The Serious Risks of Overdosing on Zinc

As one of the minerals humans can’t live without, zinc is undoubtedly one of the most important nutrients out there. However, while it may have its health benefits, there are also risks associated with overdosing on zinc.

Humans need it to survive, but taking too much of it may defeat the purpose. A growing number of the population is becoming increasingly dependent on supplements for their nutritional needs. And while it may seem like there’s no harm in that, it’s very easy to consume excessive amounts when your vitamins and minerals are in pill form.



Zinc is an essential mineral required by humans in trace quantities. Without it, you won’t be able to function properly.

Zinc is involved with many bodily functions and processes. It’s a major player in countless enzymes, such as carboxypeptidase and carbonic anhydrase. It helps protect your immune system by warding off viruses and bacteria. Other than that, zinc is also important in protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, cell division and wound healing.

Because the human body is unable to store zinc, making sure you get your daily dose of this nutrient is vital. There are plenty of food sources available. You can find zinc in Alaska king crab, oysters, red meat, lobsters, poultry, nuts, whole grains, chickpeas, milk and other dairy products.

There are also breakfast cereals that come fortified with zinc. For men over 40 years of age, the recommended dietary intake sits at 14mg per day.


Much like other nutrients, it’s possible to have too low a level of zinc in your system. As stated above, the human body can’t store zinc, so it relies on outside sources for it. If you don’t have enough of this mineral, you may develop a zinc deficiency.

There are a handful of symptoms associated with zinc deficiency. For instance, your skin, hair and nails may be affected. Acne, alopecia, eczema, dry skin and seborrheic dermatitis are all possible. Other symptoms include appetite loss, diarrhoea, an impaired immune system, oral ulceration and white tongue coating. But, it doesn’t stop there. Your vision, taste and smell may also be impacted.


On the other side, you may also ingest too much zinc, resulting in a zinc toxicity. Overdosing on zinc can damage your ability to absorb copper and iron — two equally important minerals.

Excessive consumption of zinc can result in such symptoms as cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, pain and vomiting. Because zinc is a trace mineral, you don’t really require a lot of it to function normally.

All in all, there’s no denying that zinc is an integral part of our daily lives. Given that it performs several functions within the human body, you mustn’t eliminate it from your diet. However, overdosing on zinc is still a real possibility.

For this reason, you must be cautious about taking minerals in supplement form. You can just as easily get the recommended intake by maintaining a balanced diet. And if you must take supplements, talk to your doctor first.


Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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