Zinc is one of the essential minerals in the body. It’s vital in chemical reactions and is necessary for growth. It also plays a part in the immune functions of the body.
You can’t overemphasize the importance of zinc in the body. However, no matter how good it is, it can have side effects. That can be shocking! But it’s true.
There are times when you may feel queasy or sick when you take the supplement. But don’t worry; we’ve got your back! This article will give you the information you need about zinc. You’ll also get tips to help you feel better when it makes you nauseous.
Why Does Zinc Make Me Nauseous?
Zinc can make you nauseous because of several reasons, but the most popular is due to toxicity. That can happen because of overdose or poisoning.
Even though zinc is essential in the body, it can become toxic if you take a high dose. That’s why you have to get a doctor’s recommendation before taking zinc supplements.
There are also food sources of zinc. Some include oysters, whole grains, red meat, fortified cereals, seafood, and poultry. It’s rare to get a high dose of zinc from food sources. Toxicity is mostly through environmental means or supplements.
The daily upper limit (UL) for zinc is 40 milligrams for adults. Anything above that is an overdose. The UL indicates the highest safe amount of a nutrient you can take per day.
Benefits Of Taking Zinc
You may wonder if zinc is worth it, especially since it makes you queasy. Well, yes! It is very beneficial to your body.
Here are some of the benefits of the mineral.
Help in the wound healing process:
Zinc is beneficial for wound healing. It helps to maintain healthy skin. It’s also useful for people with skin ulcers. They can take the supplements if they have low zinc levels.
Aids immune function:
Zinc is essential for the normal working of the immune system. That way, it helps to strengthen the body against foreign agents like bacteria and viruses. Children and older people with low zinc levels may be at risk of pneumonia and other illnesses.
Helps in treating the common cold:
Zinc syrup or lozenges is effective for treating the common cold. It can help to minimize the symptom and speed up recovery. It’s more effective when you take it within 24 hours of getting a cold.
However, consult your doctor before you use zinc for the treatment.
Other benefits are:
- It plays a part in your sense of smell and taste.
- The mineral supports and aids metabolism.
- It helps in memory improvement.
- It also minimizes some age-related diseases.
Reasons Zinc Can Make You Nauseous
Here are some reasons why zinc can make you nauseous.
Taking zinc on an empty stomach:
If you take zinc supplements on an empty stomach, it may make you nauseous. Mayo Clinic recommends taking it about one hour before a meal or two hours after a meal. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat at all when you take it.
Zinc pills are known to dissolve in one spot in the stomach and irritate the area. That may be another reason to feel uneasy when you take it on an empty stomach.
You took overdose:
You’re likely to get nauseous when you take a zinc overdose. And the fact is you’re more likely to get too much zinc from supplements than from food alone. Please, avoid high doses of zinc supplements.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), high doses are higher than 40 mg daily for adults.
Ingesting dangerous zinc products:
You can feel nauseous if you consume zinc that’s for other purposes. Some include zinc present in sunscreens, skin creams, diaper rash cream, and so on.
They may lead to zinc poisoning, which can also lead to other issues apart from nausea.
It’s best to be careful when using some ointments and creams. And be sure to keep them away from children. Additionally, ensure that your zinc supplements are for oral use.
Nausea can result from ingesting zinc chloride from some household products. Such products include cleaning chemicals, adhesives, wood finishing products, etc.
Tips To Treat And Prevent Nauseous Feeling Caused By Zinc
When you feel nauseous due to zinc overdose or other reasons, you can stop or treat it. It’s also best to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Here are tips for treating and preventing nausea caused by zinc.
Reduce your dose:
It makes sense that when you feel nauseous because of a high amount of zinc, you have to reduce your dose. Always ensure your daily intake is less than 40 mg.
Maintain food sources of zinc:
You can get zinc from food sources, so it’s great to stick to that. Natural sources of zinc can be beneficial if the supplement makes you feel uneasy. That’s because they still give you the zinc requirements you need without side effects.
It’s advisable to take zinc supplements only when your doctor recommends or prescribes them. Else, you can take whole foods, which are good sources of zinc.
Take it with a meal:
If you feel nauseous when taking zinc supplements on an empty stomach, ensure you take it with food. Only take it on an empty stomach if you get the recommendation from your doctor. But most likely, you’ll have a specified time to eat after taking it.
Other Symptoms of Zinc Overdose
When you take zinc above the upper limit of 40 mg daily, your risk for side effects also increases. Apart from making you nauseous, there are other signs and symptoms of zinc overdose. They include:
Diarrhea and abdominal pain:
Another symptom of zinc overdose is diarrhea and abdominal pain. Most times, you’ll experience them, along with nausea and vomiting. On rare occasions, high doses of zinc can lead to intestinal bleeding.
Overdose from zinc poisoning can also cause stomach pain and diarrhea. And in severe cases can lead to gastrointestinal damage.
Sometimes, you may experience flu-like symptoms when you take excess zinc supplements. Some of them include chills, fatigue, headache, fever, and cough.
Note that flu-like symptoms can also occur when you take an overdose of other minerals. Hence, it might be challenging to determine if it’s zinc toxicity. You may need to undergo blood tests to point out the specific mineral toxicity.
Consequently, your doctor may check your medical and dietary history to know if it’s a zinc overdose. So, it’s best to let your doctor know if you’re taking any supplements.
Alterations in your taste:
High doses of zinc can alter your taste ability. That can lead to metallic or bad taste as an adverse effect. It’s usually popular with zinc lozenges or liquid supplements.
Please note that you may experience a metallic taste even when you take the usual zinc dosage.
Reduction in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol:
Another symptom of zinc overdose is reducing the essential HDL cholesterol in your body.
Shortage of HDL puts you at risk of heart disease. That’s because the essential HDL cholesterol clears up cholesterol from your cells. It also prevents your arteries from clogging. So, it’s best to avoid taking zinc above the recommended levels.
Zinc overdose can also lead to copper deficiency in your body. That’s because your small intestine can’t absorb the two minerals at the same time.
A high dose of zinc in your body can prevent the absorption of copper. And that’ll lead to copper deficiency over time.
Bear in mind that copper is essential for the absorption and metabolism of iron. And that makes it possible for your body to form red blood cells. It’s also necessary for white blood cell formation. That’s why a copper deficiency can lead to some blood disorders.
The disorders associated with zinc-induced copper deficiency include neutropenia. Others are sideroblastic anemia and iron deficiency anemia.
Please don’t mix zinc supplements with copper if you experience copper deficiency.
Taking high doses of zinc can lead to frequent infections. When you take the right zinc prescription, it boosts your immune system. However, taking an overdose can slow down your immune system. And that can make you susceptible to infections.
Ways To Treat Zinc Overdose Or Poisoning
In case of zinc poisoning or overdose, call your local poison control center for advice. You can also use the following methods to treat it.
Drink a glass of milk once you suspect zinc overdose. It contains phosphorus and calcium, which will bind with surplus zinc. That’ll stop your intestine and stomach from absorbing the high dosage.
You can get rid of excess zinc from your body through chelation. It’s a process of removing a high amount of metals from the body. It’s also great for getting rid of excess metals like lead or copper.
You need to consult your doctor for treatment. You’ll need to take a drug that’ll bind the excess zinc. Then it’ll leave your body through urine.
Note that chelating can prevent your body from absorbing any metals, which can be harmful. So, ensure your doctor recommends a medication routine or supplement.
Ensure you don’t get exposed to excess zinc because of your job (for example, metalwork). In such cases, discuss safety precautions with your employer. Or ask for a role reassignment if you have zinc toxicity.
Zinc can make you nauseous if you take an overdose. It’s also possible when you take the supplement on an empty stomach. You may also experience other symptoms like diarrhea, fever, and headaches when you exceed the correct dose.
Despite the side effects of an overdose, zinc is essential to the body. But ensure you don’t exceed the recommended upper limit. Supplements are not the only source; you can eat food sources like oysters.