Don't Take TOO Much Zinc

Almost everyone is concerned about their immune health right now. We’ve been dealing with the pandemic for nearly two years and on top of that we still have cold and flu season to deal with. One of the few silver linings of the past couple years has been the raised awareness of nutrition for maintaining and promoting health. Many people are taking immune supporting supplements such as vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc. That last mineral is the topic of this blog.

A Crucial Nutrient During The Pandemic

Many hospitals and universities have been using and studying zinc to combat the pandemic. This is a great thing because zinc is crucial for the development and function of cells regulating innate immunity including Natural Killer cells which play a vital role in clearing virally infected cells from the body.

Zinc also functions as an antioxidant and stabilizes cell membranes suggesting that it has a role in the prevention of free radical-induced injury during inflammatory processes. It’s incredible to have a nutrient that not only helps you fight infections, but also helps protect you from the damage that occurs when your immune system is blasting away at pathogens. But how much zinc should you take?

Healthcare professionals are often recommending much higher doses than the FDA’s recommended daily allowance of 11 mg for adults. Keep in mind, this RDA, like all RDAs, is the required amount of zinc to prevent a deficiency, and not enough to address and correct a deficiency. During the pandemic, dosage protocols have ranged from 50 to 100 mg daily over the course of several weeks. While this therapeutic dose of zinc is needed for short term blood saturation in order to prevent or treat an infection, it’s a bad idea to take that much zinc on a continuous basis. Here’s why…

The Zinc & Copper Connection

Have you been taking lots of zinc for a while and now you’re feeling a bit lethargic? Your high zinc intake might be throwing your copper levels off. Copper is an important trace mineral used by the body for energy production. In addition, copper supports the structure and function of the central nervous system and skeletal and vascular tissues, and assists in the metabolism of catecholamines.

The problem is that dietary zinc and zinc supplementation compete with copper for absorption in the gut, leading to hypocupremia and increased fecal loss of copper. Basically, high zinc intake kicks copper out of your body before you can absorb and utilize it. Several studies have investigated the relationship between zinc intake and copper levels. In those studies, the amount of zinc and the length of time taken were analyzed. A daily intake of 60 mg of zinc for 10 weeks (well above the RDA) was associated with a decrease in copper levels.

You Need Both

Additional studies indicate copper supplementation along with zinc helps balance absorption of both nutrients. In fact, many alternative and integrative practitioners recommend a ratio of 15 mg of zinc to 1 mg of copper – similar to the ratio achieved if you remain within RDA guidelines. This balance is important because these two minerals sometimes team together for important biological processes. Along with zinc, copper is a component of superoxide dismutase (SOD), an important antioxidant enzyme utilized by the immune system.

The Zinc In Amplified Immunity

Although copper deficiency is rare, it can result from high levels of zinc intake because of a decreased ability to absorb and use copper from the diet. This deficiency can cause chronic fatigue and interfere with several important processes and systems in the body. However, it’s still really important to make sure your zinc levels are where they need to be in order to keep your immune function at an optimal level. That’s why Amplified Immunity contains 20 mg of zinc per capsule. This dose is high enough to address any underlying deficiencies and low enough as to not interfere with copper levels in the body.