How to treat too much zinc in your body?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to treat too much zinc in your body?”. We will further elaborate on the symptoms of zinc toxicity, and the risk factors for zinc toxicity.

How to treat too much zinc in your body?

If you suspect too much zinc in your body, contact your local poison control centre for consultation. 

You can drink a glass of milk, otherwise. Milk contains calcium and phosphorus that can help bind the excess amount of zinc in your body, preventing the stomach and intestines from absorbing zinc.

Your doctor may prescribe you a drug that helps bind the excess amount of zinc and eliminate it from the body during urination. This process is called chelation which can help prevent further damage.

If you suspect your zinc toxicity is due to taking nutritional supplements or multivitamins, consult a healthcare expert to prepare a different supplement or medication regimen.

Why do our bodies require zinc?

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a variety of functions in the human body.

It is a crucial cofactor for over 300 enzymes required for the synthesis and metabolism of nucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and other trace minerals.

Zinc helps to support cellular membranes. It is, therefore, important for the structure of cells and organs.

Zinc is required for normal growth and development throughout pregnancy, infancy and puberty, for the sense of taste and smell as well as for cell division.

Zinc is involved in DNA synthesis and genetic expression. It is also important for immunity and in healing wounds and repairing tissues.

How much zinc does our body require?

Zinc is not stored in the body, so daily intake of zinc is required to have adequate body levels. However, we should make sure to not exceed the limit. 

Around 60 per cent of the total zinc content in the body is found in skeletal muscles while 30 per cent is found in bone mass. The rest is found in the eye and fluid of the prostate and is eliminated from the body largely through the faeces.

The prescribed daily zinc consumption for an adult woman is 7 milligrams, for males is 9.5 milligrams and for children is 8.5 mg per day. The limit should not surpass 25 milligrams a day.

Symptoms of zinc toxicity 

Zinc toxicity can be both acute, which leads to short-term consequences, and chronic, which leads to long-term consequences.

Acute zinc toxicity 

In the case of acute zinc toxicity, the symptoms appear shortly after getting a large dose of zinc. These can include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Stomach pain 
  • Diarrhoea 

Chronic zinc toxicity 

In the case of chronic zinc toxicity, the symptoms appear if a person takes great levels of zinc for a long period of time. These can include:

  • Low levels of HDL or good cholesterol
  • Reduced immune activity 
  • Deficiency of copper 

People working in metallurgy, most commonly welders can develop a condition termed metal fume fever. This illness is acute and remains for a short time. It occurs when a person breathes in excessive zinc by dust or fumes. It usually only persists for about 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms of metal fume fever include:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Chills and fever
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

The person may experience these symptoms after a few hours of exposure. Though this condition is normally short-lived, doctors have no idea about the potential long term consequences of inhaling zinc dust or fumes.

What are the risk factors for zinc toxicity?

You may likely experience zinc toxicity if:

  • You are consuming too many zinc supplements or your daily diet exceeds recommended daily intake of zinc
  • You are exposed to toxic chemicals such as metal fumes, cleaners, paint, lead, varnish, industrial chemicals, solvents, rubber, and anti-rust products.

How to reduce the risk of zinc toxicity?

The risk of zinc toxicity can be significantly reduced through proper handling, use and storage of hazardous chemicals and other materials that include zinc. 

Also, you should be completely familiarised with the minimum daily requirements for zinc in your diet. 

You must know that zinc toxicity is a very serious, potentially fatal condition. Although it can be treated, it is best to avoid it through basic preventive actions.

Keep the following points in mind to lower your risk of zinc toxicity:

  • Make sure paints, varnishes, and all other chemicals are properly kept aside after every use
  • Make sure to properly store products comprising zinc
  • Limit your exposure to paints, rubber products, industrial solvents, and other chemicals that likely incorporate zinc
  • You must carefully read and follow the dosing instructions when taking vitamins and minerals comprising zinc

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “How to treat too much zinc in your body?”. We have also elaborated on the symptoms of zinc toxicity, and the risk factors for zinc toxicity.

References 

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326760#treatments
https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/food-nutrition-and-diet/zinc-poisoning
https://patient.info/doctor/zinc-deficiency-excess-and-supplementation-pro

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.