You’ve likely heard of the element zinc and know that it’s important for human health, but how much do you really know of how it affects your body?
After all it is a trace element found in small amounts in the body!
The following 21 facts illustrate how important having the appropriate amount of zinc is for maintaining health and look at how plays an important role in our health from the time we are infants until our old age.
We’re going to list our favorite zinc supplements and then tell you a little more about their benefits, dosages, and answer some common questions.
Top Zinc Supplements
1. Vitamin Code® RAW Zinc
Vitamin Code Raw Zinc is a fantastic supplement that is made with the best ingredients and paired with an amazing blend of synergistic ingredients.
They pack 30mg of whole food zinc with vitamin C, a blend of 23 other fruits and vegetables, and 75 alkalizing trace minerals to add antioxidants. That is already amazing, but they don’t stop there, because they add in a probiotic blend to boost gut health and support the digestion and absorption of the zinc.
This blend of ingredients supports your nervous system, strengthens your immune system, improves your gut health, helps metabolize other nutrients and vitamins, and much more.
All of Vitamin Code’s ingredients are raw, which means that they are minimally processed and retain their natural cofactors. This ensures that you get the maximum benefit from every one of the amazing ingredients included in this supplement.
There is no denying that this is a fantastic supplement. That’s why Vitamin Code Raw Zinc is our number 1 zinc supplement of 2020.
2. Thorne Research – Zinc Picolinate
Thorne Research has definitely done their research when it comes to their zinc supplement. They use zinc picolinate, which has been shown to be one of the most absorbable and bioavailable forms of zinc possible.
Picolinic acid is an amino acid that has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the nervous system, the immune system, and help in the absorption of zinc in some people. Zinc picolinate binds the zinc with this powerful amino acid to boost its effectiveness and bioavailability.
Thorne provides this fantastic form of zinc with no artificial preservatives, no gluten, no eggs, no dairy, and no high fructose corn syrup.
In a normal zinc supplement only a fraction of the zinc ends up being processed by your body. With Thorne you will see more benefits because your body is able to use more of the zinc.
It’s a great choice.
3. Bio Zinc
Bio Zinc doesn’t settle for less. Using clinical research they have designed one of the most potent zinc supplements you can find.
It includes three different kinds of the most bioavailable forms of zinc to increase the chance that your body is able to absorb and benefit from the zinc. These three different kinds of zinc — zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, and Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, all great on their own, but together they’re even better.
On top of this, they include vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 has great benefits on its own, like increased skin and nerve health, but it has also been shown to assist in the absorption of zinc. This makes bio zinc even more powerful.
Bio zinc is a fantastic product, that is designed to make sure you get the most out of their supplement.
4. Good State Liquid Ionic Zinc Ultra Concentrate
Good State keeps it simple so that your body can do more. Their Liquid Ionic Zinc Concentrate packs a huge amount of zinc. As a liquid your body is able to absorb it faster, and you don’t have to take any nasty pills.
Their claim to fame is that they use ionized zinc, this basically means that the molecules of zinc have either a negative or positive charge. This means they either have too many or too few electrons, but this is a good thing. This is how many trace minerals will show up in nature, and it’s how they bind to the molecules in your body to become usable. What this means for you is that Good State’s zinc is designed, on a molecular scale, to bind better and be more bioavailable.
This means that their supplement will help you get all the benefits that zinc brings, but faster.
5. Bulk Supplements Zinc Gluconate
If you’re looking for pure zinc, then this is the supplement for you. Bulk supplements’ zinc gluconate is just that, zinc gluconate and nothing else.
Zinc gluconate is a highly bioavailable form of zinc and is one of the most common forms you’ll find in supplements, but there’s a reason for that. It’s inexpensive, and easy for your body to digest. It’s formed from a small amount of elemental zinc(about 15%) delivered by gluconic acid, which occurs naturally in fruits and helps your body absorb the zinc. When combined your body has a much easier time of utilizing and processing the elemental zinc.
Because it’s in powder form they don’t need to include any extra ingredients. There are no extra ingredients for a capsule. No binders and no fillers. It’s as pure of a supplement as you’ll find anywhere. A great pick for anyone who just wants zinc without any extra stuff getting in the way. Just mix it with some water or juice and you’re good to go.
6. Natures Bounty Zinc
Nature’s bounty provides a fantastic, vegetarian, zinc supplement to help you get through the day. It provides you with a massive 50mg per serving. That’s over 3 x the recommended daily minimum.
The form of zinc they use is called zinc gluconate, which is one of the more common forms of zinc, but with good reason. It’s proven itself to be effective during flu season, boosting immunities as well as a myriad of other things.
It’s non-GMO, with no added sugars, no added fillers, and no preservatives. It’s simple zinc and nothing else.
It may be simple, but there’s not much more you could ask for in a zinc supplement.
7. 21st Century Zinc Chewable
21st Century stacks the immune-boosting powers of zinc with that of vitamin C and Vitamin B6 for an amazingly powerful supplement.
The zinc strengthens your immune system, improves your gut health, and actually helps your body process the other two ingredients. Vitamin C is well known to help the immune system as well as overall health. Vitamin B6 helps maintain nerve health, skin health and helps the body produce red blood cells.
Together they make a potent cocktail that will help you get through the flu season and stay healthy all year round.
8. Nature Made Zinc Tabs
Nature Mades’ zinc supplement doesn’t have any gimmicks or add-ons. It’s simply a good zinc supplement backed by one of the most trusted names in the supplement industry.
You can trust that Nature Made’s supplements use high-quality ingredients, no artificial colorings, fillers, or preservatives. They are obsessed with quality, research, and simplicity.
There’s not much to say here other than that this is a solid, simple, choice if you want a simple zinc supplement.
OptiZinc is specifically designed to be more bioavailable than just about any other form of zinc. It uses a patented version of zinc monomethionine, a powerful, cutting edge form of zinc.
Methionine is a relatively common amino acid that is extremely easy for your body to absorb. OptiZinc uses a 1:1 ratio of zinc to methionine. By binding these two together it makes a unique form of zinc that your body laps up.
The only reason this is further down the list is that zinc monomethionine is still being studied. So we can’t say for certain that it is as bioavailable as it claims. However, several preclinical studies have shown it to be very promising.
It’s an excellent choice, and has the possibility of being a number 1 contender once a little more research is done.
10. Jarrow Formulas Zinc Balance
Zinc balance is an impressive, immune system supporting supplement that isn’t afraid to do things differently.
Their supplement contains Zinc L-Monomethionine and Copper Gluconate in a 15:1 ratio. This unique combo is meant to support and protect the antioxidants in your body by resisting the interference from certain natural acids.
On top of this unique benefit, you have all the benefits of a normal zinc supplement. You get an improved immune system, better neurologic function, and increased testosterone levels in men.
Zinc balance is a very solid supplement. However, more research needs to be done into Zinc L-Monomethionine before we can move it further up our list.
Benefits of Zinc Supplements
Zinc deficiency is common
Though you may not have heard much about it before, zinc deficiency is pretty common. In fact, this vital element is found in inadequate amounts in nearly two billion people around the world (1).
This makes zinc deficiency an important health concern for all countries, as countries with better production and standards of living typically have lower levels of zinc deficiency.
Because of the devastating effects zinc deficiency can have on one’s health, one should maintain a healthy balance of zinc in the body. Studies have indicated that even those living in Western countries could be at risk of minor zinc deficiencies.
This means that no one should consider themselves safe from this nutrient complication and should take active measures to make sure that they have adequate amounts of zinc in the body to perform important bodily functions.
Zinc levels can determine the health in the body
Zinc is one of the three-most abundant elements found in the human body (1). This is because zinc plays an important role in many of the body’s functions.
These roles include having an effect on the immune system, reproduction, growth, and the body’s defense mechanisms against free radicals. Because of this, it’s important that the body have the correct balance of zinc at all times.
Having zinc deficiencies can lead to various health problems that are seen in underdeveloped parts of the world. Additionally, zinc plays important roles as an ion in the body, furthering its importance in the body’s processes.
Not only does zinc work to improve the speed of many processes critical to basic health, but it also works as a signal to keep you vital, fit, and focused.
Talk about the next fit and focused drug.
Zinc deficiency increases your risk of infection
Medical studies have indicated that Zinc deficiencies are associated with an increased risk of infectious diseases (2). This means that having the adequate amount of zinc in our systems is an integral part of maintaining a healthy immune system.
However, for many people in underdeveloped countries, getting the proper amount of zinc in their daily diet is challenging. This leads many, including millions of children, to having zinc deficiency.
This increases the risk of infection for those living in third-world and developing nations, placing the general population at greater risks of morbidity from infections. So, that lagging cold you have may be easily squashed with some more zinc.
Zinc boosts your thyroid health
Zinc plays an important role in the healthy and normal function of the thyroid (3). The amount of zinc we intake has a direct effect on the thyroid, making zinc an important nutrient to monitor in patients with thyroid problems.
However, a recent study conducted on Iranian schoolchildren showed no statistical significance between low zinc levels and the prevalence of goiters in children (3).
This suggests that other factors should be used to explain the rate of goiters in children and that the effects of zinc on the thyroid are still not fully clear. However, your thyroid is the furnace of your body.
When it’s in good health, your metabolism is going full speed ahead, when your thyroid isn’t healthy you can stop fat loss in its tracks. Having zinc may not reverse conditions like Hashimoto’s or goiters, but it seems that zinc plays a role in optimal thyroid health.
Zinc improves your baby’s health
Because zinc has been identified as a key nutrient in helping our immune systems fight off infections, a study was conducted examining the effects of the intake of zinc had on babies between the ages of one and nine months.
The study was conducted in India and sought to examine if zinc had any benefits for infants of this age. The study concluded that there was a significant reduction in infant mortality rates (2). In fact, the study reported a reduction of 68% mortality in low-income infants in India. This suggests that zinc supplements can play an important role in the reduction of infant mortality in underdeveloped and developing countries.
Zinc reduces your risk of upset stomach
Diarrhea and pneumonia are leading causes of death in developing countries. Though these complications can arise from a variety of different conditions, a study was conducted to test the hypothesis of whether or not zinc deficiency could make people—specifically children—more susceptible to acquiring these two conditions.
The study used randomized controlled trials to see if ingestion of zinc supplements had an effect at reducing the rate of diarrhea and pneumonia in children in developing countries (4). Fortunately, the study concluded that a zinc could significantly reduce the rate and morbidity of these conditions, establishing a new way for these patients to be treate
For you, it can be smart to supplement with zinc if you’re traveling to a new country just to keep your body protected against any new bacteria, foods, and other environmental factors.
Zinc boosts testosterone, naturally
With the average men’s testosterone levels worse than ever before, testosterone boosting supplements have become a massive market. No one wants to have a limp noodle down there.
That being said, where there is a ton of money, there are many lies. However zinc isn’t one of them.
Studies have indicated that zinc plays an important role in the proper functioning of the testicles and in testosterone production (4). This is because zinc has been linked to a condition known as hypogonadism, a condition in which the testes in males do not function as they should.
Young boys are particularly at risk of acquiring hypogonadism from zinc deficiency, as it interrupts the normal stage of puberty, leaving boys with decreased testosterone levels and sperm output. This can lead to life-changing and serious consequences of boys who are infected. This makes having enough zinc in the diet especially important for young and pubescent boys to ensure that they grow normally.
Zinc is extremely affordable
We’ve seen how important zinc is to the human body, and we’ve noted several times that zinc deficiency is a serious health concern for billions across the globe, mainly in developing countries. Because of this, a study sought to see how much it would cost in order for India to have a program where food was fortified with zinc in order to help reduce rates of zinc deficiency (5). The study concluded that large-scale programs to reduce zinc deficiency through bio fortification are a cost-effective way to significantly reduce rates of zinc deficiency.
Even if you’re looking to buy a supplement, they won’t cost an arm or a leg. In fact, according to consumerlab.com, you can get zinc for under 5 cents a day (6).
Recommended dosage of zinc
For most adults it’s recommended that you take between 15-30mg per day. However, if you’re pregnant then you may require more.
Too much zinc can be toxic
Though the article has so far stressed the importance of having enough zinc in the diet in terms of zinc deficiency, it’s also possible to have too much zinc in the diet. This can happen from the overconsumption of certain products, such as medication.
A case study done on a patient, a twenty-seven-year-old male, reveals some of the complications of having too much zinc (7). These complications arose from taking too much acne medication that had an abundance of zinc. This led the man to being extremely fatigued and having dyspnea for four weeks.
In addition, he had a systolic ejection murmur and changes in his pulse, compounded severe cases of anemia and neutropenia. This illustrates the importance having a healthy balance of zinc in the body, showing the various health complications that having too much zinc can cause.
If you are taking or will take any medication for extended periods of time, especially acne medication, it imperative you ask your doctor if it could affect your zinc levels in a negative way.
If you’re low in zinc you may need more iron
Iron and zinc deficiencies, like peanut butter and jelly, often go hand-in-hand (8).
Studies have indicated that the same populations who suffer from zinc deficiency also suffer from iron deficiency. The standard treatment for both is having additional nutritional supplementation to help offset the effects of malnutrition.
Though iron supplementation has been linked to negative side effects even in those who are malnourished, zinc supplementation presents no serious side effects for those who are already suffering from a zinc deficiency.
This makes zinc supplementation a safe and effective method of counteracting a zinc deficiency. When taken together, zinc and iron supplements do not appear to have interfering effects with one another, meaning they may be taken at the same time (9).
Zinc is still a mysterious element
Despite all the research about zinc that has already been conducted, one study issued the need for further studies to be conducted in regard to zinc and the human body (10). This means that the effects of zinc on the human body are not yet well-known or fully understood. The paper calls for a better understanding of how zinc affects our bodies and how it can be used to help prevent and treat diseases in underdeveloped nations.
Furthermore, it notes that we need to further research and understand the effects zinc has on the body even in cases that have been well-documented. This increased focus on zinc and its effects bears exciting possibilities in the field of nutrition and in helping developing nations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does zinc support digestion?
Zinc has the ability to promote ion absorption and reduce rates of ion secretion (11). In other words, zinc helps promote the absorption of necessary nutrients and ions that help our bodies function.
This helps you avoid bloating and keeps your body functioning the best it can.
Should I take zinc if I have diarrhea?
It may help prevent it in the future, but zinc likely won’t help in acute cases of diarrhea.
We have seen how zinc can help prevent the onset and severity of diarrhea in developing countries, but other studies have indicated that zinc has no statistical significance when used as a treatment for acute diarrhea (12).
This does not mean that zinc is not effective against diarrhea as a whole, rather that it should not be used as a treatment when children suffer from acute diarrhea. This study was conducted on Turkish children and monitored the amount of zinc in their blood plasma over a fourteen-day period.
Even though they had a significant rise of the amount of zinc in their plasma, they saw no significant benefit in using zinc supplementation against cases of acute diarrhea.
Does zinc help slow aging?
Possibly, but the jury is still out here. Much of the literature concerning the benefits of zinc supplementation involves children and the immune system. However, at least one study set out to see if zinc could help the age-related deterioration of the immune system (13).
The study noted that the immune system loses functionality as we age, and it sought to know if zinc could alleviate these problems.
The results were two-fold. Though it found that zinc supplementation at moderate levels could help maintain a healthy immune system, increased levels of zinc supplementation could worsen these age-related problems.
This indicates that further research needs to be done to better understand how zinc supplementation affects the elderly, and that elderly patients should closely monitor their zinc levels for optimum health.
Does zinc help eyesight?
Zinc, in combination with antioxidants- or just in high doses- is seen to reduce the progression of degenerative eye disorders such as Age-Related Macular degeneration (14).
As the leading cause of blindness, age-related macular degeneration is something you should be working to prevent to keep your health in top shape, especially as you age.
Does zinc help you sleep?
Unfortunately, not really. One commonly sold zinc supplement is a ZMA complex. This is a combination of zinc, magnesium, and aspartate. Mainly, it is taken at night to help you achieve deeper and more restful sleep to recover faster from a tough day of training.
However, there is little scientific proof that the zinc works to improve your sleep quality (15). In fact, the FDA loosely regulates marketing claims on supplements so Its recommended you look to third-party independent research, as presented here, to know if a supplement works and will help your health.
Does zinc improve coordination?
In cases where people are zinc deficient, yes. A study measured the effects of zinc supplementation on Jamaican children to see if zinc supplementation had any effect on coordination (16). The results were clear: zinc supplementation helps children in underdeveloped countries and other children who may be malnourished and experiencing zinc deficiencies.
The study noted that zinc and stimulation together produced the greatest effects on a child’s coordination, and that zinc supplementation had significant effects in reducing the rate of diarrhea in children, but that it was not significant in helping improve growth.
This connects with a body of literature of the effects of zinc supplementation in children, providing further evidence that zinc supplementation should be enacted and encouraged in underdeveloped nations.
How effective is zinc at preventing disease?
The data seems to show that the younger you are the more effective it is at preventing disease. We have noted that zinc plays an important role in our immune function. Because of this, a study was conducted to see how effective zinc is at preventing disease in infants (17).
The study’s conclusion that zinc could help reduce the rates of certain diseases may come as no surprise, but some important information was revealed. The study found that zinc can significantly reduce rates of infection in infants with lower birth rates. This establishes a correlation between zinc and birthweight.
Does zinc help protect against malaria?
The effectiveness of zinc as a preventative measure against malaria in children in developing countries seems to be age-dependent (18). This means that the age of the child affected the utility of using zinc as a protective measure against acquiring malaria.
Additionally, as the study focused on zinc and iron supplementation together, they found that those who took both zinc and iron supplementation had a better chance of reducing the risk of contracting malaria as opposed to those who just took zinc supplementation, though both control groups saw a reduction in the risk of contracting malaria.
Children less than five years of age seemed to benefit most from zinc supplementation in regard to malaria, with the biggest reduction in risk coming from a combination of zinc and iron supplementation, followed by supplementation of zinc alone.
Iron supplementation had no statistical effect at reducing the rate of malaria when not used in combination of zinc.
Should I take zinc and copper together?
Be careful about this. Your intestines are one smart organ. Only a millimeter separates your blood stream from the outside world, but your body has figured out how to get in the nutrients you need and keep out the rest (for the most part).
In your intestines, zinc and copper compete for absorption because they’re similar. If you take high doses of zinc that can actually put you at risk for copper deficiency because you’ll be absorbing more zinc and letting the copper pass right by (19).
This works in the blood stream as well. If you have excess copper building up in your body, from Wilson’s disease or something similar, supplementing with zinc will help reduce copper stores in your cells and joints (20).
Zinc plays a crucial role in several important bodily functions, and has a direct influence on our health. However, unless you’re already deficient in zinc supplementing may be going too far.
By maintaining a healthy amount of zinc in your body through eating a variety of nuts, seeds, and healthy meats through your day you can help support your immune system and promote your general health overall.