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Taking Zinc Regularly? You could be harming yourself…

Our Master Herbalist explains how to safely and effectively harness the immune-supporting powers of zinc. 

This blog reveals:

  • The population that gets the most benefit from zinc.
  • The brief window of opportunity that zinc yields benefit. 
  • The correct dose of zinc. 
  • The potentially harmful consequence of taking zinc preventatively.

With kids going back to school, and many adults heading back to work, our immune systems could come under attack. 

This month our Master Herbalist, Stacey Littlefield, is clearing up misconceptions about popular immune-boosting supplements, and helping you understand how to use them effectively. 

Today we’re talking about an essential mineral… zinc!

The population that benefits the most from zinc...

Photo by mauro mora on Unsplash

You’ve no doubt heard about the immune-boosting benefits of zinc. 

Zinc is an amazing element that can be very helpful, but only when used safely and effectively. 

It’s known as an “essential mineral,” and it is necessary for an optimally functioning innate and adaptive immune system. 

However, we need to be very discerning when discussing just how amazing the effect on your immune system is... because many of the greatest benefits are seen when zinc is taken by malnourished children from the developing world. 

This is important because lots of these children will have severely deficient zinc levels. The difference in immune function will be markedly different once they have started to restore those zinc levels. 

You should not expect to see such extreme benefits for yourself. 

Zinc only works effectively within this small window of time and with this dosage…

Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

Many will encourage you to use zinc to shorten the duration of the common cold, and there is evidence that supports their endorsement. 

However, in order for zinc to work effectively against your cold, you must start taking it no later than 24 hours after the infection takes hold. 

You must also be sure that you are consuming at the very least 75mg of zinc per day. To put that in perspective, that’s about 1 zinc lozenge every 2 waking hours. 

If you do not follow this pattern of timing and dosage, your zinc supplement will have no affect on your cold. 

Finally, you cannot take zinc for more than 10 days at a time, or you may be putting yourself at risk...

Taking zinc preventatively or for long periods of time is potentially harmful.

Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

Why would anyone wait until they got a cold to start taking zinc? Why not just take it regularly and nip the infection in the bud?

This can lead to health problems.

Zinc and copper compete for absorption sites within the body. 

Excessive doses of zinc for a long period of time will result in a copper deficiency. Symptoms of a copper deficiency include fatigue, weakness, frequent sickness, and trouble with your memory.

So, what qualifies as an excessive dose? More than 40mg a day. 

“Hold on… you just recommended I take at least 75mg!”

Yes, but only once your cold starts and for no more than 10 days. If your symptoms stop sooner than that, stop taking zinc. 

Stacey’s Summary:

  • Those who are malnourished and deficient in zinc will receive greater benefits from taking it. 
  • Don’t take excessive doses of zinc preventatively or for long periods of time. 
  • Start taking it within the first 24 hours of your cold. 
  • Take at the very least 75mg per day. 
  • Stop taking it after 10 days, or earlier if your symptoms stop.

 

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