The World of Pregnancy

Zinc While Pregnant: Therapeutic Indications & Interactions with other Medicines

As soon as they become pregnant, women usually pay a lot more attention to their daily diet, because the fetus requires a well balanced nutrition to develop in a healthy way. An important element while pregnant is zinc for a healthy embryo development.

Can I Take Zinc While Pregnant

The Role of Zinc during Pregnancy

Zinc is the mineral which takes care of protecting your health while pregnant by strengthening the resistance of the body to free radicals. This mineral is also required in DNA synthesis, faster wound healing and in improving the olfactory and taste sense. Zinc also has an essential importance in each and every stage of fetal development.

Zinc Deficiency during Pregnancy

Zinc deficiency occurs when its concentration in the organism falls below normal limits. Women who are pregnant and experience zinc deficiency risk giving birth to babies with intrauterine growth retardation and low birth weight, as zinc is very important for the fetal development the entire pregnancy.

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Zinc deficiency during early pregnancy may lead to severe complications, which include miscarriage. Because of this, it`s very important when you find out you`re pregnant to do all the required analyzes and start taking prenatal vitamins that your doctor will recommend. Most prenatal vitamins include optimal doses of zinc, so pregnant women can no longer worry about the risks of zinc in the human organism

The Amount of Zinc Recommended

Ensuring the recommended daily zinc amount will help in preventing a lot of serious complications. An adults needs around 0.2 mg/day, but it`s not recommended to exceed this specific amount. According to DRI, the recommended zinc amount varies depending on age, gender, special physiological states – pregnancy or lactation.

DRI experts have the role of establishing the limits which people can guide in nutritional intake and, thus, it`s not required to follow them strictly. Excessive physical activity, vegetarian diet or the presence of an illness might change the limits set by DRI. In additional, in the case of diseases, it might even be necessary to exceed the upper zinc intake limit.

Foods that Are Rich in Zinc

Feeding remains the main source from which you can get your zinc during pregnancy. If you eat well and pay attention to add as many foods rich in zinc as you can in your menu, you may get the full daily dose that is recommended in your diet without needing supplements.

Here are some of the foods that contain a high content of zinc:

Zinc food source Zinc miligrams
3/4 cup zinc fortified cereals 15
90 g roast beef 8.9
90 g pork roast 4.2
1 chicken breast 2.7
1 cup of yoghurt 2.2
1/2 cup bean beans 1.8
30 g of oleaginous fruit mix 1.1
30 g of cheese 1.1
1 cup of milk 9
100 g wheat germ 16.7
100 g spinach 0.8
100 g of dark chocolate 6,8
100 g mushrooms 0,9


Note: There are women who agree to take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy that include zinc and women who are against them because they gain weight or experience other side effects.

Interactions with other Medicines

Pharmacists whose patients are given zinc supplements should know some interactions that minerals might have with other medicines.

The administration of zinc should be done separately from the iron administration at least 2 hours apart. The interaction between these 2 types of supplements is less pronounced if they are administered before or after one of the meals.

Other 3 supplements interact directly with zinc. The info gained from many studies supports the following interactions: zinc-copper, zinc-calcium and zinc-folic acid. Metallionine is a protein which blocks copper systematic absorption. Zinc stimulates intestinal production of metallothionein, which in turn interferes with the bioavailability of copper. However, the contradictory results of some of the studies started raise an issue: how really does calcium interfere with zinc absorption? – Click for more!

The absorption of zinc seems to be reduced when calcium is combined with phytic acid. Additionally, a zinc-based enzyme helps control the bioavailability of folate, which would imply a possible interaction between zinc and folic acid. If past studies have shown that a low intake of zinc reduces folate absorption and that zinc use is depleted by supplements containing folic acid, a recent study fights this theory.

Zinc salts also appear to interact with fluoroquinolone and tetracyclines. Concomitant administration of zinc supplements with oral fluoroquinolones and tetracyclines forms insoluble chelates and interferes with their absorption. Zinc supplements should be given at least 6 hours before or 2 hours after the the fluoroquinolone and tetracycline administration.

Therapeutic Indications of Zinc

There are some patients who accused hyposomia and anosmia when they were given the zinc gluconate spray; some of these cases seem to be permanent. It`s assumed that the mechanism of odor loss is due to a toxic effect caused by Zn2 + when it comes to direct contact with the olfactory epithelium. Zinc treatment for pregnant women or women who breastfeed and who have signs of cold hasn`t yet been studied.

Healing the Lesions

It`s known that zinc deficiency affects the healing process of wounds and prolongs the time of scarring of the tissues. A few studies have shown that zinc facilitates the healing of wounds, but also postoperative injuries, lower limb ulcers, etc.

Oral treatments shorten healing time. One study showed that patients given oral zinc sulphate supplements healed in 45.8 days, compared with 80.1 days, during which the placebo group was cured. A different study investigated the use of zinc in topical use in the treatment of post-incision wounds.

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The result showed that 73% of patients who received zinc administration have reduced the size of the wounds compared with 42% of those in the placebo group. Oral zinc sulphate was also compared to placebo to determine its effect on healing superficial and serious wounds from burns. The healing time for superficial burns was lower by 21% compared to placebo and by 19% for severe burns.

Immune System

A state of immune deficiency and a low resistance to infection have been linked to zinc deficiencies. Although the understanding of the role of zinc in the immune system has increased, the exact mechanism which helps prevent as well as treat infectious illnesses isn`t known. A few studies have shown a positive effect in patients suffering from pneumonia when receive zinc supplements.

Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

According to several studies conducted a few years ago, it`s believed that zinc deficiency could play an important in the pathophysiology of attention deficit disorder. Although it`s too soon to conclude that zinc would be beneficial in treating deficit hyperactivity disorder, this still seems promising. Until further studies in this direction, pharmacists may recommend appropriate dietary supplements as well as multivitamin and mineral supplements to children who suffer from ADHD.

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