Skip to Content

Can I take zinc everyday?

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays many important roles in the body. It is involved in immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Many people take zinc supplements on a daily basis to prevent zinc deficiency or to reduce the duration of colds. However, there are some things to consider before taking zinc supplements every day.

What are the benefits of taking zinc daily?

Here are some of the key benefits associated with taking zinc supplements on a daily basis:

– May help prevent zinc deficiency – Zinc deficiency affects about 17% of the global population. Taking a zinc supplement can help ensure you meet your daily zinc needs, preventing deficiency.

– May shorten colds – Several studies show that taking zinc lozenges or syrup within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms can reduce the duration of colds by 1-2 days. Zinc has antiviral effects.

– May support immune function – Zinc plays a role in the development and function of various immune cells. Supplementing with zinc on a daily basis may enhance immune function.

– May promote wound healing – Zinc assists in tissue growth and repair. Getting enough zinc from supplements may help wounds heal more efficiently.

– May help treat acne – Evidence links zinc deficiency with acne. Oral zinc supplements may help treat acne lesions.

– May lower risk of age-related macular degeneration – Getting sufficient zinc from supplements may help lower the risk of developing this common eye disease.

– May decrease incidence of infections in the elderly – Older adults taking zinc supplements may have fewer infections like pneumonia and the common cold.

So in summary, daily zinc intake may prevent deficiency, shorten colds, support immunity, promote healing, improve skin and eye health, and reduce infections.

What are the side effects of too much zinc?

Although zinc is generally safe when consumed in the recommended daily amounts, getting too much can cause some adverse effects including:

– Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
– Headaches
– Loss of appetite
– Abdominal cramps
– Metallic taste
– Low copper status

Taking very high doses over 150 mg/day long-term may also interfere with the absorption of other minerals like iron and copper. Too much zinc can even be fatal.

Therefore, it’s important not to exceed the tolerable upper intake level (UL) which is 40 mg per day for adults.

Some signs you may be getting too much zinc include nausea, diarrhea, metallic taste, and nerve damage. If you experience any of these, stop supplementing with zinc.

How much zinc should I take per day?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc is:

– Infants under 6 months – 2 mg
– Infants 7-12 months – 3 mg
– Children 1-3 years – 3 mg
– Children 4-8 years – 5 mg
– Children 9-13 years – 8 mg
– Males 14+ years – 11 mg
– Females 14+ years – 8 mg
– Pregnant females 14-18 years – 12 mg
– Pregnant females 19+ years – 11 mg
– Breastfeeding females 14-18 years – 13 mg
– Breastfeeding females 19+ years – 12 mg

So most adults need about 8-11 mg of zinc per day to meet their needs. This can be obtained from both foods and supplements.

Getting no more than 40 mg per day from supplements is considered safe for most healthy individuals without medical supervision.

What foods contain zinc?

Here are some of the best food sources of zinc:

Food Serving Zinc (mg)
Oysters 6 medium oysters 74 mg
Beef 100g 12 mg
Crab 100g 7.6 mg
Lobster 100g 7.3 mg
Baked beans 1/2 cup 3.8 mg
Yogurt 1 cup 1.7 mg
Oatmeal 1 cup cooked 1.1 mg
Milk 1 cup 1 mg
Egg 1 large 0.6 mg

As you can see, foods like oysters, red meat, beans, yogurt, and oatmeal are great sources of zinc. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of these zinc-rich foods can help meet your daily needs.

Can I get too much zinc from food?

It’s very rare to get excessive zinc from food sources alone. Only those eating very large amounts of oysters, red meat, and other zinc-rich foods on a daily basis are at risk of getting too much zinc from their diet.

Eating a normal balanced diet that includes recommended servings of these zinc foods poses no risk of zinc toxicity.

So getting zinc from regular food sources like oysters, beef, beans, nuts, dairy, grains, and eggs is perfectly safe. But keep supplemental zinc to 40 mg or less per day unless supervised by a doctor.

Should I take zinc with food?

It’s generally best to take zinc supplements with food to minimize side effects. Taking zinc supplements on an empty stomach may irritate the lining of your stomach and cause nausea, vomiting, cramps, and other issues.

Taking your daily zinc pill with a meal allows the zinc to be absorbed along with other nutrients in your food, which buffers its effects.

If taking zinc on an empty stomach causes gastrointestinal distress, try switching to taking it with a meal or snack to see if you tolerate it better.

Can I take zinc long term?

There appears to be little risk associated with taking zinc supplements long term, as long as intake is within the safe upper limit of 40 mg per day.

No strong evidence demonstrates harm from prolonged daily zinc intake at suggested supplement levels.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind with long-term zinc supplementation:

– Don’t exceed 40 mg per day unless supervised by a doctor
– Monitor for copper deficiency symptoms like anemia
– Take periodic breaks from zinc supplements
– Get blood zinc levels tested occasionally

Periodic breaks from zinc supplements can help prevent reductions in copper absorption that may occur with high zinc intake over many months or years.

Overall, moderate zinc supplementation is likely safe for extended periods of time for most people. But periodic monitoring of health parameters is a wise precaution.

When should I take zinc?

The optimal time to take your daily zinc supplement depends on why you are taking it:

– For immune support – Take zinc supplements regularly, even daily. Zinc supports immune cell function.

– For cold treatment – Take zinc lozenges or syrups immediately at the first signs of a cold. Taking it consistently may reduce duration.

– For wound healing – Take a zinc supplement daily or twice daily to ensure sufficient zinc levels.

– For acne – Take zinc once or twice daily. Zinc supplementation for 1-2 months may improve acne.

Morning or night?

For general immune support and other health benefits, the time of day is not too important. Pick the time that works best for you.

However, be aware that zinc can cause nausea or stomach upset, especially when taken on an empty stomach. Taking your zinc with a meal may help minimize this problem.

So for example, if you choose to take zinc at breakfast or dinner, have it with the meal. If you prefer mid-day, take it with lunch.

Can I take too much zinc in a supplement?

Yes, it’s possible to take too much zinc in a supplement, especially long-term. Here are the risks of getting excessive zinc from supplements:

– More than 40 mg per day long-term may cause copper deficiency, impaired immunity, low HDL cholesterol, and reduced bone density.

– Acute zinc toxicity may occur above 150 mg per day, with symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, fever, and lethargy.

– Extremely high single or multiple doses above 300 mg have been fatal.

So avoid zinc supplements above 40 mg per day unless supervised by a doctor. Look for supplements containing no more than 30 mg of zinc for daily preventive use.

Also, follow the warning label not to exceed the recommended dose on any zinc supplement product.

Can zinc supplements hurt your stomach?

Yes, zinc supplements, especially when taken on an empty stomach, can sometimes cause:

– Nausea
– Abdominal pain
– Diarrhea
– Vomiting

These gastrointestinal symptoms are more likely with high zinc doses above 50 mg per day.

But lower doses may also provoke stomach upset in sensitive people.

Taking zinc supplements with food helps minimize stomach irritation. If nausea or diarrhea occurs, try a lower dose.

Certain forms like zinc picolinate, amino acid chelates, or zinc acetate may be better tolerated than other forms like zinc gluconate.

See your doctor if zinc stomach issues are severe or persistent.

Do zinc supplements interact with medications?

Zinc supplements can potentially interact with certain antibiotics like quinolones and tetracyclines if taken at the same time. Zinc may reduce their absorption and effectiveness.

To avoid this interaction, space your zinc supplement and antibiotic doses several hours apart. For example, take the antibiotic with breakfast and zinc with dinner.

Zinc can also reduce absorption of medications used to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol like ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and statins. Separate your zinc dose from any medications by 2-3 hours.

High zinc doses may also reduce the efficacy of diuretics, antacids, and iron supplements.

Speak with your pharmacist regarding any potential zinc interactions with medications you take. Your doctor may recommend stopping zinc supplements temporarily during a course of antibiotics.


Daily zinc supplementation within recommended upper limits is likely safe for most healthy adults when used properly. Moderate zinc intake around 15-40 mg per day may provide benefits for immunity, skin, eye health, and more.

However, chronically exceeding the tolerable upper intake level of 40 mg per day can come with risks of low copper, reduced immunity, and interference with medication absorption.

Get your zinc from food sources whenever possible, and avoid excessive supplemental doses above 40 mg unless supervised. Also, take zinc supplements with food to minimize stomach upset.

With appropriate zinc intake levels, getting enough zinc daily can be a healthy lifelong practice with more benefits than drawbacks for most people. But periodic monitoring and zinc dosage adjustments may be prudent for long-term use.