Mineral

Description Calcium is an essential mineral.
Function/ Used for The most abundant mineral in the body, calcium is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth.

Calcium also plays a role in muscle contraction, including the heart muscle; facilitates nerve transmissions; is involved in energy production and cell division and is used in the blood clotting mechanism.

Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 800mg

 

UK average daily intake

Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes1.

As a supplement Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Good sources include dairy products, canned fish such as sardines (when the soft, edible bones are consumed), dark green leafy vegetables, white bread, brown bread, sesame seeds and pulses.
Deficiency Long term deficiency leads to osteoporosis, muscle aches and pains, muscle twitching and spasm, muscle cramps; rickets (in children), osteomalacia (softening of bones), heart disorders, brittle nails and insomnia.
Precautions and contraindications Calcium supplements should be avoided in conditions associated with hypercalcaemia (high calcium levels in the bloods) and hypercalcuria (elevated calcium in the urine), and in renal (kidney) impairment (chronic).2

Safe Upper Level: 1500mg/day3

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding No problems have been reported. Calcium supplements may be required during pregnancy and breast-feeding and should be combined with vitamin D to ensure effective absorption.4
Interactions e.g. with other medications Excessive alcohol intake may reduce calcium absorption.

Aluminium- and magnesium-containing antacids may reduce calcium absorption.

Calcium can decrease absorption of some antibiotics, biphosphonates (to treat osteoporosis) and anti-convulsants (to treat epilepsy).

Loop diuretics increase excretion of calcium in the urine whereas thiazide-type diuretics may reduce calcium excretion.

Calcium carbonate or calcium phosphate may reduce absorption of iron and should be given 2 hours apart.5

Adverse effects Reported adverse effects with calcium supplements include nausea, constipation and flatulence (usually mild).
References 1.     https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

2.     Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

3.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

4.     NHS Choices Vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx#Calcium

5.     Gaby, A. R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. HealthNotes 2006.

 

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Description Chromium is an essential trace mineral.
Function/ Used for Chromium is involved in the processes that make glucose available for energy.

It is also important for the metabolism of amino acids (the ‘building blocks’ of proteins) and fats.

Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 40μg (micrograms)1

 

UK average daily intake

In the UK, the average daily intake of chromium from food was 100μg/day (1997 Total Diet Study).3

As a supplement Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Good sources include liver, kidney, yeast products, wholegrain cereal, nuts and legumes.
Deficiency Gross chromium deficiency is rarely seen in humans, but signs and symptoms of marginal deficiency include:

Glucose intolerance (insulin resistant hyperglycaemia – high sugar levels in the blood, raised serum lipids and weight loss)2.

Precautions and contraindications Because of its effect on blood glucose levels, diabetics should only take chromium under medical supervision.
Not suitable for epileptics.Safe Upper Level: 10mg1
Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy at normal intakes.
Interactions e.g. with other medications Chromium supplements containing yeast should be avoided by people taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors for the treatment of depression.

People taking any medication for diabetes (either injected insulin or oral antidiabetics) should seek medical advice before taking chromium.
Absorption of beta-blockers and corticosteroids may be increased by chromium; people using these drugs should seek medical advice before taking chromium supplements.2

Adverse effects None known when taken orally.
References 1 Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

2 Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press,  London, 2001

3. Manual of Nutrition 12th Ed. Dept. of Health, June 2012.

 

 

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Description Copper is an essential trace mineral.
Function/ Used for Copper is an essential component of several enzymes. Copper supports iron absorption and works with iron in the formation of red blood cells.  It acts as an antioxidant, supports the function of the immune system and is needed for connective tissues, bone growth, nerve function and energy release. It also helps to maintain skin and hair pigmentation.
Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 1mg

 

UK average daily intake

In the UK, the average daily intake of copper in 2000/01 was 1.2mg/per day from food.1

As a supplement Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Good sources include wholegrain products, liver, most seafood, dried beans and peas.

In the UK many water pipes are made from copper and, therefore, tap water is an excellent source.

Deficiency Deficiency of copper is rare.

Marginal deficiency may result in elevated cholesterol levels; impaired glucose tolerance; defects in pigmentation and structure of the hair; demyelination (loss of the myelin sheath that surrounds the neurons to protect nerves); and degeneration of the nervous system.

In infants and children, copper deficiency can lead to skeletal fragility and increased susceptibility to infections, especially those of the respiratory tract.2

Precautions and contraindications Copper should not be taken by people with Wilson’s disease (the disorder may be exacerbated) or hepatic and biliary disease.

Safe Upper Level: 10mg/day3

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy with normal intakes.
Interactions e.g. with other medications Penicillamine, Trientine, and large doses of Zinc and Iron may reduce absorption of copper and vice versa – give 2 hours apart.

Vitamin C in large doses (> 1 g daily) may reduce copper status.

Copper may reduce the absorption of ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.

Copper may enhance the anti-inflammatory effect of ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).2,4

Adverse effects In excessive doses copper is toxic and can lead to nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, jaundice and metallic taste.
References 1 Manual of Nutrition 12th Ed., Dept. of Health, June 2012.

2 Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

3 Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

4 Gaby, A. R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. HealthNotes 2006.

 

 

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Description Iodine is an essential trace element – only small amounts are needed to maintain good health.
Function/ Used for Iodine is used to form thyroid hormones (thyroxine and tri- iodothyronine), which regulate metabolic rate.
Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 150µg

 

UK average daily intake

Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes1

As a supplement Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Good sources include saltwater fish and shellfish, kelp, seaweed, sea salt, iodised salt, and dairy products.
Deficiency Deficiency may lead to hypothyroidism. Symptoms include tiredness, muscle weakness, breast pain and tenderness, sudden or unexplained weight gain. A classic deficiency sign is goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck in order to compensate for low levels of iodine intake).

Infants born to severely deficient mothers are likely to suffer from cretinism (stunted physical and mental growth).

Precautions and contraindications Supplements usually only necessary on medical advice.

Safe Upper Level: 500µg /day2

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding Doses exceeding the NRV should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding (they may result in abnormal thyroid function in the infant)3.
Interactions e.g. with other medications Iodine may interact with thyroid medication3.
Adverse effects High iodine intake may induce hyperthyroidism (particularly in those over the age of 40 years) or hypothyroidism in autoimmune thyroid disease.

Toxicity is rare with intakes below 5000µg daily and extremely rare at intakes below 1000µg daily.

Hypersensitivity reactions including headache, rashes, symptoms of head cold, swelling of lips, throat and tongue, and joint pain have been reported.3

References 1.     https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

2.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

3.     Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

 

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Description Iron is an essential trace mineral.
Function/ Used for Iron is essential for the formation of haemoglobin which is present in red blood cells. Haemoglobin is being formed in the body all the time and is the substance in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body.
Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 14mg

 

UK average daily intake

Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes1.

As a supplement Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Good sources include liver, kidney, heart, red meat, beef, pork, canned pilchards/sardines, fish, shellfish, wholegrain cereals, eggs, spinach, chicken, leafy green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals.

Iron is most easily absorbed from animal sources.

Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron from plant sources.

Deficiency Symptoms include anaemia, concave and brittle nails, sore tongue, cracking in the corners of the mouth, increased susceptibility to infection. Also, tiredness, muscle fatigue, skin itching, dizziness, headache, insomnia, brittle hair and hair loss.
Precautions and contraindications Iron supplements should be avoided in conditions associated with iron overload (e.g. haemochromatosis, haemosiderosis, thalassaemia), and gastrointestinal disease, particularly inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis and peptic ulcer1.

Overdose of iron is dangerous, particularly in young children.

 

Safe Upper Level: 17mg2

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding Iron supplementation is not generally required in pregnancy, but iron status should be monitored.
Interactions e.g. with other medications Antacids, tetracyclines (antibiotics), warfarin (anti-coagulant), calcium carbonate or calcium phosphate, and zinc may reduce the absorption of iron – they should be given two hours apart.

Aspirin and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen may cause stomach irritation, bleeding and iron loss which may lead to deficiency. To avoid irritation take with food.

Large doses of iron may increase the requirement for vitamin E.3,4

Adverse effects Iron supplements may cause gastrointestinal irritation, nausea and constipation, which may lead to faecal impaction (where dried, hard stools collect in the rectum and anus), particularly in the elderly.

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease may suffer  worsening of diarrhoea.

Liquid iron preparations may stain the teeth.3

References 1.     https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

2.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

3.     Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

4.     Gaby, A. R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. HealthNotes 2006.

 

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Description Magnesium is an essential mineral. It is the second most abundant nutrient stored in body tissue after calcium.
Function/ Used for Magnesium is needed for the formation of many enzymes in the body which release energy from food. It is also vital for the nervous system, muscle movement and for the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 375mg

 

UK average daily intake

Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes.1

 

As a supplement Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Magnesium is present in all green plants. The main sources are unrefined cereals and wholemeal bread, green leafy vegetables, and peanuts.

Over 80 per cent of magnesium is lost in the removal of the germ and outer layers of cereal grains.

Deficiency Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, diarrhoea.

Hypocalcaemia (low calcium levels in the blood) is common in moderate to severe magnesium deficiency.

Obvious clinical signs of deficiency are uncommon.2

Precautions and contraindications Doses exceeding the Safe Upper Level are best avoided in renal (kidney) impairment.

Safe Upper Level: 400mg/day3

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Interactions e.g. with other medications Excessive alcohol intake may increase the loss of magnesium in urine.

Loop diuretics and thiazide diuretics can increase the loss of magnesium in urine and lead to magnesium depletion.

Magnesium can reduce the absorption of the antibiotics tetracyclines, which should be taken at least two hours before or after a magnesium-containing supplement.

People taking heart medication should consult their doctor or pharmacist before taking magnesium.2, 4

Adverse effects Doses of 3–5grams have a laxative effect.
References 1.     https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

2.     Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

3.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

4.     Gaby, A. R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. HealthNotes 2006.

 

 

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Description Manganese is an essential trace mineral.
Function/ Used for Manganese activates  some enzymes  so they begin to work. It is also essential for the formation of certain enzymes, one of which is superoxide dismutase, a powerful antioxidant enzyme that neutralises potentially damaging free radicals.
Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 2mg

 

UK average daily intake

Intake of manganese is not routinely tracked by government data. The UK, average daily adult intake from food sources in 2000/01 was 3mg per day.1

As a supplement Not generally available as a single supplement. Commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Nuts, pulses, wholemeal bread and cereals and green vegetables. Tea is a rich source of manganese and possibly the biggest source of manganese for many people in the UK.
Deficiency Manganese deficiency in individuals consuming mixed diets is very rare. Symptoms thought to be associated with deficiency include weight loss, dermatitis, hypocholesterolaemia (low levels of cholesterol in the blood), depressed growth of hair and nails and reddening of black hair2.
Precautions and contraindications Safe Upper Level:

General  population: 4mg/day3

Older people: 0.5mg/day (older people may be more sensitive to manganese)

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy.
Interactions e.g. with other medications Oral contraceptives may interfere with the absorption of manganese.

Manganese can reduce the absorption of Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.2,4

Adverse effects Long term intakes of daily doses of 4mg and over of manganese may lead to muscle pain and fatigue2.
References 1.     Manual of Nutrition 12th Ed., Dept. of Health, June 2012.

2.     Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

3.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

4.     Gaby, A. R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. HealthNotes 2006.

 

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Description Molybdenum is an essential ultratrace mineral.
Function/ Used for Mineral involved in the functioning of several important enzymes in the body. Aids in carbohydrate and fat metabolism and helps in iron utilisation.
Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 50µg

 

UK average daily intake

Estimated intake range between 50-400µg a day1

As a supplement Not generally available as a single supplement. Commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) The richest sources of molybdenum include dairy products, liver and kidney, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, peas and beans and brown rice.
Deficiency No known deficiency symptoms.
Precautions and contraindications The molybdenum intake from the UK diet (estimated maximum intake 230µg /day) is not expected to present any risk to health. However, there is insufficient evidence about the safety of molybdenum intakes in excess of those naturally occurring in the diet.2

Safe Upper Level: Current estimates indicate a safe upper level of 600µg a day for adults.1

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding Safety of use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is unknown.
Interactions e.g. with other medications None reported.3
Adverse effects Molybdenum is a relatively non-toxic element. High dietary intakes (10–15mg daily) have been associated with elevated uric acid concentrations in blood and an increased incidence of gout3.
References 1.     http://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/efsa_rep/blobserver_assets/ndatolerableuil.pdf

2.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

3.     Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

 

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Description Next to calcium, phosphorus is the most abundant mineral in the body, making up about 1% of total body weight.
Function/ Used for Phosphorus is essential for bone health.

 

Calcium, which gives strength to bones and teeth, needs to be combined with another mineral, such as phosphorous, to become stabilised before it can be effective.

 

Phosphorus also helps to release energy from food as it plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein.

Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 700mg

 

UK average daily intake

Unknown (in the UK)

As a supplement Not generally available as a single supplement. Commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Good sources include red meat and poultry, dried milk and milk products, wheat germ, yeast, grains, hard cheeses, canned fish, nuts, potatoes, eggs and soft drinks.
Deficiency Symptoms include abnormal calcification of soft tissue, tetany (spasm and twitching of the muscles, particularly those of face, hands and feet), lethargy and anorexia. However, deficiency is unlikely as it is so widely distributed in food.
Precautions and contraindications Consuming high doses of phosphorus for a short time can cause diarrhoea or stomach pain.1

The long term over-consumption of foods high in phosphorus can deplete calcium resources and lead to reduced bone mass, which means that bones are more likely to fracture.2

 

Safe Upper Level (SUL):

·         Total intake of not more than 2,400mg/day1

·         Supplemental intake should not exceed 250mg /day

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding Safety of the use of phosphorus during pregnancy and breastfeeding is unknown.
Interactions e.g. with other medications No clinically significant interactions between phosphorus and conventional medications are known to have been reported in literature to date.

Long term intake of aluminium hydroxide, an antacid, may deplete phosphorus levels.3,4

Adverse effects Phosphates can be toxic at levels over 1,000mg per day, leading to diarrhoea, calcification of organs and soft tissue, and preventing the absorption of iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.1
References 1.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

2.     Calvo, MS.  Advances in Nutritional Research. 1994:9 pp183-207 ‘The effects of high phosphorus intake on calcium homeostasis’

3.     Reynolds JEF, ed. Martindale: The Extra Pharmacopoeia. 31st ed. London: Royal Pharmaceutical Society; 1996:1181-1182, 1741.

4.     Gaby A.R et al. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. Health Notes. Three Rivers Press. New York. 2006

 

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Description Selenium is an essential trace element.
Function/ Used for Selenium is part of an antioxidant system. It protects the body’s cells from damage and helps maintain the body’s defence system.

Selenium also works in conjunction with vitamin E and is a component of many enzymes.

Intake Recommended Intake

EU NRV: 55µg

UK average daily intake

Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes1.

As a supplement Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Good sources include whole wheat, meat, eggs, offal, fish, shellfish and Brazil nuts.

In plant foods, selenium content is affected by the selenium content of the soil in which the plants have been grown.

Deficiency Deficiency has been associated with muscle pain and tenderness and some cases of cardiomyopathy (a group of diseases that affect the heart muscle).
Precautions and contraindications Safe Upper Level: 350µg2
Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding There is no evidence of adverse effects in pregnancy from normal intakes.
Interactions e.g. with other medications Yeast-containing selenium products should be avoided by people taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (used for the treatment of depression).

The anti-psychotic drug Clozapine may reduce selenium levels.

Oral corticosteroids, an anti-inflammatory drug, may increase loss of selenium in urine.3,4

Adverse effects Adverse effects reported include hair loss, nail changes, skin lesions, nausea, diarrhoea, irritability, metallic taste, garlic-smelling breath, fatigue and peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves in the extremities of the body such as feet and hands).2
References 1.     https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

2.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

3.     Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

4.     Gaby, A. R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions.  HealthNotes 2006.

 

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Description Zinc is an essential trace mineral.
Function/ Used for Zinc is an important part of many enzymes, some of which have key roles in the formation of new proteins – one of the processes involved in tissue growth. Zinc is required to aid growth of the immune cells plus maintenance of hair, skin and nails.

Superoxide dismutase (a powerful antioxidant enzyme that neutralises potentially damaging free radicals) requires zinc.

Zinc is also essential for reproduction.

Intake Recommended intake

EU NRV: 10mg

UK average daily intake

Requirements vary depending on age and gender. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey lists up-to-date intake requirements and average intakes1.

As a supplement Available as a single supplement. Also commonly available as part of a multivitamin and mineral formula.

Different multivitamin and minerals products will vary in the percentage NRVs they include. People should always check the label for information about a specific product.

Found in (dietary sources) Good sources include red meat, liver, shellfish (especially oysters), egg yolks, dairy products, wholegrain cereals and pulses.
Deficiency Signs of mild to moderate deficiency include growth retardation, male hypogonadism (the testes produce few or no sex hormones), poor appetite, rough skin, mental lethargy, delayed wound healing and impaired taste.

Severe zinc deficiency symptoms include alopecia (hair loss), diarrhoea, dermatitis, psychiatric disorders, weight loss, infection (due to impaired immune function), hypogonadism in males, and poor ulcer healing.

Maternal zinc deficiency before and during pregnancy may lead to growth retardation and congenital abnormalities in the foetus.2

Precautions and contraindications Those people with liver damage or an intestinal disorder should consult their doctor before taking supplements containing zinc.

Safe Upper Level: 25mg/day3

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding Zinc is suitable to be taken at recommended daily doses during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Interactions e.g. with other medications High doses of zinc upset absorption of iron and copper. Folic acid and iron reduce zinc absorption.

Zinc may decrease the absorption of some antibiotics – they should be taken two hours before or four to six hours after taking a zinc supplement.

Zinc can also reduce the absorption and action of penicillamine, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis – they should be taken two hours apart.

Long term use of oral contraceptives may reduce zinc levels.2,4

Adverse effects Signs of acute toxicity (doses >200mg daily) include gastrointestinal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Prolonged exposure to doses >50mg daily may induce copper deficiency and iron deficiency. Doses >150mg daily may reduce serum HDL-cholesterol levels, depress immune function and cause gastric erosion.2

References 1.     https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey

2.     Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.

3.     Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals, 2003.

4.     Gaby, A. R. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. HealthNotes 2006.

 

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