Health Facts PlusDrug Information: Zinc Supplements (Systemic)
Zinc supplements are used to prevent or treat zinc deficiency. The body needs zinc for normal growth and health. For patients who are unable to get enough zinc in their regular diet or who have a need for more zinc, zinc supplements may be necessary. They are generally taken by mouth but some patients may have to receive them by injection.Zinc supplements may be used for other conditions as determined by your health care professional.Lack of zinc may lead to poor night vision and wound-healing, a decrease in sense of taste and smell, a reduced ability to fight infections, and poor development of reproductive organs.Some conditions may increase your need for zinc. These include: Acrodermatitis enteropathica (a lack of absorption of zinc from the intestine)
In addition, premature infants may need additional zinc.Increased need for zinc should be determined by your health care professional. Claims that zinc is effective in preventing vision loss in the elderly have not been proven. Zinc has not been proven effective in the treatment of porphyria.Injectable zinc is given by or under the supervision of a health care professional. Other forms of zinc are available without a prescription.Zinc supplements are available in the following dosage forms: Oral
For good health, it is important that you eat a balanced and varied diet. Follow carefully any diet program your health care professional may recommend. For your specific dietary vitamin and/or mineral needs, ask your health care professional for a list of appropriate foods. If you think that you are not getting enough vitamins and/or minerals in your diet, you may choose to take a dietary supplement.Zinc is found in various foods, including lean red meats, seafood (especially herring and oysters), peas, and beans. Zinc is also found in whole grains; however, large amounts of whole-grains have been found to decrease the amount of zinc that is absorbed. Additional zinc may be added to the diet through treated (galvanized) cookware. Foods stored in uncoated tin cans may cause less zinc to be available for absorption from food.The daily amount of zinc needed is defined in several different ways. For U.S.—
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) are the amount of vitamins and minerals needed to provide for adequate nutrition in most healthy persons. RDAs for a given nutrient may vary depending on a person''s age, sex, and physical condition (e.g., pregnancy).
Daily Values (DVs) are used on food and dietary supplement labels to indicate the percent of the recommended daily amount of each nutrient that a serving provides. DV replaces the previous designation of United States Recommended Daily Allowances (USRDAs).
Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNIs) are used to determine the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and protein needed to provide adequate nutrition and lessen the risk of chronic disease.
Normal daily recommended intakes in milligrams (mg) for zinc are generally defined as follows:
Infants and children Birth to 3 years of age5–102–4
Before Using This MedicineReturn to top
If you are taking this dietary supplement without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For zinc supplements, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy—It is especially important that you are receiving enough vitamins and minerals when you become pregnant and that you continue to receive the right amount of vitamins and minerals throughout your pregnancy. The healthy growth and development of the fetus depend on a steady supply of nutrients from the mother. There is evidence that low blood levels of zinc may lead to problems in pregnancy or defects in the baby. However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement in pregnancy may be harmful to the mother and/or fetus and should be avoided.
Breast-feeding—It is important that you receive the right amounts of vitamins and minerals so that your baby will also get the vitamins and minerals needed to grow properly. However, taking large amounts of a dietary supplement while breast-feeding may be harmful to the mother and/or baby and should be avoided.
Children—Problems in children have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts.
Older adults—Problems in older adults have not been reported with intake of normal daily recommended amounts. There is some evidence that the elderly may be at risk of becoming deficient in zinc due to poor food selection, decreased absorption of zinc by the body, or medicines that decrease absorption of zinc or increase loss of zinc from the body.
Other medicines—Medicines or other dietary supplementsAlthough certain medicines or dietary supplements should not be used together at all, in other cases they may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your health care professional may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking zinc supplements, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following: Copper supplements or
Tetracycline (medicine for infection)—Use with zinc supplements may cause these copper supplements or tetracycline to be less effective; zinc supplements should be given at least 2 hours after copper supplements, or tetracycline
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of zinc supplements. Make sure you tell your health care professional if you have any other medical problems, especially: Copper deficiency—Zinc supplements may make this condition worse
Proper Use of This MedicineReturn to top
Dosing—The amount of zinc needed to meet normal daily recommended intakes will be different for different individuals. The following information includes only the average amounts of zinc. For oral dosage form (capsules, lozenges, tablets, extended-release tablets): To prevent deficiency, the amount taken by mouth is based on normal daily recommended intakes (Note that the normal daily recommended intakes are expressed as an actual amount of zinc. The dosage form [e.g., zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate] has a different strength): For the U.S.
Adult and teenage males—15 milligrams (mg) per day.
Adult and teenage females—12 mg per day.
Breast-feeding females—16 to 19 mg per day.
Children 4 to 10 years of age—10 mg per day.
Children birth to 3 years of age—5 to 10 mg per day.
Adult and teenage males—9 to 12 mg per day.
Adult and teenage females—9 mg per day.
Children 7 to 10 years of age—7 to 9 mg per day.
Children 4 to 6 years of age—5 mg per day.
Children birth to 3 years of age—2 to 4 mg per day.
To treat deficiency: Adults, teenagers, and children—Treatment dose is determined by prescriber for each individual based on severity of deficiency.
Zinc supplements are most effective if they are taken at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. However, if zinc supplements cause stomach upset, they may be taken with a meal. You should tell your health care professional if you are taking your zinc supplement with meals.Missed dose—If you miss taking zinc supplements for one or more days there is no cause for concern, since it takes some time for your body to become seriously low in zinc. However, if your health care professional has recommended that you take zinc, try to remember to take it as directed every day.Storage—To store this dietary supplement: Keep out of the reach of children.
Store away from heat and direct light.
Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the dietary supplement to break down.
Keep the dietary supplement from freezing. Do not refrigerate.
Do not keep outdated dietary supplements or those no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded dietary supplement is out of the reach of children.
Precautions While Using This MedicineReturn to top
When zinc combines with certain foods it may not be absorbed into your body and it will do you no good. If you are taking zinc, the following foods should be avoided or taken 2 hours after you take zinc: Bran
Phosphorus-containing foods such as milk or poultry
Do not take zinc supplements and copper, iron, or phosphorus supplements at the same time. It is best to space doses of these products 2 hours apart, to get the full benefit from each dietary supplement.Side Effects of This MedicineReturn to top
Side Effects of This Dietary Supplement
Along with its needed effects, a dietary supplement may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your health care professional as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
continuing ulcers or sores in mouth or throat ;
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some individuals. If you notice any other effects, check with your health care professional.
Once a medicine or dietary supplement has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although this use is not included in product labeling, zinc supplements are used in certain patients with the following medical condition: Wilson''s disease (a disease of too much copper in the body)
Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for this use.
Some commonly used brand names are: In the U.S.— Orazinc3Verazinc4Zinc-2204Zinc 154Zinca-Pak4Zincate4
For quick reference, the following zinc supplements are numbered to match the corresponding brand names.
This information applies to the following:1.
Zinc Gluconate and Zinc Sulfate (zink GLOO-coh-nate)‡
Generic name product may be available in the U.S.§
Generic name product may be available in Canada*
Not commercially available in the U.S.†
Copper absorption inhibitor -- Zinc Chloride; Zinc Gluconate; Zinc SulfateNutritional supplement, mineral --Zinc Chloride; Zinc Gluconate; Zinc SulfateRevised: 09/08/2000
Copyright 2006 Thomson Healthcare. All rights reserved. USP DI and Advice for the Patient
are registered trademarks of USP used under license to Thomson MICROMEDEX. Information is for End User''s use
only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.
Other ResourcesCopyright Privacy Accessibility Quality Guidelines U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894 National Institutes of Health Department of Health & Human Services