Zinc and vitamin C contribute to wound healing and immune system health. You can meet the recommended amounts for both by following a balanced diet, though most people are slightly deficient in these nutrients. If you are at risk for a deficiency in either zinc or vitamin C or both, your doctor may prescribe supplements. You can take these at the same time unless he tells you otherwise.
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RDAs and Deficiencies
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, adult women need 8 milligrams of zinc a day, and adult men need 11 milligrams. Adult women also need 75 milligrams of vitamin C each day, while men need 90 milligrams. Anyone who does not follow a balanced diet can become deficient in both of these nutrients and may require supplementation. Signs of a zinc deficiency include weight loss, lack of taste, poor wound healing, hair loss and depression. A vitamin C deficiency can result in dry hair, gingivitis, poor wound healing, nosebleeds and a compromised immune system. Tell your doctor if you exhibit signs of either of these deficiencies.
Supplements and Potential Interactions
Zinc and vitamin C are available as individual supplements, and they are often included in multivitamins as well. Your doctor can help you decide which is best, as well as tell you how to take them. Zinc supplements may cause stomach upset, but this can be lessened by taking them with food. You may also find that taking them at the same time as another supplement, such as vitamin C, increases your digestive discomfort. If this occurs, take zinc and vitamin C at different times. While vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron supplements, zinc absorption can be inhibited by both calcium and iron. Therefore, if you are also on iron supplements, your doctor may recommend that you take those with vitamin C and consume zinc at a different time.
Upper Limits and Side Effects
If you take more than the recommended amounts of zinc or vitamin C, this can have adverse effects. The tolerable upper limit for zinc supplements is 40 milligrams a day, and it is 2,000 milligrams a day for vitamin C supplements, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Exceeding the tolerable upper limit of zinc can result in dizziness, headaches, excessive sweating, loss of coordination and various types of intestinal upset. Taking too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea and other stomach disturbances. Whether you take zinc and vitamin C together or separately, do not exceed the RDAs without checking with your health care provider.
Zinc and vitamin C supplements can potentially interact with other medications and supplements, and it is important that you tell your doctor what else you take prior to ingesting these. Additionally, if you have any medical conditions or diseases, this may also affect the amount of zinc and vitamin C you need to consume. Tell your doctor if you experience any adverse side effects associated with these supplements.