic fibrosis may adversely affect zinc absorption. Supplementing with zinc can help counteract this deficiency.

The malabsorption produced by CF may adversely affect mineral absorption as well. Blood concentrations of zinc were low in a group of children with CF.231 One child with CF was reported to have a severe generalized dermatitis that resolved upon correction of zinc and fatty acid deficiencies by using a formula containing zinc (about 3 mg per day) and medium chain triglycerides (amount not reported).[REF] In a double-blind trial, supplementation with 30 mg of zinc per day for one year significantly decreased the number of days that children with CF needed antibiotics to treat respiratory infections. The beneficial effect of zinc was more pronounced in children who had low or low–normal plasma zinc levels than in those who had higher levels.232

1 Star
Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with zinc can counteract the nutrient deficiency that often occurs as a result of malabsorption.

People with DH frequently have mild malabsorption (difficulty absorbing certain nutrients) associated with low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) and inflammation of the stomach lining (atrophic gastritis).233 Mild malabsorption may result in anemia 234 and nutritional deficiencies of iron , folic acid ,235 , 236 vitamin B12 ,237 , 238 and zinc .239 , 240 , 241 More severe malabsorption may result in loss of bone mass.242 Additional subtle deficiencies of vitamins and minerals are possible, but have not been investigated. Therefore, some doctors recommend people with DH have their nutritional status checked regularly with laboratory studies. These doctors may also recommend multivitamin-mineral supplements and, to correct the low stomach acid, supplemental betaine HCl (a source of hydrochloric acid).

1 Star
Ear Infections
Refer to label instructions
Zinc stimulates immune function, so some doctors recommend zinc supplements for people with recurrent ear infections.

Zinc supplements have also been reported to increase immune function.243 , 244 As a result, some doctors recommend zinc supplements for people with recurrent ear infections, suggesting 25 mg per day for adults and lower amounts for children. For example, a 30-pound child might be given 5 mg of zinc per day while suffering from OM. Nonetheless, zinc supplementation has not been studied in people with ear infections.

1 Star
Gastritis
Refer to label instructions
Zinc is helpful in healing peptic ulcers, which can occur in some types of gastritis.

Zinc and vitamin A , nutrients that aid in healing, are commonly used to help people with peptic ulcers. For example, the ulcers of people taking 50 mg of zinc three times per day healed three times faster than those of people who took placebo.245 Since some types of gastritis can progress to peptic ulcer, it is possible that taking it may be useful. Nevertheless, the research does not yet show that zinc specifically helps people with gastritis. The amount of zinc used in this study is very high compared with what most people take (15–40 mg per day). Even at these lower levels, it is necessary to take 1–3 mg of copper per day to avoid a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

1 Star
Gestational Hypertension
Refer to label instructions
In one study, supplementing with zinc reduced the incidence of gestational hypertension in a group of pregnant Hispanic women who were not zinc deficient.

Zinc supplementation (20 mg per day) was reported to reduce the incidence of GH in one double-blind trial studying a group of low-income Hispanic pregnant women who were not zinc deficient.246

1 Star
Goiter
Refer to label instructions
Deficiencies of zinc can contribute to iodine-deficiency goiter. Supplementing with zinc may help.

When iodine deficiency is present, other nutrient levels become important in the development of goiter. Deficiencies of zinc 247 and manganese 248 can both contribute to iodine-deficiency goiter; however, an animal study found that manganese excess can also be goitrogenic.249 It has been suggested that selenium deficiency may contribute to goiter.250 However, when selenium supplements were given to people deficient in both iodine and selenium, thyroid dysfunction was aggravated, and it has been suggested that selenium deficiency may provide some protection when there is iodine deficiency.251 , 252 A study of the effects of selenium supplementation at 100 mcg daily in women without selenium deficiency but with slightly low iodine intake found no effect on thyroid function.253 The authors concluded that selenium supplementation seems to be safe in people with only iodine deficiency but not in people with combined selenium and iodine deficiencies. In those cases, iodine supplementation has been shown to be most useful.254 No studies have been done to evaluate the usefulness of supplementation with zinc or manganese to prevent or treat goiter.

1 Star
Hypoglycemia
Refer to label instructions
Zinc helps control blood sugar levels in diabetics, and since there are similarities in the way the body regulates high and low blood sugar levels, it might be helpful for hypoglycemia as well.

Research has shown that supplementing with chromium (200 mcg per day)255 or magnesium (340 mg per day)256 can prevent blood sugar levels from falling excessively in people with hypoglycemia. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) has also been found to be helpful for hypoglycemic people.257 Other nutrients, including vitamin C , vitamin E , zinc , copper , manganese , and vitamin B6 , may help control blood sugar levels in diabetics .258 Since there are similarities in the way the body regulates high and low blood sugar levels, these nutrients might be helpful for hypoglycemia as well, although the amounts needed for that purpose are not known.

1 Star
Hypothyroidism
Refer to label instructions
In people with low zinc, supplementing with zinc may increased thyroid hormone levels.

Laboratory animals with severe, experimentally induced zinc deficiency developed hypothyroidism, whereas moderate zinc deficiency did not affect thyroid function.259 In a small study of healthy people, thyroid hormone (thyroxine) levels tended to be lower in those with lower blood levels of zinc. In people with low zinc, supplementing with zinc increased thyroxine levels.260 One case has been reported of a woman with severe zinc deficiency (caused by the combination of alcoholism and malabsorption ) who developed hypothyroidism that was corrected by supplementing with zinc.261 Although the typical Western diet is marginally low in zinc,262 additional research is needed to determine whether zinc supplementation would be effective for preventing or correcting hypothyroidism.

1 Star
Immune Function
25 mg daily
Zinc supplements have been reported to increase immune function. Some doctors recommend zinc supplements for people with recurrent infections.

Most,263 , 264 but not all,265 double-blind studies have shown that elderly people have better immune function and reduced infection rates when taking a multiple vitamin-mineral formula. In one double-blind trial, supplements of 100 mcg per day of selenium and 20 mg per day of zinc , with or without additional vitamin C , vitamin E , and beta-carotene , reduced infections in elderly people, though vitamins without minerals had no effect.266 Burn victims have also experienced fewer infections after receiving trace mineral supplements in double-blind research.267 These studies suggest that trace minerals may be the most important micronutrients for enhancing immunity and preventing infections in the elderly.

Zinc supplements have been reported to increase immune function.268 , 269 This effect may be especially important in the elderly according to double-blind studies.270 , 271 Some doctors recommend zinc supplements for people with recurrent infections , suggesting 25 mg per day for adults and lower amounts for children (depending on body weight). However, too much zinc (300 mg per day) has been reported to impair immune function.272

While zinc lozenges have been shown to be effective for reducing the symptoms and duration of the common cold in some controlled studies, it is not clear whether this effect is due to an enhancement of immune function or to the direct effect of zinc on the viruses themselves.273

1 Star
Insulin Resistance Syndrome
Refer to label instructions
Low zinc intake appears to be associated with several of the risk factors common in IRS, and a low blood level of zinc is associated with insulin resistance in overweight people.

Preliminary studies have reported that low zinc intake is associated with several of the risk factors common in IRS,274 and a low blood level of zinc is associated with insulin resistance in overweight people.275 However, people with IRS have not specifically been studied to determine whether they are zinc deficient or whether zinc supplements are helpful for them.

1 Star
Osgood-Schlatter Disease (Manganese, Vitamin B6)
Refer to label instructions
Some doctors have reported good results using a combination of zinc, manganese, and vitamin B6 for people with Osgood-Schlatter disease.

Another group of doctors has reported good results using a combination of zinc , manganese , and vitamin B6 for people with Osgood-Schlatter disease; however, the amounts of these supplements were not mentioned in the report.276 Most physicians would consider reasonable daily amounts of these nutrients for adolescents to be 15 mg of zinc, 5 to 10 mg of manganese, and 25 mg of vitamin B6. Larger amounts might be used with medical supervision.

1 Star
Osteoporosis
Refer to label instructions
Supplementing with zinc appears to be helpful in both preventing and treating osteoporosis.

One trial studying postmenopausal women combined hormone replacement therapy with magnesium (600 mg per day), calcium (500 mg per day), vitamin C , B vitamins , vitamin D, zinc, copper, manganese, boron , and other nutrients for an eight- to nine-month period.277 In addition, participants were told to avoid processed foods, limit protein intake, emphasize vegetable over animal protein, and limit consumption of salt, sugar, alcohol, coffee, tea, chocolate, and tobacco. Bone density increased a remarkable 11%, compared to only 0.7% in women receiving hormone replacement alone.

Levels of zinc in both blood and bone have been reported to be low in people with osteoporosis,278 and urinary loss of zinc has been reported to be high.279 In one trial, men consuming only 10 mg of zinc per day from food had almost twice the risk of osteoporotic fractures compared with those eating significantly higher levels of zinc in their diets.280 Whether zinc supplementation protects against bone loss has not yet been proven, though in one trial, supplementation with several minerals including zinc and calcium was more effective than calcium by itself.281 Many doctors recommend that people with osteoporosis, as well as those trying to protect themselves from this disease, supplement with 10 to 30 mg of zinc per day.

1 Star
Pre- and Post-Surgery Health
Refer to label instructions
Zinc is important for proper immune system function and wound healing. Zinc supplements taken before surgery may prevent zinc deficiency and promote healing.

Zinc is a mineral nutrient important for proper immune system function and wound healing.282 One study found most surgery patients recovering at home had low dietary intakes of zinc.283 Low blood levels of zinc have been reported in patients after lung surgery.284 , 285 In one study this deficiency lasted for up to seven days after surgery and was associated with higher risk of pneumonia,286 while another study found an association between post-operative zinc deficiency and fatigue.287 Poor post-operative wound healing is also more common in people with zinc deficiency.288 Zinc supplements given to patients before surgery prevented zinc deficiency in one study, but the effect of these supplements on post-surgical health was not evaluated.289

1 Star
Prostatitis
Refer to label instructions
Zinc has antibacterial activity and is a key factor in the natural resistance of male urinary tract infections. Supplementing with it may improve postatitis.

In healthy men, prostatic secretions contain a significant amount of zinc , which has antibacterial activity and is a key factor in the natural resistance of the male urinary tract infection .296 , 297 In CBP298 , 299 , 300 , 301 and NBP302 these zinc levels are significantly reduced; however, it is not clear whether this indicates a predisposition to, or is the result of, prostatic infection.303 , 304 Zinc supplements increased semen levels of zinc in men with NBP in one study,305but not in another.306 While zinc supplements have been associated with improvement of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), according to one preliminary report,307 no research has examined their effectiveness for prostatitis. Nonetheless, many doctors of natural medicine recommend zinc for this condition.

0 Stars
Common Cold and Sore Throat (Zinc Nasal Spray)
Not recommended due to a potenially serious side effect
Zinc nasal sprays appear to be effective at shortening the duration of cold symptoms, however, some people have experienced long-lasting or permanent loss of smell after using the spray.

Caution: Using zinc nasal spray has been reported to cause severe or complete loss of smell function. In some of those cases, the loss of smell was long-lasting or permanent.308

Zinc interferes with viral replication in test tubes.309 The beneficial effect of zinc nasal sprays should be weighed against the potentially serious side effect of loss of smell. Since zinc supplements are also effective and do not carry such a risk, it is more advisable to take zinc orally. 

A double-blind trial showed a 74% reduction in symptom duration in people using a zinc nasal spray four times daily, compared with the 42 to 53% reduction reported in trials using zinc gluconate or zinc acetate lozenges.310 The average duration of symptoms after the beginning of treatment was 2.3 days in the people receiving zinc, compared with 9.0 days in those receiving placebo. However, in another double-blind study, zinc nasal spray was no more effective than a placebo; in both groups the median duration of symptoms was seven days.311

How It Works

How to Use It

Moderate intake of zinc, approximately 15 mg daily, is adequate to prevent deficiencies. Higher levels (up to 50 mg taken three times per day) are reserved for people with certain health conditions, under the supervision of a doctor. For the alleviation of cold symptoms, lozenges providing 13–25 mg of zinc in the form zinc gluconate, zinc gluconate-glycine, or zinc acetate are generally used frequently but only for several days.

Where to Find It

Good sources of zinc include oysters, meat, eggs, seafood, black-eyed peas, tofu, and wheat germ.

Possible Deficiencies

Zinc deficiencies are quite common in people living in poor countries. Phytate, a substance found in unleavened bread (pita, matzos, and some crackers) significantly reduces absorption of zinc, increasing the chance of zinc deficiency. However, phytate-induced deficiency of zinc appears to be a significant problem only for people already consuming marginally low amounts of zinc.

Even in developed countries, low-income pregnant women and pregnant teenagers are at risk for marginal zinc deficiencies. Supplementing with 25–30 mg per day improves pregnancy outcome in these groups.312 , 313

People with liver cirrhosis appear to be commonly deficient in zinc.314 This deficiency may be due to cirrhosis-related zinc malabsorption .315

People with Down’s syndrome are also commonly deficient in zinc.316 Giving zinc supplements to children with Down’s syndrome has been reported to improve impaired immunity317 and thyroid function,318 though optimal intake of zinc for people with Down’s syndrome remains unclear.

Children with alopecia areata (patchy areas of hair loss) have been reported to be deficient in zinc.319 , 320

The average diet frequently provides less than the Recommended Dietary Allowance for zinc, particularly in vegetarians. To what extent (if any) these small deficits in zinc intake create clinical problems remains unclear. Nonetheless, a low-potency supplement (15 mg per day) can fill in dietary gaps. Zinc deficiencies are more common in alcoholics and people with sickle cell anemia , malabsorption problems, and chronic kidney disease.321

Interactions

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

Zinc competes for absorption with copper , iron ,322 , 323 calcium ,324 and magnesium .325 A multimineral supplement will help prevent mineral imbalances that can result from taking high amounts of zinc for extended periods of time.

N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) may increase urinary excretion of zinc.326 Long-term users of NAC may consider adding supplements of zinc and copper.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • Amlodipine-Benazepril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension , six months of captopril or enalapril (ACE inhibitors related to benazepril ) treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells,329 raising concerns about possible ACE inhibitor–induced zinc depletion.

    While zinc depletion has not been reported with benazepril, until more is known, it makes sense for people taking benazepril long term to consider, as a precaution, taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper , to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Aspirin

    Intake of 3 grams of aspirin per day has been shown to decrease blood levels of zinc.330 Aspirin appeared to increase loss of zinc in the urine in this study, and the effect was noted beginning three days after starting aspirin.

  • Benazepril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension , six months of captopril or enalapril (ACE inhibitors related to benazepril) treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells,332 raising concerns about possible ACE inhibitor–induced zinc depletion.

    While zinc depletion has not been reported with benazepril, until more is known, it makes sense for people taking benazepril long term to consider, as a precaution, taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper , to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Bendroflumethiazide

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.333

  • Calcium Acetate

    People with renal failure or on hemodialysis often have low blood levels of zinc, which may produce symptoms such as abnormal taste or smell, reduced sexual functions, and poor immunity. One controlled study showed that taking zinc at the same time as calcium acetate reduces absorption of zinc.338 Therefore, people should avoid taking calcium acetate and zinc supplements together. Another controlled study revealed that neither short-term nor long-term treatment with calcium acetate results in reduced blood zinc levels.339 Thus, while calcium acetate reduces the amount of zinc absorbed from supplements, long-term treatment with the drug does not appear to affect overall zinc status. However, people with renal failure who experience symptoms of zinc deficiency might benefit from supplementing with zinc, regardless of whether or not they take calcium acetate.

  • Captopril

    Preliminary research has found significant loss of zinc in urine triggered by taking captopril.343 In this trial, depletion of zinc reduced red blood cell levels of zinc. Although details remain unclear, it now appears that chronic use of captopril may lead to a zinc deficiency.344

    It makes sense for people taking captopril long term to consider taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc as a precaution. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper , to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Chlorothiazide

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.354

  • Chlorthalidone

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.355

  • Cholestyramine

    Bile acid sequestrants may prevent absorption of folic acid and the fat-soluble vitamins A , D , E , and K .356 , 357 Other medications and vitamin supplements should be taken one hour before or four to six hours after bile acid sequestrants for optimal absorption.358 Animal studies suggest calcium and zinc may also be depleted by taking cholestyramine.359

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Colesevelam

    Bile acid sequestrants may prevent absorption of folic acid and the fat-soluble vitamins A , D , E , and K .368 , 369 Other medications and vitamin supplements should be taken one hour before or four to six hours after bile acid sequestrants for optimal absorption.370 Animal studies suggest calcium and zinc may also be depleted by taking cholestyramine.371

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Colestipol

    Bile acid sequestrants, including colestipol, may prevent absorption of folic acid and the fat-soluble vitamins A , D , E , K .372 , 373 People taking colestipol should consult with their doctor about vitamin malabsorption and supplementation. People should take other drugs and vitamin supplements one hour before or four to six hours after colestipol to improve absorption.374

    Animal studies suggest calcium and zinc may be depleted by taking cholestyramine, another bile acid sequestrant. 375 Whether these same interactions would occur with colestipol is not known.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Desogestrel-Ethinyl Estradiol

    A review of literature suggests that women who use oral contraceptives may experience decreased vitamin B1 , B2 , B3 , B12 , C , and zinc levels.382 , 383 , 384 Oral contraceptive use has been associated with increased absorption of calcium and copper and with increased blood levels of copper and vitamin A .385 , 386 , 387 Oral contraceptives may interfere with manganese absorption.388 The clinical importance of these actions remains unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Dexamethasone

    Oral corticosteroids have been found to increase urinary loss of vitamin K , vitamin C , selenium , and zinc .391 , 392 The importance of these losses is unknown.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Enalapril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension, six months of captopril or enalapril treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells.397

    It makes sense for people taking enalapril long term to consider, as a precaution, taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper, to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Ethinyl Estradiol and Levonorgestrel

    A review of literature suggests that women who use OCs may experience decreased vitamin B1 , B2 , B3 , B12 , C , and zinc levels.402 , 403 , 404 OC use has been associated with increased absorption of calcium and copper and with increased blood levels of copper and vitamin A .405 , 406 , 407 OCs may interfere with manganese absorption.408 The clinical importance of these actions remains unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone

    A review of literature suggests that women who use OCs may experience decreased vitamin B1 , B2 , B3 , B12 , C , and zinc levels.409 , 410 , 411 OC use has been associated with increased absorption of calcium and copper and with increased blood levels of copper and vitamin A .412 , 413 , 414 OCs may interfere with manganese absorption.415 The clinical importance of these actions remains unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Ethinyl Estradiol and Norgestimate

    A review of literature suggests that women who use OCs may experience decreased vitamin B1 , B2 , B3 , B12 , C , and zinc levels.416 , 417 , 418 OC use has been associated with increased absorption of calcium and copper and with increased blood levels of copper and vitamin A .419 , 420 , 421 OCs may interfere with manganese absorption.422 The clinical importance of these actions remains unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Ethinyl Estradiol and Norgestrel

    A review of literature suggests that women who use oral contraceptives may experience decreased vitamin B1 , B2 , B3 , B12 , C , and zinc levels.423 , 424 , 425 Oral contraceptive use has been associated with increased absorption of calcium and copper and with increased blood levels of copper and vitamin A .426 , 427 , 428 Oral contraceptives may interfere with manganese absorption.429 The clinical importance of these actions remains unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Folic Acid

    Though some studies indicate that supplementing with folic acid reduces blood levels of zinc, most show no interaction between the two nutrients when folic acid is taken at moderate levels.442 Therefore, until more convincing evidence is available, people taking moderate amounts of folic acid do not need to supplement with zinc. Zinc supplementation is recommended when folic acid intake is high. A doctor should be consulted to determine the appropriate time to add zinc supplementation to folic acid therapy.

  • Fosinopril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension , six months of captopril or enalapril (ACE inhibitors related to fosinopril) treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells,443 raising concerns about possible ACE inhibitor–induced zinc depletion.

    While zinc depletion has not been reported with ramipril, until more is known, it makes sense for people taking fosinopril long term to consider, as a precaution, taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper , to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.446

  • Hydroflumethiazide

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.448

  • Indapamide

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.455

  • Levonorgestrel

    A review of literature suggests that women who use OCs may experience decreased vitamin B1 , B2 , B3 , B12 , C , and zinc levels.459 , 460 , 461 OC use has been associated with increased absorption of calcium and copper and with increased blood levels of copper and vitamin A .462 , 463 , 464 OCs may interfere with manganese absorption.465 The clinical importance of these actions remains unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Levonorgestrel-Ethinyl Estrad

    A review of literature suggests that women who use oral contraceptives may experience decreased vitamin B1 , B2 , B3 , B12 , C , and zinc levels.466 , 467 , 468 Oral contraceptive use has been associated with increased absorption of calcium and copper and with increased blood levels of copper and vitamin A .469 , 470 , 471 Oral contraceptives may interfere with manganese absorption.472 The clinical importance of these actions remains unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Lisinopril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension , six months of captopril or enalapril (ACE inhibitors related to lisinopril) treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells,473 raising concerns about possible ACE inhibitor–induced zinc depletion.

    While zinc depletion has not been reported with lisinopril, until more is known, it makes sense for people taking lisinopril long term to consider, as a precaution, taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper , to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Mestranol and Norethindrone

    A review of literature suggests that women who use oral contraceptives may experience decreased vitamin B1 , B2 , B3 , B12 , C , and zinc levels.486 , 487 , 488 Oral contraceptive use has been associated with increased absorption of calcium and copper and with increased blood levels of copper and vitamin A .489 , 490 , 491 Oral contraceptives may interfere with manganese absorption.492 The clinical importance of these actions remains unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Methyclothiazide

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.496

  • Metolazone

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.11

  • Moexipril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension, six months of captopril or enalapril treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells.497

    It makes sense for people taking enalapril long term to consider, as a precaution, taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper, to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Norgestimate-Ethinyl Estradiol

    A review of literature suggests that women who use oral contraceptives may experience decreased vitamin B1 , B2 , B3 , B12 , C , and zinc levels.499 , 500 , 501 Oral contraceptive use has been associated with increased absorption of calcium and copper and with increased blood levels of copper and vitamin A .502 , 503 , 504 Oral contraceptives may interfere with manganese absorption.505 The clinical importance of these actions remains unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Perindopril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension , six months of captopril or enalapril (ACE inhibitors related to perindopril) treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells,506 raising concerns about possible ACE inhibitor–induced zinc depletion.

    While zinc depletion has not been reported with ramipril, until more is known, it makes sense for people taking perindopril long term to consider, as a precaution, taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper , to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Polythiazide

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.510

  • Quinapril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension , six months of captopril or enalapril (ACE inhibitors related to quinapril) treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells,512 raising concerns about possible ACE inhibitor–induced zinc depletion.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Ramipril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension , six months of captopril or enalapril (ACE inhibitors related to ramipril) treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells,513 raising concerns about possible ACE inhibitor–induced zinc depletion.

    While zinc depletion has not been reported with ramipril, until more is known, it makes sense for people taking ramipril long term to consider, as a precaution, taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper , to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Sodium Fluoride

    Individuals who are bedridden for long periods may become deficient in zinc, which can affect the strength of bone that is formed. In a controlled study of healthy adults who were confined to bed, fluoride supplementation prevented zinc loss from the body.514 Bedridden individuals should consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for guidance in using fluoride to prevent zinc deficiency.

  • Trandolapril

    In a study of 34 people with hypertension , six months of captopril or enalapril (ACE inhibitors related to trandolapril) treatment led to decreased zinc levels in certain white blood cells,521 raising concerns about possible ACE inhibitor–induced zinc depletion.

    While zinc depletion has not been reported with ramipril, until more is known, it makes sense for people taking trandolapril long term to consider, as a precaution, taking a zinc supplement or a multimineral tablet containing zinc. (Such multiminerals usually contain no more than 99 mg of potassium, probably not enough to trigger the above-mentioned interaction.) Supplements containing zinc should also contain copper , to protect against a zinc-induced copper deficiency.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Trichlormethiazide

    Thiazide diuretics can increase urinary zinc loss.522

  • Valproate

    In various studies of children treated with valproic acid for epilepsy compared with control groups, serum zinc levels remained normal526 , 527 or decreased,528 serum copper levels remained normal529 , 530 or decreased,531 and red blood cell zinc levels were decreased.532 The importance of these changes and how frequently they occur remain unclear.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Reduce Side Effects

  • Busulfan

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.335 , 336 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.337

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Capecitabine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.340 , 341 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.342

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Carboplatin

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.345 , 346 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.347

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Carmustine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.348 , 349 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.350

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Chlorambucil

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.351 , 352 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.353

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Cisplatin

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.360 , 361 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.362

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Cladribine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.363 , 364 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.365

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Cyclophosphamide

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.376 , 377 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.378

  • Cytarabine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.379 , 380 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.381

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Docetaxel

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.394 , 395 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.396

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Erlotinib

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.398 , 399 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.400

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Etoposide

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.430 , 431 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.432

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Floxuridine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.433 , 434 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.435

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Fludarabine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.436 , 437 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.438

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Hydroxyurea

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.449 , 450 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.451

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Ifosfamide

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.452 , 453 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.454

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Irinotecan

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.456 , 457 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.458

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Lomustine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.474 , 475 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.476

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Mechlorethamine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.477 , 478 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.479

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Melphalan

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.480 , 481 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.482

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Mercaptopurine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.483 , 484 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.485

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Methotrexate

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.493 , 494 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.495

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Polifeprosan 20 with Carmustine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.507 , 508 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.509

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Thioguanine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.515 , 516 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.517

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Thiotepa

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.518 , 519 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.520

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Uracil Mustard

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.523 , 524 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.525

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Vinblastine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.533 , 534 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.535

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Vincristine

    Irradiation treatment, especially of head and neck cancers, frequently results in changes to normal taste sensation.536 , 537 Zinc supplementation may be protective against taste alterations caused or exacerbated by irradiation. A double-blind trial found that 45 mg of zinc sulfate three times daily reduced the alteration of taste sensation during radiation treatment and led to significantly greater recovery of taste sensation after treatment was concluded.538

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Support Medicine

  • Alclometasone

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.327 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Amcinonide

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.328 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • AZT

    A study found that adding 200 mg zinc per day to AZT treatment decreased the number of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and Candida infections in people with AIDS compared with people treated with AZT alone.331 The zinc also improved weight and CD4 cell levels. The amount of zinc used in this study was very high and should be combined with 1–2 mg of copper to reduce the risk of immune problems from the zinc long term.

    Preliminary human research suggests AZT therapy may cause a reduction in copper and zinc blood levels. The practical importance of these findings remains unclear.

  • Betamethasone

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.334 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Clobetasol

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.366 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Clocortolone

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.367 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Desonide

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.389 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Desoximetasone

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.390 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Diflorasone

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.393 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Erythromycin-Benzoyl Peroxide

    Using a topical zinc solution with topical erythromycin increases the effectiveness of the antibiotic in the treatment of inflammatory acne .401

  • Fluocinonide

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.439 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Flurandrenolide

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.440 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Fluticasone

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.441 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Halcinonide

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.444 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Halobetasol

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.445 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Hydrocortisone

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.447 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Mometasone

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.498 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Prednicarbate

    Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.511 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Reduces Effectiveness

  • Ciprofloxacin

    Minerals such as aluminum, calcium , copper , iron , magnesium , manganese , and zinc can bind to ciprofloxacin, greatly reducing the absorption of the drug.539 , 540 , 541 , 542 Because of the mineral content, people are advised to take ciprofloxacin two hours after consuming dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and others), antacids (Maalox®, Mylanta®, Tums®, Rolaids®, and others), and mineral-containing supplements.543

  • Demeclocycline

    Taking mineral supplements or antacids that contain aluminum, calcium , iron , magnesium , or zinc at the same time as tetracyclines inhibits the absorption of the drug.544 Therefore, individuals should take tetracyclines at least two hours before or after products containing minerals.

  • Doxycycline

    Many minerals can decrease the absorption and reduce effectiveness of doxycycline, including calcium , magnesium , iron , zinc , and others.545 To avoid these interactions, doxycycline should be taken two hours before or two hours after dairy products (high in calcium) and mineral-containing antacids or supplements.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Ofloxacin

    Minerals including calcium , iron , magnesium , and zinc can bind to fluoroquinolones, including ofloxacin, greatly reducing drug absorption.547 Ofloxacin should be taken four hours before or two hours after consuming antacids (Maalox®, Mylanta®, Tumms®, Rolaids® and others) that may contain these minerals and mineral-containing supplements .548

  • Penicillamine

    People taking penicillamine should discuss with their doctor whether it would be appropriate to take a zinc supplement (at a separate time of day from the penicillamine).549 However, people taking penicillamine should not supplement with zinc, unless they are being supervised by a doctor.

  • Risedronate

    Taking risedronate at the same time as iron , zinc , or magnesium may reduce the amount of drug absorbed.550 Therefore, people taking risedronate who wish to supplement with these minerals should take them an hour before or two hours after the drug.

  • Tetracycline

    Many minerals can decrease the absorption of tetracycline, thus reducing its effectiveness. These minerals include aluminum (in antacids), calcium (in antacids, dairy products, and supplements), magnesium (in antacids and supplements), iron (in food and supplements), zinc (in food and supplements), and others.

  • Warfarin

    Iron , magnesium , and zinc may bind with warfarin, potentially decreasing their absorption and activity.551 People on warfarin therapy should take warfarin and iron/magnesium/zinc-containing products at least two hours apart.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Potential Negative Interaction

  • Methyltestosterone

    Taking methyltestosterone increased the amount of zinc in the blood and hair of boys with short stature or growth retardation.546 It is not known whether this increase would occur in other people or whether zinc supplementation by people taking methyltestosterone would result in zinc toxicity. Until more is known, zinc supplementation should be combined with methyltestosterone therapy only under the supervision of a doctor.

Explanation Required

  • Cortisone

    Oral corticosteroids have been found to increase urinary loss of vitamin K , vitamin C , selenium , and zinc .552 , 553 The importance of these losses is unknown.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Medroxyprogesterone

    In a group of 37 postmenopausal women treated with conjugated estrogens and medroxyprogesterone for 12 months, urinary zinc and magnesium loss was reduced in those women who began the study with signs of osteoporosis and elevated zinc and magnesium excretion.554 The clinical significance of this interaction remains unclear.

  • Methylprednisolone

    Oral corticosteroids have been found to increase urinary loss of vitamin K , vitamin C , selenium , and zinc .555 , 556 The importance of these losses is unknown.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Minocycline

    Taking calcium, iron, magnesium, or zinc at the same time as minocycline can decrease the absorption of both the drug557 , 558 and the mineral. Therefore, calcium, iron, magnesium, or zinc supplements, if used, should be taken an hour before or after the drug.

  • Prednisolone

    Oral corticosteroids have been found to increase urinary loss of vitamin K , vitamin C , selenium , and zinc .559 , 560 The importance of these losses is unknown.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Prednisone

    Oral corticosteroids have been found to increase urinary loss of vitamin K , vitamin C , selenium , and zinc .561 , 562 The importance of these losses is unknown.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Side Effects

Zinc intake in excess of 300 mg per day has been reported to impair immune function .563 Some people report that zinc lozenges lead to stomach ache, nausea, mouth irritation, and a bad taste. One source reports that gastrointestinal upset, metallic taste in the mouth, blood in the urine, and lethargy can occur from chronic oral zinc supplementation over 150 mg per day,564 but those claims are unsubstantiated. In topical form, zinc has no known side effects when used as recommended.

Caution: Using zinc nasal spray has been reported to cause severe or complete loss of smell function. In some of those cases, the loss of smell was long-lasting or permanent.565

Preliminary research had suggested that people with Alzheimer’s disease should avoid zinc supplements.566 More recently, preliminary evidence in four patients actually showed improved mental function with zinc supplementation.567 In a convincing review of zinc/Alzheimer’s disease research, perhaps the most respected zinc researcher in the world concluded that zinc does not cause or exacerbate Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.568

Zinc inhibits copper absorption. Copper deficiency can result in anemia, lower levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol , neurological disorders, and cardiac arrhythmias .569 , 570 , 571 Copper intake should be increased if zinc supplementation continues for more than a few days (except for people with Wilson’s disease ).572 Some sources recommend a 10:1 ratio of zinc to copper. Evidence suggests that no more that 2 mg of copper per day is needed to prevent zinc-induced copper deficiency. Many zinc supplements include copper in the formulation to prevent zinc-induced copper deficiency. Zinc-induced copper deficiency has been reported to cause reversible anemia and suppression of bone marrow.573 In addition, there are case reports of neurologic abnormalities due to copper deficiency occurring in people who had been using large amounts of certain widely available denture creams that contained high concentrations of zinc.574

In a study of elderly people with macular degeneration , supplementing with 80 mg of zinc per day for an average of about six years increased by about 50% the incidence of hospitalizations due to genitourinary causes (such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and urinary retention).575 In that study, copper was also given, but in a form that cannot be absorbed by humans (cupric oxide). The reported adverse effect of zinc may have been due in large part to zinc-induced copper deficiency, which could be prevented by taking copper in a form other than cupric oxide. Nevertheless, it would be prudent for elderly people wishing to take large amounts of zinc to consult with a doctor.

Marginal zinc deficiency may be a contributing factor in some cases of anemia. In a study of women with normocytic anemia (in other words, their red blood cells were of normal size) and low total iron-binding capacity (a blood test often used to assess the cause of anemia), combined iron and zinc supplementation significantly improved the anemia, whereas iron or zinc supplemented alone had only slight effects.576 Supplementation with zinc, or zinc and iron together, has been found to improve vitamin A status among children at high risk for deficiency of the three nutrients.577

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376. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

377. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

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379. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

380. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

381. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

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394. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

395. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

396. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

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398. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

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412. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

413. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

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417. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

418. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197–8.

419. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

420. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

421. Berg G, Kohlmeier L, Brenner H. Effect of oral contraceptive progestins on serum copper concentration. Eur J Clin Nutr 1998;52:711–5.

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423. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

424. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

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426. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

427. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

428. Berg G, Kohlmeier L, Brenner H. Effect of oral contraceptive progestins on serum copper concentration. Eur J Clin Nutr 1998;52:711–5.

429. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197.

430. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

431. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

432. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

433. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

434. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

435. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

436. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

437. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

438. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

439. Camacho FM, Garcia-Hernandez MJ. Zinc aspartate, biotin, and clobetasol propionate in the treatment of alopecia areata in childhood. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:336–8 [letter].

440. Camacho FM, Garcia-Hernandez MJ. Zinc aspartate, biotin, and clobetasol propionate in the treatment of alopecia areata in childhood. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:336–8 [letter].

441. Camacho FM, Garcia-Hernandez MJ. Zinc aspartate, biotin, and clobetasol propionate in the treatment of alopecia areata in childhood. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:336–8 [letter].

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444. Camacho FM, Garcia-Hernandez MJ. Zinc aspartate, biotin, and clobetasol propionate in the treatment of alopecia areata in childhood. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:336–8 [letter].

445. Camacho FM, Garcia-Hernandez MJ. Zinc aspartate, biotin, and clobetasol propionate in the treatment of alopecia areata in childhood. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:336–8 [letter].

446. Reyes AJ, Leary WP, Lockett CJ, et al. Diuretics and zinc. S Afr Med J 1982;62:373–5.

447. Camacho FM, Garcia-Hernandez MJ. Zinc aspartate, biotin, and clobetasol propionate in the treatment of alopecia areata in childhood. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:336–8 [letter].

448. Reyes AJ, Leary WP, Lockett CJ, et al. Diuretics and zinc. S Afr Med J 1982;62:373–5.

449. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

450. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

451. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

452. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

453. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

454. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

455. Reyes AJ, Leary WP, Lockett CJ, et al. Diuretics and zinc. S Afr Med J 1982;62:373–5.

456. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

457. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

458. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

459. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

460. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

461. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197–8.

462. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

463. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

464. Berg G, Kohlmeier L, Brenner H. Effect of oral contraceptive progestins on serum copper concentration. Eur J Clin Nutr 1998;52:711–5.

465. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197.

466. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

467. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

468. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197–8.

469. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

470. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

471. Berg G, Kohlmeier L, Brenner H. Effect of oral contraceptive progestins on serum copper concentration. Eur J Clin Nutr 1998;52:711–5.

472. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197.

473. Golik A, Zaidenstein R, Dishi V, et al. Effects of captopril and enalapril on zinc metabolism in hypertensive patients. J Am Coll Nutr 1998;17:75–8.

474. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

475. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

476. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

477. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

478. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

479. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

480. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

481. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

482. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

483. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

484. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

485. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

486. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

487. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

488. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197–8.

489. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

490. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

491. Berg G, Kohlmeier L, Brenner H. Effect of oral contraceptive progestins on serum copper concentration. Eur J Clin Nutr 1998;52:711–5.

492. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197.

493. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

494. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

495. Ripamonti C, Zecca E, Brunelli C, et al. A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate on cancer patients with taste alterations caused by head and neck irradiation. Cancer 1998;82:1938–45.

496. Reyes AJ, Leary WP, Lockett CJ, et al. Diuretics and zinc. S Afr Med J 1982;62:373–5.

497. Golik A, Zaidenstein R, Dishi V, et al. Effects of captopril and enalapril on zinc metabolism in hypertensive patients. J Am Coll Nutr 1998;17:75–8.

498. Camacho FM, Garcia-Hernandez MJ. Zinc aspartate, biotin, and clobetasol propionate in the treatment of alopecia areata in childhood. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:336–8 [letter].

499. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

500. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

501. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197–8.

502. Werbach MR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1997, 210–1 [review].

503. Wynn V. Vitamins and oral contraceptive use. Lancet 1975;1:561–4.

504. Berg G, Kohlmeier L, Brenner H. Effect of oral contraceptive progestins on serum copper concentration. Eur J Clin Nutr 1998;52:711–5.

505. Holt GA. Food & Drug Interaction. Chicago: Precept Press, 1998, 197.

506. Golik A, Zaidenstein R, Dishi V, et al. Effects of captopril and enalapril on zinc metabolism in hypertensive patients. J Am Coll Nutr 1998;17:75–8.

507. Henkin RI. Prevention and treatment of hypogeusia due to head and neck irradiation. JAMA 1972;220:870–1.

508. Mossman KL, Henkin RI. Radiation-induced changes in taste acuity in cancer patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1978;4:663–70.

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