What Are High Zinc Levels?

What Are High Zinc Levels?

Table of Contents

Zinc plays many different roles in human health, and we all need to consume a certain amount of zinc from foods or supplements. But what happens if you take an overdose of zinc, and how do you know how much zinc is too much? 

Keep reading to learn more about the side effects of too much zinc.

Functions of zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral that the human body needs in order to stay healthy. According to MedlinePlus, zinc is involved in different processes, including:

  • Cell division
  • Immune function
  • Cell growth
  • Wound healing
  • Carbohydrate metabolism

How much zinc do I need?

Since zinc is a trace mineral, you only need a small amount to fulfill your dietary allowance. According to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc is approximately 11 mg per day for men and 8 mg for women. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding require a slightly higher amount of zinc, around 11-12 mg per day.

The tolerable upper intake level for zinc is the maximum amount that your body can tolerate without harmful effects on your health. This level is approximately 40-50 mg per day for healthy adults.

Can a person take too much zinc?

Zinc is considered to be fairly harmless, especially when it’s taken orally. However, zinc can be harmful if you take excessive amounts of this mineral. Although rare, it’s still possible to develop excess zinc side effects. 

What happens if I accidentally take 100mg of zinc or more?

Zinc stays in the body in different organs, such as bones, teeth, hair, skin, liver, and muscles. But in most cases, the side effects of too much zinc are completely reversed after you stop taking zinc. So if you only take 100 mg of zinc once, this is unlikely to cause any long-term harm to your health. 

However, ingesting 100 mg of zinc per day or more for prolonged periods of time can lead to symptoms of zinc toxicity. According to the MSD Manuals, chronic zinc toxicity can lead to copper deficiency and nerve damage.

Accidental zinc poisoning can happen as a result of eating acidic foods from a zinc-coated container. This can also happen if you accidentally take an excessive amount of zinc supplements. You can also experience symptoms if you’re exposed to zinc fumes — however, these symptoms usually resolve on their own after 24-48 hours.

Symptoms of too much zinc

According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, signs and symptoms of zinc toxicity can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased immune function
  • Low HDL or “good” cholesterol
  • Impaired copper absorption

FAQ: Can you overdose on zinc?

Can taking zinc cause a rash?

A skin rash isn’t a common sign of zinc toxicity; however, rashes can be a sign of allergic reactions.

Can taking zinc cause headaches?

Taking too much zinc can lead to flu-like symptoms, which can include headaches.

Can taking zinc cause nausea?

Yes. Taking too much zinc can make you nauseated or cause you to vomit.

Can too much zinc cause constipation?

Yes, constipation can be a temporary effect of zinc toxicity.

Can too much zinc cause diarrhea?

Yes. Diarrhea can be a sign of too much zinc.

Can too much zinc cause liver damage?

Yes. In severe cases, zinc toxicity can lead to liver damage, jaundice, and liver failure. However, instances of severe zinc toxicity are extremely rare.

Does zinc make you pee more?

No. Frequent urination isn’t a common symptom of zinc poisoning. In fact, too much zinc can cause difficulty urinating in severe cases.

You can learn more about many other health topics at STDWatch.com now.


Zinc in diet - medlineplus.gov

Zinc - hsph.harvard.edu

Zinc Toxicity - msdmanuals.com

Zinc toxicity - pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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