The maximum safe dose of zinc is only 40 mg a day! But, most zinc supplements contain higher doses per tablet. You should avoid taking higher dosages for weeks, without consulting your health care provider.
Health benefits of zinc
Zinc is essential for good health. It is required for the activity of over 100 enzymes! Actually, zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in the human body after iron. We have about 3g of zinc in our bodies.
The zinc deficiency is pretty common worldwide. It is estimated that about 2 billion people are deficient in zinc.
People having low levels of zinc can benefit most from zinc supplements.
Zinc plays a key role in the proper function of metabolism, protein synthesis, sense of taste and smell, enhancing the immune system, controlling blood sugar levels, wound healing, and protecting the skin and eyes.
Moreover, zinc is crucial for autophagy. Autophagy is a process by which cells degrade and get rid of their damaged components. Autophagy seems to prolong lifespan, fight bacteria and viruses, protect against Parkinson’s disease and certain forms of dementia.
Also, autophagy is promising for the treatment of certain cancers. Above all, fasting stimulates autophagy. A popular eating pattern is 16:8 by which people eat only for 8 hours a day, helping the body “heal itself” for the rest 16 hours! In 2016, Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize for his discoveries into the mechanisms of autophagy.[2,3]
What’s the daily recommended intake?
Men have higher demands for zinc than women. The daily recommended intake for zinc is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women.
Moreover, high amounts of zinc are lost during ejaculation. Men lose approximately 2.5 mg of zinc per ejaculation!
What’s the maximum dose of zinc I can safely take a day?
The maximum dose of zinc is 40 mg a day. Long-term higher dosages can deteriorate our health. Only people who take zinc supplements for medical treatment could receive higher doses!
As zinc has so many health benefits, people who don’t follow a well-balanced diet would probably benefit from taking zinc supplements.
Most zinc tablets contain doses of 50 mg. But, you may need only half of it a day. In this case, you better cut tablets in half.
Zinc supplements are really cheap. Here, you can compare prices on Amazon.
Always consult your physician before taking supplements, or drastically change diet.
Side effects of exceeding the daily upper dose of zinc
Above all, zinc supplements may interact with several types of medications, such as antibiotics or diuretics. Zinc may inhibit their absorption, reducing their effectiveness.
Furthermore, high daily doses of zinc may cause adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, headaches, low levels of copper, and reduced immune function!
For instance, high dosages of zinc of 60 mg a day for 10 weeks can inhibit the absorption of copper, leading to copper deficiency over time.
Moreover, according to a big study, analyzing data of over 3,500 people, high zinc doses of 80 mg a day significantly increased hospitalizations for urinary complications.
Can I exceed the maximum daily dose of zinc, eating certain foods?
Red meet and poultry are rich in zinc. Actually, they’re the main sources of zinc in the standard American diet.
A serving of beef has about 7 mg of zinc, or 64% DV (Daily Value). A serving of pork has 2.9 mg or 26% DV, while a serving of chicken has 2.4 mg of zinc or 22% DV, respectively.
But, oysters are the richest food in zinc, containing 74 mg per serving, or 673% DV. We should avoid eating them regularly.
Other common foods high in zinc are beans, seeds, and nuts. Thus, we can get more than enough zinc from plant-based sources.