The significance of the source of zinc and its anti-VSC effect

Int Dent J. 2002 Jun;52 Suppl 3:233-5. doi: 10.1002/j.1875-595x.2002.tb00931.x.


The anti-VSC (volatile sulphur compounds) effect of zinc is known to be associated with free zinc ions.

Objective: To examine whether zinc salts with low stability constants were more suitable as sources of zinc in zinc lozenges than zinc salts with high stability constants. The former provide free zinc ions upon dissolution in water, whereas the latter provide few such ions.

Design and participants: Identical lozenges were produced which contained either zinc acetate, zinc gluconate (low stability constants), zinc citrate or amino-acid chelated zinc (extremely high stability constants). All the lozenges contained 0.1 per cent of zinc. A test panel of 10 volunteers used the different lozenges randomly. VSC were measured by GC.

Results and conclusion: The lozenge with the highest stability constant was as effective as those with very low stability constants. The anti-VSC effect was thus not related to this constant. These findings may be explained by the possibility that alternative ligands with stronger affinity for zinc than the original ligands in the lozenges may be present in the oral cavity. An in vitro experiment indicated that the sulphide ion (S2-) may be such a ligand.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chelating Agents / chemistry
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Citrates / administration & dosage
  • Citrates / therapeutic use
  • Cysteine
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gluconates / administration & dosage
  • Gluconates / therapeutic use
  • Halitosis / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / analysis
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / chemistry
  • Ligands
  • Male
  • Solubility
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Sulfur Compounds / analysis
  • Sulfur Compounds / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Sulfur Compounds / chemistry
  • Tablets
  • Water / chemistry
  • Zinc / administration & dosage
  • Zinc / chemistry
  • Zinc / therapeutic use*
  • Zinc Acetate / administration & dosage
  • Zinc Acetate / therapeutic use


  • Amino Acids
  • Chelating Agents
  • Citrates
  • Gluconates
  • Ligands
  • Sulfur Compounds
  • Tablets
  • Water
  • Zinc Acetate
  • Zinc
  • Cysteine
  • Hydrogen Sulfide