Our body needs zinc. But we can’t make zinc ourselves. So it’s essential.
But what do you have to consider when you carry zinc to you? What side effects can zinc cause? What about taking too much zinc?
These are all legitimate questions, the answer to which you can read in the next few paragraphs.
But first a short excursion into the dosage of zinc.
So much zinc should work without side effects
Before we think about side effects, it is first necessary to consider how much zinc your body can actually need. Actually, it should be quite simple, right? Yes, actually.
After all, the various maximum values are not entirely uniform. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends a maximum of 6.5 mg per day for dietary supplements. But this is only the lowest of many maximum values that can be found.
According to the German Society for Nutrition, we need different amounts for an adequate supply – depending on gender and circumstance:
- Women need 8 mg of zinc per day.
- Pregnant women in the first trimester should carry 9 mg of zinc per day. From the fourth month it may then already be 11 mg per day.
- Breastfeeding people have an even higher need and need 13 mg per day.
- Men, on the other hand, generally need 14 mg per day.
These limits apply to an average phytate intake.
These values are offset by the maximum levels set by the European Food Safety Authority: it assumes a maximum of 25 mg of zinc per day.
From the U.S., different dosages sound: The National Academy of Sciences recommends 40 mg of zinc per day.
With vegan or vegetarian diets, these amounts are difficult to achievewithout dietary supplements.
All in all, the values of the BfR and the DGE are pretty much the same, because the former assumes that zinc is already gested through food anyway. The DGE speaks of the total zinc dose.
In Germany, there is therefore a consensus that a total of up to 25 mg of zinc per day is permissible: via food and supplements!
The Zinc Side Effects: How to Realize You Have Too Much
In Central Europe, it is more likely to suffer from a zinc excess than a zinc deficiency. You usually manage the usual dose well via a balanced, non-vegan diet – unless chronic diseases slow down your metabolism.
However, if you suffer from the following side effects, you may be taking too much zinc:
- Abdominal cramps
- Metallic taste in the mouth
These side effects should usually occur approximately one hour after taking an overdose of zinc.
In addition, a copper deficiency can occur during a blood control, because zinc inhibits the absorption of copper.
However, this does not mean that you definitely have a zinc excess with the above symptoms. They are symptoms of various diseases and deficiencies. Therefore, if you suspect, you should always ask your doctor.
Questionable and hidden side effects: Zinc leads to other deficiencies
One of the side effects that only come to light after clarification are deficiencies in other nutrients. Minerals such as iron, copper, calcium or magnesium compete with zinc.
So if you take in too much zinc, it can come as a side effect to an iron, copper, calcium or magnesium deficiency.
Zinc strengthens the immune system, but too much zinc can weaken it again.
Usually, such side effects occur only with a chronic and high overdose.
However, these side effects are longer-term: they only set in after some time. With a zinc capsule, it is extremely unlikely that it is the reason for such a side effect.
What you can do with side effects with zinc supplementation
However, you are not helplessly at the mercy of when side effects actually occur.
If you suffer from fatigue or lack of concentration,you should reduce the dosage and take the preparation before sleeping.
However, if you have problems with the digestive tract or you are constantly sick, you should have yourself examined to see if zinc is the cause of this. Be sure to provide yourself with fluid. Electrolytes are not to be forgotten here either.
In case of headaches, it is recommended to pause with zinc supplements and then reducethe dosage. The same applies to an unnatural, metallic taste in the mouth.
Overall, it is recommended to pay attention to how you feedyourself. By means of nutrition you can already take considerable amounts of zinc. In addition, you should comply with the prescribed dosage of zinc. Here you should deviate only after consultation with your doctor.
Zinc side effects after discontinuation
If you have discontinued the supplement, there may be further side effects. You can fall under certain circumstances directly into a defect.
Here, hair loss, infection proneness and skin problems are the usual side effects. Therefore, make sure that you still take enough zinc.
There may be increased hair loss after showering or brushing your hair. This is because zinc is needed for the formation of keratin and collagen.
Due to the weakening of the immune system, colds and cystitis can accumulate. Here you should definitely talk to your doctor.
The skin problems are manifested by pimples, redness or dry skin. In addition, you may notice problems with wound healing.
In summary: Zinc side effects you can counter well
So if a zinc side effect occurs, all is far from lost. You can counteract well by the dosage.
If you pay attention to your diet and maximum levels, it is very unlikely that there will be side effects.
Many side effects can also be symptoms of other phenomena.
However, if you feel any, we advise you to consult your doctor.