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Contents of this Article
- Top 10 Zinc Products Compared
- Frequently Asked Questions About Zinc Supplements
- Final Thoughts
As you probably already know, overall health is highly dependent on your diet.
You need to consume certain vitamins and minerals in your diet every day, because your body is not capable of storing all of them.
One of these minerals in zinc.
Zinc is important to cellular function, and because the body can’t store zinc, it is considered an essential mineral.
In order to help you find a good product we’ve researched & compared the best zinc supplements on the market right now.
Top 10 Zinc Products Compared
1. Now Foods Zinc Picolinate
Now Foods Zinc Picolinate comes in the form of capsules and is an all-natural zinc picolinate, which is zinc that is chelated to picolinic acid. This is one of the most bioavailable forms of zinc. Zinc picolinate has a higher rate of mineral uptake in bodily tissues than other forms of chelated zinc.
- 50mg Zinc Picolinate per serving
- High bioavailability
- All natural
Who makes it: This is a product made by NOW Foods, a company founded by Elwood Richard. NOW Foods has a reputation for environmentally sustainable, affordable, and all-natural products. The company was created in 1968 and is one of the pioneers of the natural supplement industry. NOW foods supplements can help you improve your health, and they make one of the top zinc supplements on the market.
Bottom line: It is produced by a trustworthy manufacturer, with a great reputation. The supplement is all natural and offers superior bioavailability by using zinc in the form of zinc picolinate. It provides a quality dosage of zinc, at an affordable price.
|Where to Buy Now Foods Zinc Picolinate|
2. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Zinc
Garden of Life Vitamin Code®– Zinc is a raw zinc supplement that is fortified with vitamins, trace minerals, phytonutrients, and probiotics. It provides a zinc dose of 200% your daily value, along with all of these extra fortified benefits.
- 30mg raw zinc
- 60mg vitamin C
- RAW Organic Fruit and Vegetable Blend
- Trace Mineral Blend
- RAW Probiotic and Enzyme Blend.
Who makes it: Garden of Life is a company that is dedicated to sustainability, environmentalism, and all natural products. They are certified USDA Organic, part of the non-GMO project, verified gluten free, certified vegan, Kosher certified, etc. They are committed to transparency, and you can learn all about their products on their website including their sourcing, manufacturing, and testing procedures. They are reliable, trustworthy, and they produce effective products.
Bottom line: Garden of Life Vitamin Code® takes a slightly different approach by fortifying the zinc supplement with other supporting phytonutrients, vitamin C, and probiotics. It is cost-effective, and all natural, with a quality dosage of raw zinc.
|Where to Buy Garden of Life Vitamin Code Zinc|
3. Solaray – Zinc Copper
Solaray – Zinc Copper supplement uses copper and zinc together to improve zinc absorption from their synergistic benefits. This supplement also includes iodine sourced from kelp. The zinc and copper amino acid chelates in this product are derived from rice concentrate, so it does not use soy. This makes this product entirely vegetarian and safe for those with soy allergies. Yeast, milk, and soy are often used to chelate minerals.
- 50mg zinc amino acid chelate
- 53mcg Iodine (as Kelp)
- 2mg copper amino acid chelate
Who makes it: Launched in 1973, Solaray is a natural vitamin, mineral, and supplement brand that is part of the Nutraceutical brand family. Solaray has accumulated over 1,000 products with a wide variety of supplements, herbal extracts, and more dietary supplements. The company was founded in the state of Utah in 1973, and acquired in 1993. Their most notable accomplishment was pioneering encapsulated blended herbal products.
Bottom line: Solaray – Zinc Copper provides a high dosage of zinc, some copper for balance, and a much needed source of dietary iodine. However, this product costs more than comparable supplements, while being less transparent. The label ambiguously describes the form of zinc they chose as “zinc amino acid chelate” which basically just tells us that it was chelated to some sort of amino acid.
|Where to Get It|
4. Nature’s Bounty Chelated Zinc
Nature’s Bounty offers chelated zinc that is more concentrated and therefore offers a naturally potent dosage in every caplet. Made by Nature’s Bounty, this zinc supplement is entirely natural. The gluconate that is chelated to the zinc in the supplement also gives this product a long shelf life.
- 50mg zinc gluconate
- All natural
- Zinc chelated to Gluconate
- Very affordable
- Long shelf life
Who makes it: Nature’s Bounty is a company that produces natural supplements and has been in the industry for decades. They are committed to quality in every step of the process, from the ingredients, to the scientific research, to the GMP certified facilities where they are produced. Nature’s Bounty’s facilities have been successfully audited by the United States Pharmacopeia and Specialized Technology Resources (STR). STR is an organization which ensures that supplement companies abide by certain quality standards.
Bottom line: Nature’s Bounty Chelated Zinc is a product that provides a tremendous value for a low price. This product provides concentrated, all natural zinc in supplement form. Because it is zinc gluconate, it has an extremely long shelf life, which is beneficial to both the manufacturer and the consumer.
|Where to Buy Nature’s Bounty Chelated Zinc|
5. Optimum Nutrition ZMA
Optimum Nutrition ZMA is a great zinc supplement for athletes, because it combines the properties of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6.
- 30mg zinc
- 450mg magnesium
- 5mg vitamin B6
- Provides additional magnesium and Vitamin B6
Who makes it: Optimum Nutrition is dietary supplement producer that is a part of Glanbia, which is a cheese and nutritional ingredients producer on an international level. Optimum Nutrition is a company that focuses its products on athletic nutrition supplements that enhance athletic gains. Their manufacturing facilities are located in Illinois, Florida, and South Carolina. Optimum Nutrition was founded in 1986 and is famous for its high quality protein and amino acid supplements, and well-known in the athletic community.
Bottom line: The combination of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 has tremendous benefits for those trying to improve athletic performance and physique. The brand is also well known in the supplement industry and its products are well received in the athletic community. However, if you are looking for a zinc supplement to support other aspects of your health, there may be some better options for you.
|Where to Buy ON ZMA|
6. Nature Made Zinc
Nature Made Zinc is an all natural zinc supplement that has a very long shelf life. It provides you with the straight unadulterated benefits of zinc, without any conflicting additional vitamins or minerals. It is also entirely natural and easy on the stomach. Its moderate dosage of zinc is effective, but not potent.
- 30mg zinc gluconate
- Great beginner supplement
- Long shelf life
Who makes it: Nature Made is a company that has been producing natural supplements for over 20 years, and is dedicated to your health in more ways than one. On top of producing all-natural, life enhancing supplements, Nature Made is dedicated to improving the field. They contribute their knowledge to health science. They support clinical trials and public studies, and they conduct their own. All of their products are based in rigorous science, and their efficacy proven by research.
Bottom line: It is affordable, long lasting, and simple. However, the dosage is on the lower end of the spectrum, at 30mg per dose.
|Where to Buy Nature Made Zinc|
7. Source Naturals OptiZinc
Source Naturals takes an interesting approach to zinc supplementation by combining zinc with its biological antagonist, copper. The supplement has a lower dosage of zinc compared to some other options.
- 30mg Zinc Monomethionine Complex
- 300 mcg Copper
- Balances copper and zinc
Who makes it: Source Naturals is a leading supplement producer in the industry, and was created by Ira Goldberg in 1982. The company introduced the idea of health formulas, and pioneered the concept with Wellness Formula®, which is now the industry’s #1 immune support product. The company embraces a natural and holistic approach to maintaining your health.
Bottom line: This product is aimed towards those who are trying to support their health holistically, rather than targeting specific health concerns. However, this product is made with a zinc complex, which is not a very transparent label. There are also products available that offer higher dosages of zinc.
|Where to Get It|
8. Jarrow Formulas Zinc Balance
Jarrow Formulas Zinc Balance is a zinc supplement that takes an approach similar to Source Naturals OptiZinc. It combines zinc and its biological counterpart, copper, to enhance absorption. Zinc L-methionine, the form of zinc used in this product, is highly absorbant within the digestive system as a supplement.
- 15mg zinc L-monomethionine
- 1g copper gluconate
Who makes it: Jarrow formulas is a dietary and nutritional supplement supplier that was founded in 1977 and eventually incorporated in 1988. Jarrow Formulas is based in Los Angeles, California and currently distributes its products all throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The company funds research into nutritional supplements in order to ensure that their customers receive the highest biological value from their products.
Bottom line: This is a good zinc supplement but, it is on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to zinc dosage. It provides you the zinc benefits without unnecessary synthetics or chemicals, and it is produced by a reliable company that has grown in the industry.
|Where to Get It|
9. Life Extension OptiZinc
Life Extension OptiZinc is your basic zinc supplement. Great for an introduction to zinc supplementation, this supplement is easy on the gut and less potent than its competitors. It will provide you with a boost of zinc in your diet.
- 30mg zinc monomethionine
- Great beginner zinc supplement
Who makes it: Life Extension is a dietary supplement brand that is dedicated to improving longevity of life. They focus their efforts on both products and scientific research, and are always searching for the next breakthrough in health science. There is also an associated non-profit Life Extension Foundation that dedicates their efforts to anti-aging research. Since the 1980’s, Life Extension has been researching and producing supplements that improve your lifespan and overall health.
Bottom line: This is a good choice for those who are beginning to explore their options, but there are a couple of drawbacks to this zinc supplement. The zinc dosage is on the lower end of the spectrum. Although it is not the lowest dosage on this list, it has another factor working against it. The product uses zinc methionine, but does not tell the consumer whether the methionine being used is L-methionine or D-methionine, which puts its level of absorption to question.
|Where to Get It|
10. Ultimate Nutrition Zinc
Ultimate Nutrition Zinc is a basic zinc supplement that provides you with the benefits of the mineral. It provides you with 30mg of zinc per tablet, for a very affordable price. Made by the sports nutrition company Ultimate Nutrition, this product is generally geared towards athletes.
- 30mg zinc
Who makes it: Ultimate Nutrition Zinc was created and produced by the dietary supplement company Ultimate Nutrition. Founded in 1987 by a top amateur power lifter named Victor Rubino, Ultimate Nutrition supplements are geared towards improving athletic performance. Ultimate Nutrition is still family-owned and operated, and the vision of creating “high quality, highly researched products at affordable prices” continues to be a strong source of inspiration for their products.
Bottom line: Ultimate Nutrition Zinc is an affordable and straightforward zinc supplement. It is made by the sports nutrition company Ultimate Nutrition, which is a trustworthy and reliable producer with a valued reputation. It is versatile, and can be an effective supplement for athletes as well as those who are supporting other aspects of their health. The drawback is that it does not offer as high of a zinc dosage as some of its competitors.
|Where to Get It|
Frequently Asked Questions About Zinc Supplements
What is Zinc?
Zinc is a mineral that is essential to all life. The mineral itself is a lustrous, bluish-white metal. The mineral reacts with air, acids, and alkalis mildly. At room temperature it is a brittle metal, but when heated past 212 degrees fahrenheit, it becomes malleable. In a process known as galvanization, zinc is used to plate iron and protect it from corrosion. Zinc is also used as an alloy and mixed with other metals. When mixed with aluminum, it is as strong as steel and as malleable as plastic.
Zinc is mined from different minerals such as sphalerite (zinc sulfide), hemimorphite, zincite, and smithsonite (zinc carbonate). Some of the countries that it is mined in include the USA, Canada, Australia, China, and Peru.
The majority of zinc in the diet comes from animal sources, such as red meat, seafood, and poultry. Oysters have the highest concentration of zinc out of all other foods per serving. Other foods such as fortified cereals also contain zinc, as well as dairy products, certain whole grains, beans, and nuts.
What Does Zinc Do for the Body?
It is necessary for health on the cellular level. It is a key mineral that cells must use to metabolize nutrients and extract energy. Production of DNA and protein, as well as function of the immune system and cell division, are also processes that require zinc to support them.
Zinc is extremely important to overall human health; it plays a crucial role in wound healing, function of the immune system, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, cell division, and more. It is a biological catalyst required for more than 100 enzymes that your body uses for cell growth and function, your eyesight, and even your sense of smell and taste.
The body has no mechanism of storing zinc, which means there is a dietary requirement that needs to be consumed through the diet daily. Without zinc in the diet, your body cannot properly maintain homeostasis, otherwise known as a steady state of internal regulation.
Maintaining homeostasis is essential to the very existence of life, and so is zinc. Those who are most at risk of zinc deficiency are those who are dieting, vegetarian or vegan, elderly, or athletic.
What Are Zinc Supplements?
Zinc supplements are bioavailable forms of the mineral zinc that can be taken to supplement your daily intake of zinc. Many forms of zinc that are used in supplements have undergone a particular process called chelation.
Chelation is a process by which organic molecules are given an electrical charge which allows them to attract minerals like zinc. It creates more concentrated molecules, with zinc and an organic molecule (often amino acids) attached.
They help fight zinc deficiency, and support your overall health with some distinct benefits.
There are multiple different forms of zinc chelates commonly used in supplements. These include:
- Zinc Orotate – This is zinc that has been chelated with orotic acid. This form of zinc is the most bioavailable. Orotate forms of zinc are neutrally charged in comparison to the various other types of zinc. Their neutral charge allows the molecules to pass through cell membranes easily, offering the highest amounts of zinc atoms into cells.
- Zinc Picolinate – Zinc that has been chelated to picolinic amino acids. Picolinic acid is the most efficient chelator for zinc, and with picolinic acid chelated to a mineral, the mineral uptake by tissues is increased.
- Zinc Gluconate – Zinc gluconates are created through a process of industrial manufacturing, and are one of the most popular forms of zinc supplements. The manufacturing process basically ferments glucose, giving the supplement an extremely long shelf life.
- Zinc Acetate – Acetates are considered to be highly absorbable. Zinc acetate is also called zinc salt dihydrate and zinc diacetate, and is formed by adding zinc carbonate to acetic acid.
- Zinc Oxide – Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound that is often used for topical ointments that treat skin conditions. It is commonly used in sunscreen, and is inorganic and non-chelated.
- Zinc L-Monomethionine – This form of zinc is highly absorbed in the form of a supplement. It is bound with the l isomer of methionine, which is an essential amino acid. L-monomethionine is a natural and easily absorbed isomer, and D-methionine is the synthetic counterpart. D-methionine is not easily absorbed.
- Zinc Sulfate – Zinc sulfate is non-chelated, inorganic, and water soluble.
- Zinc that has not undergone chelation is generally referred to as simply zinc, the raw mineral itself.
What Are the Uses & Benefits of Zinc?
Zinc provides many important health benefits to the body. It plays a key role in the function of cells, the support of the immune system, and the ability for cells to grow and divide.
As we know from the introduction, zinc also is necessary for the function of over 300 enzymes, which are biological molecules that speed up chemical reactions. Examples of bodily functions that require enzymes include digestion and metabolization.
Overall, zinc is useful in:
- Supporting prostate health
- Supporting digestive health
- Supporting immune system health
- Reducing stress levels
- Supporting healthy metabolic function
- Supporting healthy skin
- Supporting eyesight
- Enhancing taste
- Enhancing your sense of smell
- Increasing libido
- Improving fertility
- Regulating heartbeat
- Strengthening red and white blood cells
- Healing wounds
- Slows effects of aging
- Supporting overall health
Who Can Benefit from Zinc?
There are some conditions in particular that zinc may help, as well as certain factors of health that zinc may enhance.
Here are some particular people who may benefit from getting more zinc:
- Those at Risk for Zinc Deficiency – It’s possible to become deficient in zinc, which can lead to a variety of health concerns such as compromised immune function, delayed healing of wounds, weight loss, loss of appetite, and more. Zinc deficiency is not particularly common, but it is definitely a concern for some groups of people, including athletes, vegetarians, pregnant women, alcoholics, and those with gastrointestinal diseases.
- Athletes – Zinc is a key component to the production of testosterone. Increased levels of testosterone have been linked to increased muscle growth and fat loss, which improves athletic efficiency. However, working out has a counteractive effect on the levels of zinc in your body. Burning lots of calories through exercise also burns through zinc, and can put athletes at a higher risk of zinc deficiency. Athletes need zinc for their overall health, and to improve their athletic performance.
- Those With Prostate Cancer – Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. In the United States, 30,000 men die from it each year, and there are almost 2.8 million men living with prostate cancer. Some of the biggest risk factors are genetics, old age, and diet.
- Those With Prostatitis – Prostatitis is a very common issue, largely affecting men under 50. Essentially, prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland. Risk factors for contracting prostatitis include having an infection in the urethra or bladder, dehydration, and having unprotected sex, among other things. This inflammation is most often caused by an infection. The swelling of the prostate gland produces symptoms of pain, and it can also cause abnormal urinary patterns, fatigue, chills, or fever.
- Those With Diabetes – Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to metabolize sugars. It is characterized by either insulin resistance, or lack of insulin. Zinc is necessary for the formation of insulin in the beta cells of the pancreas, which links zinc to possible benefits for type 2 diabetes patients.
- Those With Cardiovascular Disease – Cardiovascular diseases include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, peripheral artery disease, strokes, and congenital heart disease. Zinc plays an important role in regulating the way calcium moves in your heart cells, in turn regulating heartbeat. It also acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can contribute to cardiovascular diseases.
- Those Trying to Get Pregnant – Zinc is important to ovulation and fertility in women, and also to the production of semen and testosterone in men. Zinc is especially important once a baby is conceived, because it is necessary for over 300 different enzymes in the body to function. It is also necessary for cellular growth and division.
How Do I Take Zinc?
Zinc supplements are the most effective when they are taken 1-2 hours before or after a meal. If you have a sensitive stomach, you can take zinc with a meal to prevent any stomach upset. Remember that the minimum intake of zinc according to the USDA is as follows:
Adolescents and adults:
- Males age 14 and over: 11 milligrams/day
- Females age 14 to 18 years: 9 milligrams/day
- Females age 19 and over: 8 milligrams/day
To put these amounts into perspective, ½ cup of peas has 0.2mg of zinc, while 3 ounces of oysters contain 74mg of zinc. Oysters have the highest content of zinc out of any other food. Not many people can afford to eat oysters every day, so this is where a supplement comes in. Zinc supplements are more cost effective than food-based zinc sources, and also significantly more convenient.
Are There Any Side Effects?
In some people, zinc has some gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Take zinc with food if this is a concern. There can be more severe side effects associated with taking too much zinc. Never take zinc in excess of the recommended dosage unless you are specifically instructed to do so by a doctor.
How Do I Pick a Good Zinc Product?
The right zinc supplement should have certain characteristics. It should have an identifiable form of zinc and a decent zinc dosage, for starters. When choosing a zinc supplement, be aware of your purpose for the supplement, what you want to accomplish with it, and your age.
Our guide identifies some common forms of zinc that you may find on the label of a zinc supplement, and details the benefits of each form. As a general rule, a healthy dosage of zinc is somewhere around 30 to 50 grams of per serving.
Also, it’s good to be aware of the brand. Some brands have better reputations than others, and it important to do a little research about the company manufacturing your products. Some companies make their supplements all-natural and free of chemicals and fillers, while others may take a synthetic route.
In our list above, we provide you with an overview of the reputation of the brands on the list. We also tell you what is in the supplement, how much zinc is in it, and the benefits as well as the drawbacks.
Zinc supplements can be an extremely beneficial nutritional addition. This essential mineral takes part in many of the most fundamental processes of life, and therefore cannot be ignored. It is an underlying component of daily nutrition, overall health, and life itself. As you have learned, there are many different products available with multiple differing benefits, but the key zinc benefits are present in all of them.
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About the Author
Austin Meadows is an independent writer and consultant specializing in health and wellness topics. With more than 7 years of experience writing in the natural health industry, Austin strives to deliver accurate, concise and research based information to his readers. Contact Austin about this article