Best Zinc Supplements of 2021: Dosage, Benefits, Side Effects and Interactions

It's March 2021, there have been more than 90 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 2 million deaths, reported to WHO. While waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine, many are currently taking vitamin and mineral supplements to boost their immune system and help them fight off viruses like the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

Zinc is a powerful immune nutrient known for its benefits for providing immune health support and inflammation reduction as well as for improving cold and respiratory symptoms, wound healing, acne reduction, and lowering the risk of age-related diseases. Research on atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus suggests that zinc deficiency may contribute to low-grade systemic inflammation.

Aging is associated with compromised immunity, that just means that your immune response to pathogens and infections starts to slow and is less robust, including a reduced vaccine immune response/efficacy. ⁣

Improving zinc intake/zinc status improves/modulates/enhances immune function. The flip side is, while some aspects of immunity slow, others increase. Uncontrolled immune responses drive excess inflammation.

Zinc helps to balance all of this. ⁣

Even more popular at the moment is the role of zinc and the potential benefits against COVID-19. This is probably one of the reasons that's driving the demand on zinc related products.

Does zinc help treat COVID 19? In order to answer that question, there are many zinc studies underway and you can review the status of these trials on clinicaltrials.gov. As of March 2021, there are 19 studies that have been launched to investigate the benefits of Zinc against COVID-19.

While there are many food sources of zinc, including meat and shellfish, some people may be at a higher risk of not getting enough zinc in their diets (PubMed).

Are all zinc supplements the same? The zinc supplements in this review are all manufactured by reputable companies that follow Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP), use high quality ingredients, and test for purity and quality.

Here are the best zinc supplements to help you meet your nutritional needs. As everyone has their own set of criteria, the best option for you might be different from another person.

Best Zinc Supplements of 2021

1. Zinc Lozenges with Vitamin C - Healthy Immune Support Lozenges with 25mg of Zinc Supplement Per Lozenge + 30mg of Vitamin C - Best Seller

 

SHOP NOW AT AMAZON (AVAILABLE) - Amazon's Choice for Zinc Lozenges.

  • Nutritionally Supports a Healthy Immune System*
  • Formulated with a perfect balance of 25 mg of Zinc, 30 mg of Vitamin C, 2mg of Vitamin B6, and a Proprietary Blend of Royal Jelly, White Willow Bark Ext., and Slippery Elm Bark Powder
  • Almost TWICE the amount of zinc per lozenge of cold-EEZE zinc lozenges*
  • Fruit Flavored to provide children zinc lozenges without a large amount of added sugars
  • Internally tested and third party tested to ensure purity and potency so you get the highest quality vitamin
  • Made in the USA in a FDA Registered & Inspected Facility, under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP's)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

2. NOW Foods Zinc Glycinate Softgels - Best Chelated


SHOP NOW AT AMAZON (AVAILABLE)

Price: From $11.49

Amazon Reviews: 4.7 out of 5. More than 500 customer reviews.

Chelated zinc is a type of zinc supplement that uses a chelating agent to help your body absorb zinc more easily.

While there are several chelated zinc supplements on the market, one of the best options is NOW Foods’ Zinc Glycinate softgels.

Each softgel contains 30 mg of zinc glycinate — a form of zinc that human and animal studies suggest may be better absorbed than other types of zinc. (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

All NOW Foods supplements are certified by Underwriters Laboratories and follow GMP to ensure the quality and accuracy of their products. Additionally, these supplements tend to be more affordable than many other high quality brands.

3. Thorne Zinc Picolinat - Best Overall


SHOP NOW AT AMAZON (stock currently unavailable)

Price: $42 

Amazon Best Sellers: #7 in zinc mineral supplements

Amazon Reviews: 4.8 out of 5. More than 1,400 customer reviews.

This is the best overall option if quality is your most important consideration. However, the price is relatively higher as compared to other options listed below. 

Thorne Research is a supplement company that has its own dedicated scientists, labs, and research facilities for nutrition supplements.

All of their products are made in a lab that meets regulations and standards set by NSF International and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which is a regulatory body in Australia that’s responsible for assessing the safety of supplements.

Furthermore, their products are NSF Certified for Sport. This means that the products are tested to ensure the absence of more than 200 substances banned by many major athletic organizations.

Thorne Research’s Zinc Picolinate is one of the best zinc supplements on the market due to the company’s high quality standards, purity of ingredients, and form of zinc used.

Older research suggests that zinc picolinate may be one of the easiest forms of zinc for your body to digest and absorb (Trusted Source).

One tablet of this supplement provides 30 mg of zinc picolinate. For best results take one tablet per day, or as recommended by your healthcare provider.

4. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc - Best Vegan Option

SHOP NOW AT AMAZON (available)

Price: $10.49

Amazon Best Sellers: #2 in zinc mineral supplements

Amazon Reviews: 4.8 out of 5. More than 14,500 customer reviews.

While it’s not always obvious, some supplements can contain animal-derived ingredients, making the product unsuitable for vegans.

Some commonly used ingredients that aren’t vegan-friendly include digestive enzymes like lipase, caprylic acid from milk, gelatin, and magnesium stearate, which is often pork-derived.

Garden of Life is a whole-foods-based supplement brand with products that are certified organic and non-GMO verified.

Their Vitamin Code Raw Zinc is a good option for vegans, as it’s third-party tested to ensure the product is vegan, as well as gluten-free.

In addition to providing 30 mg of plant-based zinc, each serving also contains vitamin C, a raw organic fruit and vegetable blend, and live probiotics and enzymes to support healthy digestion.

It’s recommended that adults take one serving of 2 capsules per day with or without meals. For those who have difficulty swallowing pills, the capsules can also be opened to pour the contents into a glass of water or other beverage.

5. Nature's Bounty Zinc 50 mg Caplets 


SHOP NOW AT AMAZON (AVAILABLE)

Price: From $5.21

Amazon Reviews: 4.8 out of 5. More than 50,000 customer reviews on Amazon.com.

About this item:
  • This product is the #1 best seller under the zinc mineral supplements on Amazon Best Sellers and has more than 50,000 customer reviews on Amazon.
  • One vegetarian-friendly caplet a day contributes to carbohydrate, protein, fat and energy metabolism, and helps promote wellness in key areas of reproductive health for men.*
  • Plays a key role in the synthesis of testosterone.*
  • *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
  • During the summer months products may arrive warm but Amazon stores and ships products in accordance with manufacturers' recommendations, when provided.

6. Nature's Bounty Immune 24 Hour +  - Best Zinc Supplement for Seniors


SHOP NOW AT AMAZON (AVAILABLE)

Price: From $29.49

Amazon Reviews: 4.8 out of 5. More than 19,000 customer reviews on Amazon.com.

Zinc dosage for senior: Men over age 60 do not usually meet their recommended daily zinc needs. On average, males in this demographic get 9.4 milligrams per day, slightly less than the recommendation, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. In some cases, your doctor may suggest taking a daily multivitamin or zinc supplement to further boost your zinc intake. Zinc can be toxic at high doses, causing severe gastrointestinal problems. It is unlikely to get excessive amounts of zinc from your diet, but you can overdose on supplements. 

About this item:
  • Softgels contain Zinc (15 mg per serving daily; 136% of daily value), Vitamin A, C, D3, B6, B12, Biotin, Folate, Panthotenic Acid, Magnesium, Echinacea, Elderberry, Astralagus.
  • THE ONLY VITAMIN C WITH 24-HOUR IMMUNE SUPPORT: Nature's Bounty Immune 24 Hour + contains 1000mg of Ester-C, the only clinically studied Vitamin C with 24-hour immune support. Ester-C lasts up to 2x longer than regular Vitamin C
  • PLUS VITAMIN D & ZINC, WITH ELDERBERRY AND ECHINACEA: Immune 24 Hour + provides Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Zinc for extra immune plus antioxidant support. Also contains Elderberry and Echinacea, plus 9 essential nutrients to help keep you healthy
  • SUPPORTS UPPER RESPIRATORY HEALTH: Highly bioavailable Ester-C can increase Vitamin C levels in the body, which is important for white blood cell function, contributing to the health of the upper respiratory tract
  • NON-GMO FORMULA: Nature's Bounty Immune 24 Hour + is Non-GMO and contains No artificial flavor or artificial sweeteners, no sugar, no starch, no milk, no lactose, no soy, no gluten, no wheat, no yeast, no fish, sodium free
  • RAPID RELEASE SOFTGELS: For adults, Take 2 softgels daily, preferably with a meal.

7. NutriGold Zinc Gold - Best Organic

SHOP NOW AT AMAZON (stock currently unavailable)

Price: $18.38

If you’re looking for an organic zinc supplement, NutriGold’s Zinc Gold is one of the best options out there.

Each capsule contains 15 mg of whole-foods-based zinc that’s derived from an organic sprouted blend, which the supplement claims may be gentler on your stomach.

Additionally, NutritGold’s supplements are certified organic by SCS Global Services, an official partner of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that sets sustainability, quality, and organic standards.

Each product is also third-party tested, as well as non-GMO and vegan certified.

Adults should take 1 capsule daily, or as directed by your healthcare provider.

What to Look for in a Zinc Supplement

Type: Like most supplements, you can take zinc in a variety of ways. The most common types are capsule, pill, tablet, gummy, and liquid form. Gummies and liquid are definitely a better option for children or people who have trouble swallowing pills. However, keep in mind that gummies don’t offer the higher concentrated dosage as other types of zinc supplements, and, similarly to liquid formulas, may contain added sugars or sweeteners. 

Form: In case you didn’t notice, there are several forms of zinc as well. Zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, zinc acetate, and zinc glycinate are more easily absorbable than zinc sulfate—but generally cost more. 

Dosage: Pay attention to how many mg of zinc you need and what each pill, capsule, gummy, tablet, or liquid offers. Keep in mind that more isn’t necessarily better, as we all have different needs. Before taking any type of supplement, you should always check with your healthcare provider to establish what your needs are. How much zinc you should take per day depends on the type and forms of zinc, as each supplement contains a different amount of 'elemental zinc'. The percentage of elemental zinc varies by form.  For example, approximately 23% of zinc sulfate consists of elemental zinc; thus, 220 mg of zinc sulfate contains 50 mg of elemental zinc (NIH). Zinc picolinate (20% of elemental zinc), zinc ascorbate (15%), zinc chloride (48%), zinc carbonate (52%), zinc citrate (31%), zinc bisglycinate (25%) (Ref) and zinc gluconate (14%) and zinc oxide (80%) (Ref).

Purpose: Are you looking for a daily zinc supplement or an occasional immune booster? While some zinc offerings are meant to take once or twice a day to ensure you are getting enough zinc, others are meant to take several times a day for a few days.

Zinc Deficiency - Groups at High Risk

While there are many food sources of zinc, including meat and shellfish, some people may be at a higher risk of not getting enough zinc in their diets (PubMed).

Zinc deficiency in Infants and children

Young children are at greater risk of zinc deficiency because of increased zinc requirements during growth. Exclusively breast-fed infants of mothers with adequate zinc nutrition obtain sufficient zinc for the 1st 5-6 months of their life [PubMed]. After this age, complementary foods containing absorbable zinc are required to satisfy their requirements. In many low-income countries, complementary feeding is delayed and cereal foods are then used for feeding. These foods have low content of total and absorbable zinc and thus, fail to meet the needs for zinc. Conversely, early introduction of such foods may interfere with the absorption of zinc from breast milk due to their high phytate content [PubMed].

Zinc deficiency in Adolescents

The physiological requirements for zinc peak during adolescence at the time of the pubertal growth spurt, which generally occurs in girls between 10 years and 15 years and in boys between 12 years and 15 years. Even after the growth spurt has ceased, adolescents may require additional zinc to replenish depleted tissue zinc pools. [PubMed]

Zinc deficiency during Pregnancy and Lactation

Increased nutritional demands during pregnancy and lactation predispose women to zinc deficiency [PubMed]These demands are greater during lactation, although, physiological adjustments in zinc absorption help to meet the needs for lactation. A number of studies have demonstrated a negative impact of therapeutic supplemental iron on zinc absorption during pregnancy [PubMed] and lactation [PubMed]. In pregnant women where dietary intakes of zinc were low, supplemental iron, in dosages as low as 60 mg/day prevented them from meeting their needs for zinc [PubMed].

Zinc deficiency in Elderly

Diet surveys indicate that zinc intakes by elderly persons are often inadequate, even in rich countries [PubMed]Several factors may contribute to poor zinc nutrition among the elderly, in particular, reduced consumption of zinc-rich foods such as red meat. In addition, there is some evidence that the efficiency of zinc absorption may decrease with age.


Frequently Asked Questions

How to choose zinc supplements

When choosing a zinc supplement, it’s important to consider the type of zinc, dosage, and supplement form.

There are several types of zinc supplements. Some, such as zinc picolinate, may be better absorbed, while zinc acetate may be more effective at shortening the duration of the common cold (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Regarding the form, zinc supplements are available as capsules, lozenges, and liquids. For those who are unable or prefer not to swallow pills, liquid forms are likely a better option.

Before buying any supplement, it’s important to research high quality, trustworthy brands to ensure both safety and accuracy.

Look for supplements that are produced by reputable manufactures and free of large amounts of added ingredients like fillers, additives, and preservatives.

A good way to ensure the quality of a product is to look for ones that have been certified by a third-party company, such as NSF International or Underwriters Labs.

Types of Zinc Supplements

These various forms of zinc impact health in distinct ways.
  • Zinc gluconate: As one of the most common over-the-counter forms of zinc, zinc gluconate is often used in cold remedies, such as lozenges and nasal sprays (PubChem).
  • Zinc acetate: Like zinc gluconate, zinc acetate is often added to cold lozenges to reduce symptoms and speed up the rate of recovery (Trusted Source).
  • Zinc sulfate: In addition to helping prevent zinc deficiency, zinc sulfate has been shown to reduce the severity of acne (Trusted Source).
  • Zinc picolinate: Some research suggests that your body may absorb this form better than other types of zinc, including zinc gluconate and zinc citrate (Trusted Source).
  • Zinc orotate: This form is bound to orotic acid and one of the most common types of zinc supplements on the market (PubChem).
  • Zinc citrate: One study showed that this type of zinc supplement is as well-absorbed as zinc gluconate but has a less bitter, more appealing taste (Trusted Source).
Because it’s one of the most widely available and cost-effective forms of zinc, zinc gluconate can be a good option to help bump up your intake without breaking your bank.

However, if you’re able to invest a bit more, zinc picolinate may be better absorbed.

Available in capsule, tablet, and lozenge form, there are plenty of options to get your daily dose of zinc — regardless of the type you choose.

However, keep in mind that nasal sprays containing zinc have been linked to loss of smell and should be avoided (Trusted Source, Trusted Source).

Side Effects: Can You Take Too Much Zinc Supplement?

How much zinc should I take daily? As for dosage, the recommended daily dosage for adults is typically 15–30 mg of elemental zinc per day. Elemental zinc is generally the amount listed on the label of your supplement (Trusted SourceTrusted Source).

Taking zinc long term is typically safe for healthy adults, as long as the daily dose is under the set upper limit of 40 mg of elemental zinc (PubMed). Be aware that typical daily doses of zinc provided by zinc lozenges generally exceed tolerable upper limits for zinc, and for this reason, they should not be used for longer than about a week

Taking too much zinc can cause adverse side effects, such as decreased immune function, low copper levels, and reduced HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, crab, lobster, mussels, red meat, and poultry. Cereals are often fortified with zinc. Most multivitamin and nutritional supplements also contain zinc.

Zinc Benefits

Zinc is vital for many aspects of health and has been associated with a variety of benefits.
  • May Improve Immune Function
  • May Promote Blood Sugar Control
  • Helps Fight Acne
  • May Improve Heart Health
  • Slows Macular Degeneration

Interactions between zinc, copper, iron and phosphorus

Do not take zinc supplements and copper, iron, or phosphorus supplements at the same time. It is best to space doses of these products 2 hours apart, to get the full benefit from each dietary supplement.

Copper and zinc compete for absorption sites in the small intestine. If there's a lot of zinc around, copper tends to lose out and a copper deficiency may develop.

Bottom line

Zinc is an essential nutrient that you need to get enough of in your diet. However, as not everyone is able to meet their need through foods alone, supplements can help reduce the risk of a zinc deficiency.

Of course, not all supplements are created equal. It’s important to look for high quality products that have been tested to ensure quality and accuracy.

If you’re concerned about your zinc intake, it’s worth speaking with your healthcare provider to see if a zinc supplement is a good option, as well as to determine an optimal dose.


Adapted version of the Original Article from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-zinc-supplement

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