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Limited research suggests that zinc supplements could possibly benefit those with mild to moderate hidradenitis suppurativa, but more research is needed.
Zinc plays a role in reducing inflammation and the effects of certain hormones. One study found that people with hidradenitis suppurativa may have lower levels of zinc in their blood than those without the condition.
In another study, a group of people with mild to moderate hidradenitis suppurativa took 90 milligrams (mg) of zinc by mouth. While taking zinc, about a third of them saw a total disappearance of their hidradenitis suppurativa skin lesions. The rest saw at least 50% fewer lesions.
However, these studies included only a small number of people. More research is needed to know whether zinc can be helpful and safe for others with hidradenitis suppurativa.
Be sure to talk to your doctor if you're considering taking zinc or any other supplements. Supplements can have side effects and affect how your body functions. They can also interact with other medications you're taking, including some antibiotics. Your doctor can help you make sure what you're taking is safe and appropriate for you.
Taken by mouth, zinc can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. And when taken in high doses, it limits your body's ability to absorb copper. Low copper levels can cause nerve issues, such as numbness and weakness in your arms and legs. The National Institutes of Health considers 40 mg of zinc a day to be the upper limit for adults who aren't taking zinc for medical reasons under the advice of a doctor.
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
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