What is Zinc Acetate?

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

The human body needs certain micronutrients and macronutrients for optimal performance. Zinc is one such nourishing supplement that has antioxidant properties, aids with the absorption of vitamin A, and promotes healthy hormones and body tissue. Zinc acetate is a supplement that prevents a deficiency in zinc, and is used to treat Wilson's disease and other conditions. It is also called zinc salt dihydrate and zinc diacetate.

Studies have shown that zinc acetate might help shorten cold symptoms.
Studies have shown that zinc acetate might help shorten cold symptoms.

Zinc acetate must be taken with water, however; if it is also taken with food, it may reduce the likelihood of an upset stomach. Foods or drinks that are high in phosphorus or calcium work against zinc acetate. They actually prevent zinc from absorbing into the body; so, taking it with a glass of milk would render the supplement useless. Other alarming side effects include allergic reactions, problems breathing, ulcers, faintness, chest pains, and fatigue. It is important to consult a medical doctor for any of these severe side effects.

Zinc lozenges have been shown to reduce the length and severity of the common cold.
Zinc lozenges have been shown to reduce the length and severity of the common cold.

There is new research that supports the fact that zinc acetate will cause harm to a fetus. Consequently, women who are pregnant should either avoid taking it or discuss the side effects with a medical doctor. In addition, because it is secreted through breast milk, women are warned against breastfeeding a baby while taking it because of the potential harm that it can cause an infant. Also, it will prevent the absorption of antibiotics, so discuss all prescription and over-the-counter medications with a doctor before consuming zinc acetate.

Zinc acetate may cause ulcers.
Zinc acetate may cause ulcers.

Medical research indicates that zinc acetate lozenges may reduce the duration of the common cold. In one study, the research participants who took the lozenges had cold symptoms for 4.5 days versus 8.1 days, a less severe cough, and less nasal discharge. Although the study seems to show that the lozenges may be helpful, scientists still deem the results to be inconclusive. Future research studies may be more conclusive regarding the effect of the lozenges on the common cold.

Side effects of zinc acetate may include fatigue.
Side effects of zinc acetate may include fatigue.

One of the main reasons that zinc acetate is used is to treat individuals affected by Wilson's disease. This is a genetic disorder where the copper is not released, but stored, poisoning the body. The excess copper can cause fatally damage the eyes, brain, liver, and other organs. It affects one out of every 40,000 people, and affects women and men equally. Zinc acetate works to stop the absorption of copper into the body and is often used in combination with other prescription drugs.

Breastfeeding women should not take zinc acetate.
Breastfeeding women should not take zinc acetate.
Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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Discussion Comments

OeKc05

That's sad that you can't consume zinc acetate while pregnant. I am currently four months along, and I have a killer cold.

I suppose I could still get some lozenges for my husband, though. He is sharing my sickness right now.

Do these lozenges come in different flavors, or do they just taste like what they are made of? I know that some medicated cough drops have to taste bad, because the active ingredients have a strong, offensive flavor.

orangey03

I didn't know there was anything that could help you get over a cold faster! I need to go out right now and get some zinc acetate lozenges, because I have had a scratchy throat and congested nose for two days now, and I don't want it to last another week!

All my life, I have suffered from frequent colds. The worst is not being able to breathe through my nose. I find it so hard to sleep at night this way.

If zinc acetate lozenges can shorten my sickness by even one day, they will be worth whatever I pay for them. I don't even care if they taste awful, as long as they work.

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