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Zinc Overdose: Symptoms and Treatment

Zinc Overdose: Symptoms and Treatment

Zinc is an essential mineral needed by our body. However, excess of zinc is deleterious. To know what the symptoms of zinc overdose are, continue reading...
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: May 4, 2018
Zinc is one of the several minerals that is needed by the body in order to function smoothly. It is needed for strengthening the immune system, repairing the skin after being inflicted by wounds, cell reproduction, and the production of about 300 essential enzymes. About 9 to 11 milligrams of zinc is the daily recommended intake value, in adults. However, as only 30% of the zinc is absorbed by the body, it might become necessary to take some supplements, in order to avoid a deficiency. While taking these supplements, care needs to be taken so that one does not end up with a zinc overdose. It is recommended that you visit your physician, if you show any of the following symptoms.
Symptoms
When the consumption of zinc exceeds 40 milligrams, it becomes an overdose, which is harmful for the human body. A zinc overdose reduces the levels of the other essential minerals, like copper and iron from our body, and also decreases other enzymes in the body thereby reducing immunity. Hence, an overdose of zinc is harmful. Too much of zinc gives a metallic taste in mouth. The other symptoms are chills and high fever. When all these three symptoms start showing together, visit a doctor, to avoid complications. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, cough, stomach pain, and severe irritation in the throat. Some people may also suffer from yellowing of eyes and skin. Nausea accompanied with dizziness, weakness, and indigestion are the other common symptoms of zinc overdose.
However, if a person has been taking excessive doses of zinc for a long time, it becomes a chronic overdose. This overdose is apparent, as the immune system of the person weakens. Other zinc side effects are anemia, which happens usually in children, and the lowering of HDL, which is the good cholesterol, in the body. If taken for a long time, it leads to the loss of smell, as too much of zinc damages the nerve receptor in the nose. Let us now look at how these symptoms are to be handled, and what kind of treatment is to be administered to the person suffering from an overdose.
Diagnosis
If a person shows any of the above symptoms, it is necessary to seek immediate medical treatment. Zinc overdose is diagnosed with the help of a blood test. The physician might ask the person to get a number of other tests done too, based on the first hand information given by the person. Other than that, the doctor will also take into consideration, type of medication or supplements taken, the time when it was taken, amount taken, and the duration for which the medication or supplements were taken. Based on all this information, the doctor will decide the course of treatment.
Treatment
When a person shows zinc overdose symptoms, the first thing to do, at home, is to give the person some water or milk. If the skin shows signs of overdose, wash the skin with cold water. Call the doctor in the mean time. This condition is usually dealt with by treating the symptoms and regulating dietary zinc intake. Additionally, the doctor may advise rest and plenty of fluids to flush out excess zinc. The person will start feeling better as the symptoms withdraw and the consumption of zinc is monitored.
I hope this article has helped you understand symptoms of this condition and the treatment to be administered. As mentioned earlier, due to the low absorption of zinc by the body, you might need to take zinc supplements or foods high in zinc. And it is necessary to include foods with zinc in the diet to help the body carry out its functions well and to avoid the symptoms of zinc deficiency. However, ensure that you do not exceed the normal dosage, in order to avoid an overdose.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.