Zinc Citrate – Side Effects, Uses, Benefits (Acne & Skin)

Zinc citrate is a type of zinc supplement that is quickly absorbed by the human body.

Zinc is an essential mineral that is needed for reproduction, vision, and immune function in the body, nevertheless, the body doesn’t manufacture zinc on its own, hence, it must come from diet or supplements.


It is increasingly used in functional foods, food supplements, beverages, and pharmaceuticals (against the common cold).

Also, it is used in dental care products, like – mouthwashes, toothpaste, and chewing gums because of its potent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial attributes as well as due to its capacity to inhibit or reduce the formation of tartar and dental plaque.


Prevents Zn Deficiency

It is usually taken by mouth for the prevention and treatment of Zn deficiency and its consequences, including slow wound healing, acute diarrhea, stunted growth in children, and Wilson’s disease (an inherited disorder that causes copper to accumulate in the brain, liver, and other important organs).

A deficiency of Zn can result in diminished amounts of white blood cells (the cells of the immune system) and reduced capacity to heal wounds and fight infection. Furthermore, the sense of taste is altered so that the patient cannot taste sugar and salt at normal levels. Hence, he will end up intaking more sugar and sodium than his body requires.

Other common symptoms of Zn deficiency may include:

  • frequent ringing in the ears;
  • attention deficit disorder symptoms, like – poor listening skills, struggling to complete tasks, difficulty paying attention, being easily distracted;
  • frequent diarrhea which is not associated with food poisoning;
  • memory gets worse and worse as the Zn deficiency increases;
  • the immune system is compromised;
  • low libido;
  • chronic fatigue and low energy levels.

According to a 2009 study published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition,” inadequate intakes of Zn in men can also lead to hypogonadism, a condition in which men and women do not produce enough testosterone.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD causes damage to the macula, a spot close to the center of the retina (the light-sensitive tissue found in the back of the eye) and the part of the eye required for central vision, that lets us see objects which are straight ahead.

This eye disorder is the leading cause of vision loss among individuals age 50 and older. Some studies concluded that oral Zn supplements might slow the progression of AMD.

Helps Treat A Cold

If taken within 24 hours of the first signs and symptoms of the common cold, this supplement may reduce considerably the severity and duration of a cold in otherwise healthy children and adults.

The authors of a 2013 Cochrane review say that considerable effects were seen at doses of at least 75 mg a day, taken as long as the cold lasts.


This supplement may not be a magic cure for acne, however, there is plenty of evidence that concluded that it is beneficial if you want to maintain a healthy and clear complexion.

For instance, studies established that individuals with acne have lower levels of Zn than individuals with clear skin. In addition, supplementing can reduce acne by about 50 percent.

While the precise mechanisms are unknown, this supplement most likely regulates the body’s hormonal balance and promotes healthy skin by transporting vitamin A to the skin.

Immune Functions

This essential mineral is used by approximately 100 enzymes in their catalytic activities as well as it is needed for a variety of functions in cellular metabolism. Moreover, it enhances immune functions, like wound healing, plus, it is used in cell division, DNA, and protein synthesis. It also cultivates the senses of smell and taste.

Antioxidant Properties

It has strong antioxidant attributes. This means that it helps protect cells in the human body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are produced naturally in the human body, however, lifestyle factors can accelerate their production. These lifestyle factors include:

  • fried foods;
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • smoking tobacco;
  • exposure to toxic chemicals, like – air pollution and pesticides.

Free radicals are associated with a host of human diseases, such as – atherosclerosis (also referred to as hardening of the arteries), cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or Alzheimer’s disease.


Note – If you are on regular prescription or OTC medicines, or if you are taking other types of supplements, you may want to consult with your healthcare professional before you start adding Zinc to your routine.

The recommended daily allowance for Zn in women who are not pregnant is 8 mg a day. Lactating and pregnant women require 11 to 12 milligrams per day, and males over the age of 14 need about 11 mg a day.

Tip – avoid taking a Zn supplement for 2 hours after you consume foods high in fiber (like beans, seeds, nuts, or oat bran) since they may reduce the absorption of Zn. Also, avoid high-dose, long-term Zn supplementation.

Side Effects of Zinc Citrate

Common signs and symptoms that could indicate that you are overconsuming Zn supplements may include:abdominal pain

  • fatigue;
  • nausea;
  • coughing;
  • fever;
  • headaches;
  • diarrhea;
  • stomach cramps;
  • loss of appetite;
  • vomiting.

Note – the problem with consuming too many Zn supplements is that it actually prohibits the metabolism from properly absorbing other minerals and vitamins the body requires.

The use of Zn supplements for more than a decade or taking more than 100 mg of Zn supplements per day may double the risk of prostate cancer.

Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty

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