Zinc is an important mineral involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in the human body.

It is needed for growth, the building of DNA and normal taste perception. It also supports wound healing, immune function and reproductive and sexual health.

The main sources of zinc are oysters, red meat, whole grains. Even though some foods are exceptionally rich in zinc, it is almost impossible to get zinc poisoning from food.

Zinc poisoning occurs from:

  • Ingesting vitamin supplements that contain too much zinc.
  • Ingesting zinc accidentally with some household products.
  • People working with metals i.e. metallurgy, jewellery production.

The symptoms of zinc poisoning may be acute – require attending to the emergency department of the nearest hospital. The serious symptoms of zinc poisoning are:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Flu-like symptoms

Acute or significant zinc poisoning happens very rarely. The most common poisoning with zinc happen subtly, slowly and is not apparent at first.

The symptoms of slow, sub-clinical zinc poisoning are:

  • Low HDL or ‘Good” cholesterol. Good cholesterol protects your body from bad cholesterol that causes heart and blood vessel disease called atherosclerosis. 
  • Changes in taste. Sometimes, metallic taste in your mouth.
  • Low immunity that results in frequent cold and flu-like infections and urinary tract infections. Even though zinc is responsible for the immune system, too much zinc results in a low immune response.
  • Copper deficiency. Zinc and Copper compete with each other in the human body. If there is too much Zinc – there will be less Copper. This may result in iron deficiency because Copper plays role in the transport of iron around the body. Copper deficiency may also result in quite serious blood disorders.

Zinc toxicity is very easy to identify by a simple blood test.