As you probably already know, overall health is highly dependant 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. How do we ensure that we consume enough zinc every day?
This guide is all about the answer to this question, which is: zinc supplements. The best zinc products can help the body ward off zinc deficiency, and they also provide an array of other health benefits. This guide will provide you everything you need to know in order to decide which zinc supplements would be the best for you.
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, for the most part, zinc pills. They 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 Benefits of Zinc?
Zinc provides many important health benefits to the body. Zinc 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.
Who May Benefit from Zinc?
Everyone needs zinc, so the logic follows that everyone could potentially benefit from the top zinc supplements on the market. While this is mostly true, there are some conditions in particular that zinc may help treat or prevent, as well as certain factors of health that zinc may enhance. Here are some particular people who may benefit from the top zinc supplements:
- 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 Should You 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 0.2 mg of zinc, while 3 ounces of oysters contain 74 mg 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. Strong 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.
Things to Look for in a Good Zinc Supplement
An effective 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 in a zinc supplement is somewhere around 30 to 50 grams of zinc 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 of the top 10 zinc supplements, 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. We will inform you which supplements are the top zinc supplements on the market.
Heads up, there are affiliate links in this article, so if you buy something, we get a cut of the sale.
1. Now Foods Zinc Picolinate
Now Foods Zinc Picolinate is one of the top zinc supplements, and comes in the form of capsules. It is 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. This supplement provides potent zinc benefits, harnessing 50 mg of zinc picolinate in one capsule!
- 50mg Zinc Picolinate
- High bioavailability
- All natural
- Powerful zinc supplement
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: This is one of the absolutely most effective zinc supplements on the market. 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.
ⓘ If you buy something using the links below, we get a small commission.
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.
- 30 mg raw zinc
- 60 mg 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® – Zinc is one of the better zinc supplements on the market. It 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.
ⓘ If you buy something using the links below, we get a small commission.
3. Nature’s Bounty Chelated Zinc
Nature’s Bounty Chelated Zinc is a zinc supplement that 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.
- 50 mg zinc gluconate
- All natural
- Zinc chelated to Gluconate
- Very affordable
- Long shelf life
- Strong zinc supplement
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.
4. Optimum Nutrition ZMA
Optimum Nutrition ZMA is a great zinc supplement for athletes, because it combines the properties of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6.
- 30 mg zinc
- 450 mg magnesium
- 5 mg vitamin B6
- Provides additional magnesium and Vitamin B6
- Generally intended for athletes
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: Optimum Nutrition ZMA is a great athletic supplement. 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. Keep reading to find out!
5. Ultimate Nutrition Zinc
Ultimate Nutrition Zinc is a basic zinc supplement that provides you with the benefits of the mineral. It provides you with 30 mg of zinc per tablet, for a very affordable price. Made by the sports nutrition company Ultimate Nutrition, this product is generally geared towards athletes.
- 30 mg zinc
- Dosage of zinc is on the low side
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 Optimum Nutrition, which is a trustworthy and reliable producer with a valued reputation. It is versatile, and can be an effective zinc 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.
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.
- 30 mg zinc gluconate
- Great beginner supplement
- Long shelf life
- Dosage of zinc is on the low side
- Not the first choice of athletes
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: Overall, Ultimate Nutrition Zinc is a good zinc supplement for someone who is just beginning to try zinc supplements. It is affordable, long lasting, and simple. However, the dosage is on the lower end of the spectrum, at 30 mg per dose. It should also not be an athlete’s first choice, because there are other choices better suited to athletic needs.
7. Source Naturals OptiZinc
Source Naturals OptiZinc 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 supplement options, but it is still an effective zinc supplement.
- 30 mg Zinc Monomethionine Complex
- 300 mcg Copper
- Balances copper and zinc
- “Zinc monomethionine complex” is ambiguous
- Higher dosages of zinc are available in other products
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.
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 zinc supplement, is highly absorbable within the digestive system as a supplement.
- 15 mg zinc L-monomethionine
- 1 g copper gluconate
- Very low dose of zinc
- Less potent
- More expensive overall
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. There are zinc supplements on the market that offer more for less money.
9. 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.
- 50 mg zinc amino acid chelate
- 53 mcg Iodine (as Kelp)
- 2 mg copper amino acid chelate
- Highly priced
- Amino acids are unnamed
- Ambiguous zinc form
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.
10. 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.
- 30 mg zinc monomethionine
- Great beginner zinc supplement
- Does not specify which isomer of methionine was used
- Absorption is questionable
- Lower zinc dosage
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 zinc supplement 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. Overall, it is an affordable beginner’s choice, but there are better options.
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.
That concludes our list of the top ten zinc supplements on the market! We hope that this guide has made your research infinitely easier. Thank you for taking the time to explore this guide, and make sure to explore the many other informational guides available to you on our site.