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Can you have too much zinc?

Uncategorized Oct 10, 2020

People who are highly stressed and worn-out, will often have worn-out immune systems as well. The more stressed you are, the more your immune response becomes down-regulated, causing you to be more prone to picking up viral infections and/or chronic bacterial infections.

If I asked 100 people what the top immune-boosting nutrients are, I’m sure zinc would be high up there! And quite rightly, zinc is essential for a healthy immune system.

But here’s the thing…I see way too often people mega-dosing (or using zinc long-term) to boost their immune system (especially since the Rona!), or because they read it was a good thing to supplement with. 

But did you know zinc can drag down copper levels? Copper is usually considered a ‘bad’ or ‘toxic’ mineral, but it is essential in small amounts to keep our body functioning well. It helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, AND…wait for it…immune function!

When you supplement with too much zinc - or for too long - it can lead to a copper deficiency, which can then lead to issues such as fatigue, weakness and…wait for it…chronic infections!

Am I saying you should all stop supplementing with zinc right now? No, not entirely, but maybe, it depends on the person. What I would recommend is that you have a think about if you even need to take zinc (maybe your diet sources are enough?), or any other single nutrient, as many nutrients will compete for absorption with other nutrients. Is your supplementation based on any testing or professional advice? Or are you willy nilly taking things trying to address your health issues or ‘prevent’ illness?

Our motto: testing is always best! The pic below is of a mineral blood test panel that we run in our clinic. You can see copper is very low, which is likely because of prolonged zinc supplementation.

Author: Filipa Bellette, Functional Medicine Practitioner & Clinical Nutritionist 

Chris & Filly Functional Medicine

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