A 50-milligram dose of zinc exceeds the tolerable upper intake level for zinc for every age group, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Unless your doctor has specifically instructed you to take this dose, you should not take 50-milligram zinc supplements. If your doctor has instructed you to take a zinc dosage this high, then it's your doctor whom you should consult regarding the duration of your supplement use. Your doctor knows your specific health history and can better advise you. Exceeding the tolerable upper limit for zinc, or any nutrient, can lead to adverse effects.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral. This means that it is essential for life, but only in very minute quantities. Zinc deficiency is an important health issue in developing nations. In severe cases, zinc deficiency can retard growth and lead to nutritional dwarfism, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Zinc deficiency can also lead to skin rashes, diarrhea, immune dysfunction, night blindness and decreased taste sensation. Even mild zinc deficiencies can impair physical and neuropsychological development in young children and make them more vulnerable to dangerous infections.
Although zinc is an important mineral, it should be taken conservatively. Some people take zinc lozenges as a cold remedy, but accurate dosages for this use have not been scientifically established. Acute toxicity from exposure to high levels of zinc can cause pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Consuming too much zinc can also result in deficiencies in copper, another trace mineral.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the recommended daily amount of zinc for babies from birth to 6 months is 2 milligrams. For children 7 months to 3 years of age the recommended amount is 3 milligrams; for 4 to 8 years, it's 5 milligrams; and from 9 to 13 years, it's 8 milligrams. For non-pregnant and non-breastfeeding females between the age of 14 and 18, the recommended daily amount of zinc is 9 milligrams, and from 19 years and older it's 8 milligrams. For pregnant teens the recommended amount is 12 milligrams. For breastfeeding teens the recommended amount is 13 milligrams. For pregnant women the recommended amount is 11 milligrams, and for breastfeeding women it's 12 milligrams. For men above the age of 18 the recommended amount is 11 milligrams.
Tolerable Upper Limits
Unless you are under a doctor's instructions to do otherwise, your intake of zinc should not exceed the following amounts. From birth to 6 months of age the tolerable upper limit for zinc is 4 milligrams. From 7 to 12 months, it's 5 milligrams. From 1 to 3 years, it's 7 milligrams. From 4 to 8 years, it's 12 milligrams. From 9 to 13 years, it's 23 milligrams. From 14 to 18 years, it's 34 milligrams. For adults, the tolerable upper limit for zinc is 40 milligrams per day.