Zinc plays many critical roles in fighting candida. People with recurring yeast infections tend to be zinc deficient, and modern farming practices such as depleted mineral content in soil, and using pesticides and other chemicals used to grow produce, contribute to deficiencies. High zinc-content foods, such as red meat, are often skipped in favor of chicken, soy, or seafood. Candida itself is a culprit of hindering zinc absorption in the body: PLoS Pathogens published a study in 2012 showing that candida actually generates scavenger proteins which remove zinc from human cells.
Before I continue with this article, you should know I've recently compiled a list of science-backed ways to get rid of candida yeast infections. You can download my free Candida Report here if you haven't yet.
Zinc is responsible for healthy immune function, protein and energy production, and enzymatic activity. It is also responsible for helping glucose metabolism convert sugars into ATP (adenosine-tri-phosphate). Without enough zinc, excessive glucose is stored in cells and can become food for yeast. Maintaining ATP is also critical for immune support, pH balance, and other biochemical properties which directly fight excessive yeast.
Taking extra zinc prevents the bio-unavailability of copper, a condition when excessive amounts of copper are stored in the body, yet cannot be accessed. When this occurs, copper is unable to function as a fungicide. In 1998, research published in Analyst found that copper and zinc displayed antimicrobial effects when tested with bacteria, viruses, and fungi, including candida. Despite many people lacking nutrients with modern diets, copper is an exception. Stress, lower metabolism, estrogenic medications such as birth control, vegetarian diets, and treated cookware can contribute to high levels of copper and depleted amounts of zinc.
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There are no significant side effects when zinc levels are within healthy ranges. Overdosing of zinc may include vomiting, difficulty breathing, dizziness, fainting, or chest pain. Zinc cream used on broken skin may cause irritation such as stinging or itching. Zinc is potentially dangerous in nose sprays, as they may cause loss of smell.
To find out if you are lacking zinc in your body, take a taste test. Simply swish around liquid zinc sulfate in your mouth for 10-15 seconds, at least one hour after eating or drinking (water is okay). If there is a strong metallic taste, you are not deficient in zinc. However, an inability to taste the liquid or only noticing a light flavor means you are zinc deficient. The lower the taste, the higher the deficiency.
Determining how much extra zinc to take depends on how much zinc is consumed through diet, supplements, and results on a taste test. Generally, taking 20-30mg daily is considered safe even for those who are not deficient, however sources disagree on whether 40, 50, or 100mg is the limit for daily intake. It is better to begin with lower dosages and build up over time to know how your body reacts, particularly if you have a sensitive stomach or experience yeast die-off effects.
When taking zinc supplements, wait two hours after eating a meal. If nausea occurs, take zinc with a light, low-fiber snack or meal, as fiber can hinder absorption. Though whole grains contain both zinc and fiber naturally, the relationship between these two nutrients and how well they are absorbed together has not been well researched. If copper levels are in a healthy range, taking 1mg per 15mg of zinc is recommended to balance out mineral content. However, minerals such as copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron should be taken at least two hours apart from zinc.
Feel you may need more zinc for candida? Take candida quiz to find out more..
What Forms of Zinc are Good?
When choosing a supplement, be aware of elemental zinc (the actual amount in milligrams of zinc) versus the total milligrams of the pill which includes the whole formula (oxide, citrate, etc. are added into the zinc).
Many doctors and studies will suggest different forms will have superior absorption. Agents Actions published research in 1987 where fifteen volunteers were given three versions of zinc and a placebo in a double-blind, four-period crossover trial. Zinc levels were tested through hair, urine, and other methods. The results showed that only the picolinate form increased zinc in the body. In 2005, a study reported in International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology suggested that zinc gluconate was better absorbed in the body versus oxide. Other research suggests that for antiviral properties in zinc, the acetate and gluconate forms are best, while carnosine works well for memory and digestive disorders.
Zinc can be applied topically to treat skin irritations, including rash and skin yeast infections. Gels and ointments of zinc oxide are available. Follow directions on the bottle and do not use in nose or vaginal canal unless otherwise stated. Manuka honey is a great alternative for skin related issue and you can read more about it here.
Zinc has a wide variety of health benefits aside from immune and antifungal support, including:
- Alleviating and preventing allergies
- Increasing sense of smell and taste
- Supporting fertility in men and prostate health
- Maintaining healthy acid levels in the stomach
- Treating macular degeneration
- Improving sleep
- Diminishing scars and healing wounds
- Regulating oil glands to prevent acne
- Treating herpes (both simplex infections)
Should I start low or high dose of zinc for my candida?
Begin with a lower dose of zinc and increase over time to see how your body reacts. See “What Forms of Zinc are Better” for more information.
Which Zinc is the Best? (undecylenate or picolinate or pyrithione or gluconate or carnosine)?
See “What Forms of Zinc are Better” for more information.
Is Zinc Oxide good?
Zinc oxide has not been shown to absorb in the body as well as other forms. See “What Forms of Zinc are Better” for more information.
Can zinc feed candida yeast overgrowth?
Studies have found no evidence that zinc feeds candida.
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Can zinc cause die off effect? How long can it last?
Yes. If the die-off effect is too strong or undesirable, cut back on the amount of zinc being taken. And to answer your question of how long it can last check the video below.
Let us know how zinc has helped you in your fight against candida.