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Zinc is an essential trace mineral the body needs to carry out normal functions, like blood clotting, wound healing, immune functions, senses of taste and smell, and thyroid functions. It is found in poultry products, red meat, and fish. Zinc is present throughout the body but isn’t stored anywhere, so it must be supplied constantly from your diet. 

People usually take zinc supplements for zinc deficiency and when treating diarrhoea or Wilson disease. The supplement is available in tablet form, mouth rinses, gels, lotions, ointments and IV form, and it is also used to promote blood sugar management and insulin secretion, improve skin health, and treat skin conditions like acne.

Many zinc supplements are available, including zinc sulphate, zinc gluconate, zinc acetate, zinc citrate, zinc picolinate, and zinc orotate. 

The common symptoms of zinc deficiency in healthy people include hair loss, eye and skin problems, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, and delayed sexual development in adolescents. So, if you have these symptoms, consult a doctor to know if you need to take the supplement. 

Dosage 

The amount of zinc you need daily depends on your dietary supply and the zinc supplement you use. These supplements contain different amounts of elemental zinc, so they are not 100% made from zinc; they also have other inactive ingredients. Still, the amounts are usually stated on the label. 

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of zinc for adult females 18 years of age is 9 mg, and for 19 years and above, it is 8 mg. For adult males, it is 11 mg.

For pregnant women, the RDA is 13 mg if they are 18 years old and 11 mg for those who are 19 years and older. Breastfeeding females who are 18 should take 17 mg per day, while those 19 years and older should take 12 mg per day. 

The dosage for children also depends on their age, but it is usually from 2 to 6 mg. You can quickly get these RDAs from a healthy diet, including seafood, meat, nuts, legumes, seeds, etc. However, supplements are helpful when zinc cannot be obtained from diet. 

Higher doses of zinc may be needed to treat conditions like diarrhoea, acne, and respiratory infections. Still, it is best not to exceed 40 mg daily due to the side effects associated with excess zinc consumption.

Side Effects of Zinc Supplement

Excessive intake of zinc can cause vomiting, stomach pain, and many other problems. 

A single dose of zinc as high as 10 to 30 grams can be fatal, but a maximum daily dose of 40 mg is considered safe. Also, using zinc on broken skin may cause itching, burning, and tingling. 

Precautions

Zinc is unsafe when inhaled through the nose; it may cause permanent loss of smell. Follow the dosage and recommendations of your healthcare provider strictly, and consult a doctor before using the supplement if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, using other medications, or have a health condition.

Food supplements do not replace a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

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