Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to zinc compounds.

Side Effects and Warnings

Zinc is likely safe when taken by mouth in food, at levels commonly found in foods, or at levels lower than the tolerable upper level (UL). The UL for zinc is 4 milligrams daily for infants up to six months, 5 milligrams daily for infants 7-12 months, 7 milligrams daily for children 1-3 years, 12 milligrams daily for children 4-8years, 23 milligrams daily for children 9-13 years, 34 milligrams daily for children 14-18 years, and 40 milligrams daily for adults 19 and older.

Zinc is possibly safe when levels higher than the UL are used under the guidance of a physician.

Zinc may cause anorexia, asthma-related symptoms, blood disorders, changes in attention, changes in copper metabolism, changes in iron levels, changes in skin pigmentation, changes in thyroid function, changes in zinc levels, bad or different taste, bloating, changes in cholesterol levels, constipation, decreased zinc absorption, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth or nose, fatigue, feeling of burning or tingling, genital or urinary complications, headache, hormone changes, immune changes, increased risk of cancer, increased risk of lung or breathing disorders or infections, increased zinc in the urine, indigestion, kidney inflammation, liver failure or inflammation, loss of smell, mouth ulcers, nausea, skin symptoms, stomach cramps or bleeding, throat irritation, tingling in the nose, tissue death, and vomiting.

Zinc may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.

Zinc may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or low blood sugar, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood sugar levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.

Use cautiously in people with or at risk of blood disorders, cancer, copper deficiency, genital or urinary conditions, heart disease, immune disorders, iron deficiency, kidney disorders, liver disease, lung disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, nervous system disorders, skin disorders, stomach disorders, and thyroid disorders.

Use cautiously in people who are taking ACE inhibitors, agents that affect the immune system, agents that promote urination, antibiotics, anticancer agents (cisplatin), bromelain, caffeine, calcium, cholesterol-lowering agents, chromium, citric acid, copper, corticosteroids, dairy foods, deferoxamine, dexrazoxane, disulfuram, EDTA chelation, estrogens and phytoestrogens, ethanol, fiber, folic acid, histamine-2 (H(2) blocker cimetidine (Tagamet®), iron, magnesium, penicillamine, phenytoin, phosphorus, phytic acid, propofol, proton pump inhibitors, sugar and sugar alcohols, tartaric acid, thyroid hormones, valproate, and zidovudine.

Avoid in amounts exceeding the UL with a doctor's care. The UL for zinc is 4 milligrams daily for infants up to six months, 5 milligrams daily for infants 7-12 months, 7 milligrams daily for children 1-3 years, 12 milligrams daily for children 4-8 years, 23 milligrams daily for children 9-13 years, 34 milligrams daily for children 14-18 years, and 40 milligrams daily for adults 19 and older.

Avoid using Zicam® products applied to the nose. These zinc-containing formulas have been withdrawn from the U.S. market.

Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to zinc compounds.

Avoid in people who are at risk for hemochromatosis (a metabolic disorder involving iron-containing pigments in the tissues).

Avoid using for longer than 6-8 weeks for the common cold.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Zinc is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts generally found in foods (or as part of a multivitamin/multimineral compound) at levels less than the UL in non-allergic women.

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

This evidence-based monograph was prepared by The Natural Standard Research Collaboration

www.naturalstandard.com