An allergy is an immune system response to substances in the environment such as pollen, mold spores, or animal dander.

Since many allergy medications can cause side effects such as drowsiness or dry mucous membranes, people with allergies sometimes consider using alternative remedies such as zinc.

Zinc is a mineral that supports your immune system and metabolism. Along with playing a role in wound healing, it’s also important to your senses of smell and taste.

A 2011 analysis of 62 studies concluded that deficiencies in a number of nutrients, including zinc, were associated in a higher occurrence of asthmaand allergies. The report also indicated a risk of bias since none of the studies were blinded or randomized.

Zinc and asthma

A 2016 article in Pediatric Reports concluded that zinc supplementation in addition to standard treatment lowered the severity of asthma attacks in children.

It did not, however, impact the duration. Although there isn’t clinical evidence, asthma is frequently linked to allergies so zinc may be a potential contributor to allergy relief.

Zinc and atopic dermatitis

A 2012 study on atopic dermatitis showed that zinc levels were significantly lower in those with atopic dermatitis when compared to control subjects.

These results indicated that there might be a link between zinc levels and this allergy that needs further study.

Daily requirements for zinc vary based on your age and gender.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc for men age 14 and older is 11 milligrams per day and 8 milligrams per day for women 19 and older.

For pregnant women 19 and older, the RDA for zinc is 11 milligrams per day.

Although chicken and red meat supply the majority of zinc to Americans, there’s more zinc per serving in oysters than any other food. Foods high in zinc include:

  • shellfish, such as oysters, crab, lobster
  • beef
  • chicken
  • pork
  • dairy products, such as milk and yogurt
  • nuts, such as cashews and almonds
  • fortified breakfast cereals

If you’re vegetarian, the bioavailability of zinc in your diet is typically lower than in the diets of people who eat meat. Consider talking to your doctor about a zinc supplement.

Zinc is an important trace mineral in the body. Aside from its primary roles in immune function, protein synthesis, and wound healing, there are some indications that zinc could be a potential contributor to allergy relief.

Although more clinical research is needed, you might feel that zinc could help with your allergies. Consult with your doctor before increasing zinc in your diet.

There are risks from excessive zinc, such as nausea, diarrhea and headaches. Zinc supplements also have the potential to interact with some medications including certain antibiotics and diuretics.