We all know that zinc is good for us. Our bodies need zinc to do a lot of things, including metabolism and growth, DNA synthesis, and it also reduces the inflammation and the risk of getting diseases related to your age.
That said, too much zinc can be bad for your body too. Here’s what may happen to you if you consume too much zinc. If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, you should go see a doctor before you stop consuming zinc. There may be other reasons why you’re feeling these symptoms that only a medical professional will be able to diagnose.
7. You May Feel Abdominal Pain and Diarrhea
People that have consumed too much zinc may experience symptoms of diarrhea and abdominal pain on many occasions.
The effects of diarrhea could be very uncomfortable, as you can probably guess. But in addition, people who suffer from it become quickly dehydrated when they are sick. Moreover, you might start feeling abdominal pain for no apparent reason.
6. You May Feel Symptoms of the Flu
Consuming too much zinc could lead someone to experience flu-like symptoms. These symptoms may include fever, nausea, coughing, and vomiting. Additionally, studies show that 40% of individuals who consumed too much zinc suffered from colds.
The foods with high zinc levels include fortified cereals and meat, which, when consumed regularly, results in cold and flu symptoms. Therefore, it’s recommended to reduce the amount of zinc intake during flu seasons.
This is because increased zinc intake in these seasons may increase the flu-like effects, making the symptoms more pronounced and leading to sickness.
5. Your Body May Suffer From Copper Insufficiency
When you consume excessive zinc, the high levels in the body may decrease your body’s ability to absorb copper. As a result, the body becomes deficient in copper, which is essential in creating red blood cells.
Moreover, copper plays a vital role in the absorption of iron and metabolism, which is necessary to form red and white blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for the transportation of oxygen, while white blood cells are essential for the body’s immunity.
The low levels of copper could result in anemia, which inhibits the levels of energy concentrations in the body and the ability to breathe properly. Furthermore, when the body becomes deprived of sufficient amounts of copper, you’re more likely to suffer from numbness and pains in the limbs.
4. Zinc Consumption and Antibiotics
The intake of oral zinc supplements could lower the ability of certain antibiotics to fight illnesses in the body. For this reason, experts advise you to take quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics several hours following the intake of zinc supplements to reduce the effect.
So if you’re taking zinc supplements, you should try to wait a few hours before taking your antibiotics. On the other hand, you can stop taking your zinc supplements to allow the antibiotics to fight illnesses as required, keeping the body safe.
3. You May Suffer from a Deficiency of HDL Cholesterol
Believe it or not, there’s good cholesterol like HDL cholesterol. The risk of heart disease can be lowered by sufficient amounts of good HDL cholesterol in the body.
This happens when cholesterol is cleared from the body cells, which prevents the accumulation of plaque that clogs the arteries.
For this reason, experts recommend that adults have a minimum of 40 mg/DL of HDL because levels below this increase the risk of suffering from heart problems.
Unfortunately, studies reveal that an intake of zinc supplements above 50 mg every day results in decreased good HDL cholesterol levels in the body. At the same time, this does not affect the levels of bad LDL cholesterol.
Moreover, consuming around 30 mg of zinc every day, below the zinc Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), does not affect HDL levels when consumed for 14 weeks in a row. Therefore, to lower the risk of suffering from heart disease, it’s recommended to check the amounts of zinc you consume daily, whether it’s from supplements or food.Related: 5 Side Effects of Eating Too Much Oatmeal
2. Your Taste May Start to Change
The zinc mineral is essential for taste ability. The deficiency of this mineral in the body could result in something called hypogeusia, which is a condition characterized by taste ability dysfunction.
On the other hand, if zinc is consumed above the recommended amounts, it causes alterations in taste, including a metallic or bad taste in the mouth.
We know this because of some studies on both zinc tablets and liquid supplements. These supplements are used to treat the common cold. During these studies, people were given zinc doses of above 40 mg, and the results proved to be unfavorable in terms of taste. The same people ended up with a bad taste in their mouths before consuming zinc.
Additionally, the results included distortions in the taste when 25 mg of dissolved zinc tablets in their mouth within the next two hours. Moreover, metallic tastes were reported in people who consumed liquid zinc supplements, implying that consuming these supplements or zinc pills could alter the flavor in the mouth.
1. You May Start to Get Infections More Frequently
Consuming excessive zinc supplements results in an inadequate immune response from your body, putting you at a higher risk of contracting infections.
As a result, you’re more likely to suffer from neutropenia and anemia more frequently, as we previously mentioned. Studies show that consuming too much zinc lowers the functionality of T cells, which are certain types of white blood cells. These cells play a vital role in immune response in the body by destroying disease-causing pathogens.
For instance, studies suggest that consuming 150 mg of zinc every day for six weeks results in a low immune response in most people’s bodies. This inadequate response happens more frequently in older adults who take 110 mg of zinc supplements three times a day for about one month.
However, while consuming these amounts of zinc supplements causes a low immune response in some people, there are also instances where it enhances the immunity in others. That said, the general rule is that consuming zinc supplements beyond the recommended Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) may reduce immunity and put the body at risk of contracting diseases.Related: 12 Ways Sleeping Too Much May Be Linked to Poor Health