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5 Secret Side Effects of Taking Zinc, Say Experts

Researchers found the element may help control blood pressure.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

You've heard it's good for shortening colds, but now zinc has been shown to possibly have a more wide-ranging benefit. According to a recent study in Nature Comunications, the chemical element may be good for regulating blood pressure, an important new finding. Read on to see 5 major effects of zinc, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


Zinc May Control Blood Pressure, Says the New Study

Doctor taking blood pressure of female patient at office

"Zinc is an important metal ion in biology and, given that calcium and potassium are famous for controlling blood flow and pressure, it's surprising that the role of zinc hasn't previously been appreciated," says senior study author Dr. Scott Ayton, Ph.D. "A recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of zinc supplementation showed that zinc decreased systolic blood pressure," say the authors, "Zinc deficiency on the other hand has been linked with high blood pressure in animal models….Here we demonstrate a role for zinc in vascular tone regulation." Clarifies Medical News Today: "The researchers' discovery may explain a couple of things that experts already know about zinc. First, zinc deficiency has been associated with hypertension in animal models. Second, the gene responsible for maintaining zinc levels within cells is also linked to hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. However, in human studies, there is no evidence of a link between dietary intake of zinc and hypertension. The amount of zinc in the bloodstream does not correlate with the amounts in the cell. This study found that it is the amount of zinc inside cells that is important." Read on for four other benefits of zinc.

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Zinc May Help With Colds

Sick woman with flu at home

"Evidence suggests that if zinc lozenges or syrup is taken within 24 hours after cold symptoms start, the supplement can help shorten the length of colds. However, use of intranasal zinc has been linked with the loss of the sense of smell, in some cases long term or permanently," says the Mayo Clinic.

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Zinc May Help Kids With This Gastro Problem

Man feeling stomach pain at home.

"Oral zinc supplements can reduce the symptoms of diarrhea in children with low levels of zinc, such as from malnutrition. There isn't enough evidence to recommend use of oral zinc for children with diarrhea who have a healthy, varied diet," says the Mayo Clinic.

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Zinc May Help Wounds Heal

woman worrying about her skin

"People with skin ulcers and low levels of zinc might benefit from oral zinc supplements," says the Mayo Clinic. "Topical administration of zinc appears to be superior to oral therapy due to its action in reducing superinfections and necrotic material via enhanced local defense systems and collagenolytic activity, and the sustained release of zinc ions that stimulates epithelialization of wounds in normozincemic individuals," says one oft-cited study.

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Zinc May Help Your Sunburn

elderly women Wearing blue sunglasses Walking around the sea

"Zinc oxide was used in ointments to treat wounds, as noted in ancient Greek medical texts. Today, zinc oxide is still a popular over-the-counter treatment skin treatment," says Harvard Health. "It can defend against sunburns by reflecting and scattering ultraviolet rays so they do not penetrate the skin. It is also used to treat inflamed skin conditions like burns, eczema, bedsores, and diaper rash. The compound forms a protective barrier on the skin's surface, repelling away moisture and allowing the skin to heal. It may also aid enzymes to break down damaged collagen tissue so that new tissue can be formed. No negative side effects have been reported." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek