Zinc is widely distributed in the body—in bones, teeth, hair, skin, liver, muscle, white blood cells, and testes. It is a component of more than 100 enzymes, including those involved in the formation of RNA (ribonucleic acid) and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
(See also Overview of Minerals Overview of Minerals Minerals are necessary for the normal functioning of the body’s cells. The body needs relatively large quantities of Calcium Chloride Magnesium read more .)
The level of zinc in the body depends on the amount of zinc consumed in the diet. Zinc is necessary for healthy skin, healing of wounds, and growth.
People rarely consume too much zinc. Usually, zinc excess results from consuming acidic foods or beverages packaged in a zinc-coated (galvanized) container. In certain industries, inhaling zinc oxide fumes can result in zinc excess.
People who consume too much zinc may have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Inhaling zinc oxide fumes can cause rapid breathing, sweating, fever, muscle aches, and a metallic taste in the mouth—a disorder called metal fume fever. Consuming too much zinc for a long time can reduce the absorption of copper Copper Deficiency Copper deficiency is rare among healthy people and occurs most commonly among infants who have other health problems or inherit a genetic abnormality. (See also Overview of Minerals.) Most of... read more , cause anemia Overview of Anemia Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells is low. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that enables them to carry oxygen from the lungs and deliver it to all parts... read more , and impair the immune system Overview of the Immune System The immune system is designed to defend the body against foreign or dangerous invaders. Such invaders include Microorganisms (commonly called germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi) Parasites... read more .
Diagnosis of Zinc Excess
A doctor's evaluation
Doctors suspect excess zinc based on the person’s circumstances and symptoms.
Treatment of Zinc Excess
Treatment involves reducing zinc consumption.
People with metal fume fever usually recover after being in a zinc-free environment for 12 to 24 hours.