Supplement warning: Zinc toxicity may lead ‘to low levels of LDL or good cholesterol’

Supplement warning: Zinc toxicity may lead ‘to low levels of LDL or good cholesterol’

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Many supplements should come with a warning due to their adverse effect when over supplementation occurs. Consuming over the guideline allowance is known to cause a number of health conditions.

Zinc is a mineral that plays a vital role in many biological processes and plays an important role in insulin action and carbohydrate metabolism.

It may also have a protective role in the prevention of atherogenesis.

Although consequences of zinc deficiency have been recognised for many years, it is only recently that attention has been directed to the potential consequences of excessive zinc intake.

Zinc toxicity may occur when ingesting more than 200 mg/day.

According to Patient Info, zinc toxicity may be acute or chronic.

Prolonged intake of zinc ranging from 50-150 mg/day can lead to reduced iron function, red blood cell microcytosis, neutropenia and reduced immune function.

Worrying, excessive zinc can also affect cardiac function which could lead to heart failure.

“If a person takes high levels of zinc over a long period, they can experience chronic zinc toxicity, which may lead to the following low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol,” warned Medical News Today.

In a study published in the National Library of Health, zinc toxicity was further analysed.

The study found that zinc is considered to be relatively nontoxic, particularly if taken orally.

However, manifestations of overt toxicity symptoms will occur with extremely high zinc intakes.

At low intakes, but at amounts well in excess of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), evidence of induced copper deficiency with attendant symptoms of anaemia and neutropenia, as well as impaired immune function and adverse effects on the ratio of low-density-lipoprotein to high-density-lipoprotein (LDL/HDL) cholesterol have been reported.

Even lower levels of zinc supplementation, closer in amount to the RDA, have been suggested to interfere with the utilisation of copper and iron and to adversely affect HDL cholesterol concentrations.

“Individuals using zinc supplements should be aware of the possible complications attendant to their use,” noted the study.

Patient Info also warned excessive zinc may also lead to a number of ailments including:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Gastric irritation
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Anaemia
  • Dizziness.

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