Zinc: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

• Zinc is involved in many chemical reactions that are important for normal body functioning and it is essential for health and wellbeing.

• Although zinc supplements are traditionally used to treat deficiency, they are also used to prevent deficiency in conditions associated with low zinc status or deficiency, such as acrodermatitis enteropathica, anorexia nervosa, malabsorption syndromes, conditions associated with chronic diarrhea, alcoholism, diabetes, HIV and AIDS, recurrent infections, severe burns, Wilson’s disease and sickle cell anaemia.

• Zinc supplements are also popular among athletes in order to counteract zinc loss that occurs through perspiration.

• Zinc lozenges have been used to prevent and treat the symptoms of the common cold and oral supplements have been used to treat acnevulgaris, improve wound healing and chronic leg ulcers, resolve intestinal permeability problems and reduce recurrences in Crohn’s disease, treat recalcitrant warts, reduce symptoms of tinnitus and improve ADHD.

• Topical applications of zinc have been used to treat acnevulgaris (in combination with erythromycin), herpes simplexand to promotewound healing.

• Numerous interactions exist between other minerals, foods and medicines and zinc.

Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions

What will this supplement do for me?

Zinc is found in every cell of the body and is essential for health and wellbeing. Some studies have found that supplements are not only useful to treat and prevent deficiency, but may also be useful in conditions such as the common cold, poor wound healing and leg ulcers, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, acnevulgaris, warts, ADHD and tinnitus. Topical preparations may be useful in acnevulgaris (with erythromycin), herpes infection and chronic wounds.

When will it start to work?

This depends on the indication (refer to monograph for more details).

Are there any safety issues?

Used in high doses, zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal discomfort and if used long term, reduce copper levels. Zinc also interacts with a number of other minerals, foods and medicines.