- Alkyl tin, aryl tin, blend-a-med Pro-Expert, bronze, canfieldite, cassiterite, CrestÂ® Pro-Health, cylindrite, eallite, metallic tin, methyl tin, native tin, organotin, pewter, Purlytinâ„¢, rostaporfin, Sn, SnCl2, SnF2, SnMP, SnO, SnO2, SnPP, stannic, stannite, stannosis, stannous, stannous chloride, stannous fluoride, stannsoporfin, stannum (Latin), tin chloride, tin colloid, tin dioxide, tin ethyl etiopurpurin, tin mesoporphyrin, tin oxide, tin protoporphyrin, tin[II] chloride, tin[II]fluoride, tin[II] oxide, tin[IV] dioxide, tributyltin oxide, tricyclohexyltin hydroxide, triethyltin, trimethyltin.
- Tin is a metallic element that forms alloys with other metals, conferring strength and hardness. It is relatively scarce and is not currently mined in the United States.
- Inorganic tin compounds are used in toothpaste, perfumes, processed foods, and soaps. Organic tin compounds are used in plastics, pesticides, paints, wood preservatives, and rodent repellants. In general, organic tin compounds are the product of human activities and do not occur in nature.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for tin. Tin is an ultratrace element in humans. It has been suggested that the amount of tin found in a healthy diet should be the value used to describe appropriate intake. Tin deficiency has been described in animals, but not in humans.
- Daily intakes of tin from air, food, and water are small. The natural content of tin in plant and animal tissues is low. Tin is present in natural water only in trace amounts. Diet is the primary source of tin in humans. The main source of dietary tin is foods that have been stored in tin-lined cans.
- Fluoride prevents cavities due to antibacterial and mineralization properties. Stannous fluoride (tin fluoride) has been used as a vehicle for fluoride in toothpastes and mouthwashes since the 1950s.
- Occupational exposure to some forms of tin may cause lung disease, stomach cancer, and organ damage.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Since before the 1950s, fluoride (in the form of sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride (tin fluoride), sodium monofluorophosphate, or acidulated phosphate fluoride) has been used in treatments such as toothpastes and mouthwashes to effectively prevent cavities. The efficacy of the treatment depends on the concentration of fluoride, the frequency and duration of application, and to a certain extent, the fluoride compound used.
Clinical research shows that topical application of 0.4% stannous fluoride gel for 2-4 weeks relieves the symptoms of dentinal hypersensitivity. The effects of tin alone cannot be determined, and additional research is needed.
Use of stannous fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouthwashes has been shown to be associated with significant antigingivitis effects. The effects of tin alone cannot be determined, and additional research is needed.
In adults with documented, reproducible halitosis (bad breath), brushing with a tin-containing sodium fluoride toothpaste significantly reduced bad breath compared with brushing with a standard commercial sodium fluoride toothpaste. Additional research is needed in this area.
In early studies, tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP, stannsoporfin) and tin protoporphyrin (SnPP) have been used to treat hyperbilirubinemia (a high blood level of bilirubin) in newborns. However, these compounds are also photosensitizing agents and release toxic oxygen species. More high-quality research is needed to determine safety and efficacy.
Photodynamic therapy uses photosensitizing drugs and nonthermal light to selectively eliminate defined areas of tissue, with minimal damage to surrounding areas. Evidence showed closure of new blood vessels in the choroid layer of the eye within 24 hours of treatment with tin etiopurpurin (tin ethyl purpurin, rostaporfin, Purlytinâ„¢). Further research is needed.
Use of stannous fluoride-containing toothpastes and mouthwashes has been shown to be associated with significant antiplaque effects. The effects of tin alone cannot be determined, and further research is needed.
*Key to grades:
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (18 years and older)
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for tin. It has been suggested that the amount of tin found in a healthy diet is an appropriate intake.
- Tin has been used as toothpaste, gel, and mouth rinse containing stannous fluoride (tin fluoride), and as toothpaste containing tin and sodium fluoride (CrestÂ® Pro-Health).
Children (under 18 years old)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for tin in children.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
- Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to tin or tin-containing products.
Side Effects and Warnings
- Tin is likely safe at the levels normally found in food.
- Although 90% of cans used to package food today are lacquered, storage of canned foods in the original container after opening enhances tin release into the food and should be avoided.
- Although tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP, stannsoporfin) and tin protoporphyrin (SnPP) may be useful in the treatment of jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), these compounds are photosensitizing agents and release toxic oxygen species. Long-term safety must be established before they can be used clinically.
- Tin may cause cholangitis of the lower biliary tract, eye irritation, gastrointestinal problems (such as abdominal distension and pain, vomiting, and diarrhea), gum damage, headache, kidney problems, liver damage, lower blood levels of iron or vitamin D, slowed growth, nervous system disorders (such as mental problems or brain, spinal cord, and nerve damage), red blood cell disorders (such as anemia or lowered hematocrit or hemoglobin), secondary Fanconi syndrome, skin irritation, or tissue necrosis in periodontal pockets.
- Use caution when administering tin parenterally (through the veins), as this may be toxic and cause kidney damage.
- Avoid chronic or occupational exposure, as inhalation of tin oxide dust or fumes may lead to stannosis or other acute or chronic respiratory disease. Organic tin compounds may also be absorbed through the skin and may affect the central nervous system and cause psychiatric effects ranging from subtle behavioral changes to psychosis. Tin mining my lead to increased risk of gastric cancer.
- Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Although not well studied in humans, occupational exposure of pregnant women to low levels of tin is associated with increased risk of stillbirth.
- Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to tin or tin-containing products.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- Tin is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
- Although not well studied in humans, occupational exposure of pregnant women to low levels of tin is associated with increased risk of stillbirth.
- Tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP, stannsoporfin) and tin protoporphyrin (SnPP) have been used experimentally to prevent and treat jaundice (yellowing of the skin) in newborns. However, these compounds are also photosensitizing agents and release toxic oxygen species. More high-quality research is needed to determine safety and efficacy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Interactions with Drugs
- Tin may alter the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be altered in the blood and may cause increased or decreased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients using any medications should check the package insert, and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
- Tin compounds may also interact with antibiotics, dental and periodontal agents, agents that affect the immune system, or photosensitizing agents.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
- Tin may alter the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high or too low in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
- Tin compounds may also interact with antibacterials, calcium, copper, D-aspartate, dental and periodontal agents, foods that have been packaged in tin cans, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, iron, L-glutamate, manganese, photosensitizing agents, rubidium, selenium, vitamin D, or zinc.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
- This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().
- Aschner M, Gannon M, Kimelberg HK. Interactions of trimethyl tin (TMT) with rat primary astrocyte cultures: altered uptake and efflux of rubidium, L-glutamate and D-aspartate. Brain Res 1992;582(2):181-5.
- Blunden S, Wallace T. Tin in canned food: a review and understanding of occurrence and effect. Food Chem Toxicol 2003;41(12):1651-62.
- Caussy D, Gochfeld M, Gurzau E, et al. Lessons from case studies of metals: investigating exposure, bioavailability, and risk. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2003;56(1):45-51.
- Chang LW. The neurotoxicology and pathology of organomercury, organolead, and organotin. J Toxicol Sci 1990;Suppl 4:125-51.
- Feng X, Chen X, Cheng R, et al. Breath malodor reduction with use of a stannous-containing sodium fluoride dentifrice: a meta-analysis of four randomized and controlled clinical trials. Am J Dent 2010;23 Spec No B:27B-31B.
- Funk JA, Gohlke J, Kraft AD, et al. Voluntary exercise protects hippocampal neurons from trimethyltin injury: Possible role of interleukin-6 to modulate tumor necrosis factor receptor-mediated neurotoxicity. Brain Behav Immun 2011 Mar 22. [Epub ahead of print].
- Gunsolley JC. A meta-analysis of six-month studies of antiplaque and antigingivitis agents. J Am Dent Assoc 2006;137(12):1649-57.
- Marinova G. [Problems of interrupted pregnancy among working women]. Akush Ginekol (Sofiia) 1978;17(6):412-7.
- Niederman R. Stannous fluoride toothpastes reduce the gingival index more than sodium fluoride toothpastes. Evid Based Dent 2007;8(3):74-5.
- Nielsen FH. How should dietary guidance be given for mineral elements with beneficial actions or suspected of being essential? J Nutr 1996;126(9 Suppl):2377S-2385S.
- Paraskevas S, van der Weijden GA. A review of the effects of stannous fluoride on gingivitis. J Clin Periodontol 2006 Jan;33(1):1-13.
- RÃ¼del H. Case study: bioavailability of tin and tin compounds. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2003;56(1):180-9.
- Stephen KW. The value of anti-caries and anti-plaque dentifrices at a community level. Adv Dent Res 1995;9(2):127-8.
- Thrash WJ, Dodds MW, Jones DL. The effect of stannous fluoride on dentinal hypersensitivity. Int Dent J 1994;44(1 Suppl 1):107-18.
- Winship KA. Toxicity of tin and its compounds. Adverse Drug React Acute Poisoning Rev 1988;7(1):19-38.
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.