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Zinc Supplement Side Effects

author image Kristie Jernigan
Kristie Jernigan is a health writer with over 17 years of experience as a medical social worker. She has worked mainly with the elderly population and with children. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and early childhood from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in health care administration and gerontology from the University of Phoenix.
Zinc Supplement Side Effects
Supplements may not always have positive effects. Photo Credit: amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images

According to The National Library of Medicine, Zinc supplements were used by the ancient Egyptians and continue to be used in today’s modern medicine. Zinc supplements have hundreds of medical benefits, and are often prescribed by physicians. However, zinc can also have side effects that can cause more harm than good.

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Chills and Fever

On occasion, chills and fever will occur when taking zinc supplements, although these are rare occurrences. The National Institutes of Health reports that fever usually sets in when there is a toxicity caused by taking too much zinc. However, a fever can also be caused by taking medications or supplements that negatively interact with the zinc dosage. In addition, taking too much zinc may lead to infections of the heart or other organs and a fever may be a sign of a serious infection. The dosage of zinc supplement for most people is between 5 milligrams to 20 milligrams. If you are taking zinc supplements and suddenly have a fever or chills, stop taking the medication and seek medical advice.

Chest Pain/Heart Problems

Zinc supplements have a side effect of causing heartburn or indigestion. Chest pain can also be a sign that you have overdosed on the zinc supplement. Being very careful, and following your physician’s recommendations on the dosage for the condition you are taking zinc for is critical. In high quantities, taking a 100 milligram dose regularly, for example, the supplement can lead to heart problems. Some people have had a calcification of a valve in the heart when taking too much zinc.

Urinary Tract

According to the NIH, high levels of zinc have been shown to cause urinary tract complications. When a person takes high doses of zinc -- over the recommended daily dose by the FDA or physician -- urinary complications can occur, such as: urinary tract infections, urinary retention. It can also cause an increase in calcium buildup and this can lead to kidney stones. Some of these conditions have been severe enough to cause hospitalization and even surgery. Care should be taken when using zinc if you are prone to urinary tract infections and do not take zinc without the advice from a physician if you are already prone to kidney stones, have had a kidney transplant or are on dialysis.


Zinc may interact with medications for cholesterol management. The NIH reports that taking zinc with HDL and LDL lipoproteins and triglycerides can cause a lowering of the HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Also, some supplements or caffeine may cause blood pressure to drop. There may also be side effects related to heart medications, such as Captopril and Vasotec, but there still needs to be more studies done on this interaction. If you already suffer from a cardiac condition, consult your physician before taking this supplement.

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