If you are already eating a zinc-rich diet and meeting your dietary requirements, taking additional zinc in supplement form is not necessary. Zinc is a trace mineral, meaning that only a small amount is needed each day. You can get this essential nutrient by eating a balanced diet, but sometimes it may be necessary to take a zinc supplement. If you suspect you have a zinc deficiency, it is important to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning any supplementation.
Zinc helps heal wounds and keeps the immune system active and ready to fight off any threatening bacteria or viruses. Zinc lozenges are often used as cold remedies and are usually combined with vitamin C, while zinc supplements are suitable for those with a zinc deficiency. It is important to note that taking oral zinc while taking antibiotics or penicillamine can prevent the medications from working properly, while those taking thiazide diuretics (blood pressure medications) are more likely to lose zinc in their urine. Taking quinolone or tetracycline with zinc may make the medication less effective and prevent the body from absorbing the mineral. Zinc supplements are traditionally capsules that are swallowed whole, while zinc lozenges are essentially cough drops with zinc as the main active ingredient.
Additionally, warfarin (a prescription anticoagulant), ginkgo biloba (an herbal supplement), aspirin, and vitamin E (a supplement) can thin the blood. Some studies suggest that zinc may help slow the progression of macular degeneration when combined with other vitamins and antioxidants, although more research is needed. Many studies have shown that taking a zinc supplement can help shorten the duration of the common cold, but it also plays an important role in promoting proper growth. Zinc deficiency can occur if you don't eat enough of it, if the body doesn't absorb it well, or if it is lost through the gastrointestinal system. Zinc is found in many foods such as red meat, turkey, lamb, chicken, oysters, crab, baked beans, and fortified breakfast cereals.
However, if you have a zinc deficiency or are at risk of developing one, you could benefit from taking a supplement. It is important to remember that too much of anything can be harmful to your health. If you are already taking other types of dietary supplements, it is best to consult with your doctor before adding any additional supplements to your routine. Your doctor will be able to assess your individual needs and determine if additional supplementation is necessary.