Zinc supplements, when used improperly, have extremely dangerous side effects. Zinc is a tricky vitamin because it is vital to your health and well being, but it is also detrimental if it is over-used or under-used. The recommended daily zinc requirement is 8 mg for adult women and 11 mg for adult men. Whether your zinc intake is provided by the foods you eat or the vitamins you take, there is such a thing as too much zinc.
How Much Is Too Much Zinc?
In order to achieve 8 mg or 11 mg of zinc per day, you actually need to consume more than that because your body absorbs approximately 20%-40% of the zinc it digests. It is safe to take zinc supplements with an approximate 40 mg - 50 mg zinc content on a daily basis. Do not exceed that amount unless you have consulted a physician! If you consume 100 mg - 500 mg per day, you will experience serious side effects. The longer you "overdose" on zinc, the worse your side effects will be.
Zinc Supplement Side Effects
The problem with consuming too much zinc is that, while the proper amount of zinc aids your metabolism, too much zinc actually prohibits your metabolism from absorbing the other vitamins and minerals your body needs. It seems unfair, but too much zinc can actually cancel out your smart nutritional choices and block your body from reaping the benefits. The most important vitamins and minerals that will not metabolize when you have too much zinc in your system are iron, copper, and magnesium. Zinc toxicity also lowers your body's immunity and good cholesterol levels.
While a lot of people consume and absorb the proper amount of zinc without ever trying, even more people are unaware that they are suffering from a zinc deficiency. Whether or not you are zinc deficient, you have definitely displayed the symptoms at some point in your life because they are rather ambiguous. Some signs that you might need more zinc include:
- white spots or bands under your fingernails
- reduced sense of taste or smell
If you think you might be zinc deficient or if you are a vegetarian, it is important to consult a doctor to decide if you should use zinc supplements. Fish oil supplements are also a good alternative to zinc supplements because they contain zinc in addition to other essential vitamins and minerals and their fatty animal proteins promote your body's zinc absorption.
Benefits of Proper Zinc Dosage
Once you begin using zinc supplements, some of the benefits you will notice are:
- more energy
- healthy skin
- better night vision
- better digestion
- thicker, stronger hair and healthy nails
The dangers involved with zinc supplements are easy to avoid as long as you monitor your intake. Developing a toxic level of zinc in your system takes time, so take a moment to evaluate your intake and decide whether or not you are in danger. Zinc is essential to your mind, body, and health, so no matter how you get your zinc, do not forget that without it, you probably would not have made it out of bed this morning!