advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
A Threat From the Zinc in Denture Adhesive?

Are you familiar with the problem of zinc toxicity due to long term denture adhesive use? I have a friend with severe neuropathy from this. 

A
Answer (Published 11/17/2011)

Yes, I am aware of this problem. Concerns about zinc in denture adhesives surfaced in 2008 with publication of a study in the journal Neurology by researchers at Texas Southwestern Medical School. They reported on four patients who were found to have abnormally high zinc levels in their blood; all told their doctors that they had been using very large amounts of denture cream, the adhesive that holds dentures in place. The products that were implicated were Fixodent, from Procter & Gamble, and three types of Poligrip from GlaxoSmithKline. All contained small amounts of zinc.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Your Personal Care - Thousands of people have benefited from Dr. Weil's nutritional supplement recommendations, designed to complement your lifestyle and optimize your health. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation today.

The Texas study was widely reported and featured on the ABC news program 20/20 along with patients who suffered severe neurological damage as a result of using excessive amounts of denture adhesive. After this study was published, a physician at Vanderbilt University determined that 11 patients who had low copper levels and had developed crippling disabilities were also using too much denture adhesive. Reportedly, one death has been linked to overuse of these products. 

Some of these patients reported that their problems began with numbness and tingling in their fingers and toes and eventually progressed to crippling nerve damage. Some ended up in wheelchairs or now need canes to walk. A number of similarly affected patients have since come forward and joined a class action suit against Procter & Gamble. (GlaxoSmithKlein has settled cases brought against it and announced in early 2010 that it would no longer distribute the three Poligrip products. It introduced reformulated zinc-free products  in the spring of 2010.)

We all need some zinc for good health, but when you get too much, you can deplete your copper stores, as the two minerals compete for absorption into the body. Small amounts of copper are essential for normal growth and health. Along with iron, copper is required for the formation of red blood cells; it also influences the functioning of the heart and arteries, helps prevent bone defects such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, and promotes development of healthy connective tissue. And, as in the cases of the excessive use of denture adhesives, when high zinc levels interfere with copper absorption, serious and irreversible neurological problems can develop.

The denture wearers who got into trouble were those whose dentures didn't fit properly. To keep them in place, these individuals used much more than the recommended amounts of denture adhesives, some going through a tube that should last six to eight weeks in just two days. Anyone doing this could be at risk for neurological damage. Fixodent remains on the market, but Procter & Gamble has added a warning label cautioning consumers to use the product only as directed and that excessive and prolonged use is associated with serious health problems.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here