Zinc is a trace element found widely in the environment. Good food sources of zinc include meat, shellfish, milk and dairy foods such as cheese, bread, and cereal products such as wheatgerm.

How much do I need?

You should be able to get all the zinc you need from your daily diet. This is approximately:

  • 5.5 to 9.5 mg a day for men
  • 4 to 7 mg a day for women

What does it do?

Zinc has a number of important functions. For example it:

  • helps make new cells and enzymes
  • helps us process the carbohydrate, fat and protein in the food we eat
  • helps with the healing of wounds

What happens if I take too much?

Taking high doses of zinc reduces the amount of copper the body can absorb. This can lead to anaemia and to weakening of the bones.

What is our advice?

You should be able to get all the zinc you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. But if you decide to take zinc supplements it's important not to take too much because this could be harmful.

The Agency advises against taking more than 25 mg of zinc supplements a day. But you should continue taking a higher dose if this is under medical advice.