Though a trace mineral, meaning we only need small amounts, zinc plays a vital role in many processes in the body, such as cell growth, building proteins, healing, supporting the immune system, and even creating DNA. And because of this mineral’s importance, we searched the web to find the expert-recommended best zinc supplements for you.
How well do you sleep? If you’re like the people in this study, you’re not getting nearly enough. In 2018, the average respondent reported about six hours and 17 minutes of sleep per night. By 2019, however, that average shrunk to only five-and-a-half hours each night. And that figure probably looks much uglier now. The research found that one in four Americans consistently slept poorly in 2019. Additionally, respondents had an average of 105 ‘terrible’ nights of sleep last year, compared to 99 in 2018. Because of this, it makes sense that more people are turning to naps to catch up on the missed shuteye. But why bring up this research about sleep? Yet another benefit of zinc is aiding sleep. It has a calming effect, and it can help to regulate your sleep.
Though zinc is important to health, it can’t do it all. According to research, the popular zinc acetate lozenges will not help you get over a cold faster. In this latest study, researchers performed a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial on Helsinki city employees dealing with colds. To make sure all the participants started taking lozenges at around the same time, each person was given a packet of lozenges and told to start using them as soon as they felt a cold coming on. Each person was told to take six lozenges a day for five days, which worked out to 78 mg of zinc on a daily basis. However, half of the participants were actually given placebos that contained no zinc at all. And the results? There was absolutely no difference in recovery time among participants in the experimental and placebo groups during the five-day treatment period. In fact, those who took real zinc lozenges actually ended up taking longer to recover than the placebo group following the five-day treatment period.
Now that you know where zinc can help you, and where it may not, let’s get to some supplements that are proven to actually work. Below is our list of the best zinc supplements, according to health experts. Of course, we want to hear from you. Comment below to let us know which supplement is your favorite!
The List: Best Zinc Supplements, According to Experts
1. Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate
This zinc supplement comes highly recommended from five of six health sites we reviewed. And on those five sites, it lands in the top three recommendations across the board.
“Thorne Zinc Picolinate is one of the best zinc supplements available on the market that comes in the form of easily consumable capsules with no artificial flavors,” writes Outlook India. “This supplement contains 273% daily value of zinc picolinate only. The reason for choosing zinc picolinate is that your body optimally absorbs it…This zinc picolinate supplement activates a specific type of white blood cells in the human body that helps in moderating your body’s response during stress.” Overall, they say that “This dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free zinc supplement helps support general wellness, strengthen immune function, and maintain healthy skin.”
CNET writes, “This product is gluten– and GMO-free; it is also made without artificial preservatives. Thorne offers two versions of their zinc picolinate supplement — one with 30mg of zinc, which is on the higher side of zinc supplements, and then one with 15 mg of zinc.” And as far as testing is concerned, “These zinc supplements are made in a lab that meets the Therapeutic Goods Administration standards and NSF international. It’s also NSF Certified for Sport, which means it is free of any banned substances for athletes.”
According to Verywell Health, “When it comes to top quality supplements, we find that Thorne Research delivers. This zinc picolinate provides a form of zinc that the body can readily absorb, making it more likely to harness the nutrient’s benefits. This supplement provides 30 mg of zinc, which does not exceed tolerable upper intake levels, and it comes in one convenient capsule.” And, you get what you pay for: “While it is slightly more expensive than the competition, you can rest assured you are getting a quality product from a trusted brand.” And a couple of notes about digestion: “If you have a sensitive stomach, this supplement may be less likely to cause nausea than other products, but if you experience digestive discomfort, we recommend taking it with food.”
2. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc
Garden of Life is a well-known and trusted brand. They offer a wide variety of supplements and are known for creating clean products that are tested for purity. Healthline writes: “Garden of Life is a whole foods-based supplement brand with products that are certified organic and non-GMO verified. 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.”
Medical News Today shares that “The RDA of zinc is 11 mg for adult males and 8 mg for adult females. For pregnant people, it is 11 mg, and for lactating people, it is 12 mg. A person who gets too little zinc from their diet may benefit from taking a zinc supplement.” They note a list of symptoms of low zinc including hair loss, lowered immunity, loss of appetite, and more. They appreciate that it “also contains vitamin C to boost its skin and immune system benefits.” And as far as dosage: “The company recommends taking 1 capsule twice a day. However, this far exceeds the RDA of zinc. People should consult a healthcare professional before trying this.”
“For vegans and others who want a zinc supplement with only raw ingredients that don’t come from animal sources, consider Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc supplement. It’s our pick for the best vegan zinc supplement, a whole foods-based supplement,” writes CNET. “In addition to 30 mg of zinc, you also get vitamin C, live probiotics and enzymes. You don’t have to worry about artificial colors, sweeteners or additives. This zinc supplement is a capsule, so if you have trouble swallowing pills, you can open the capsule and pour the supplement into a beverage.”
3. NOW Zinc Glycinate
NOW Foods is a supplement company that is time-tested. They’ve been in business 55 years, which, especially in the supplement industry, is impressive. A company certainly doesn’t reach a milestone like that without creating quality products.
Healthline writes, “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 Zinc Glycinate Softgels.” And as far as quality, “All NOW supplements are certified by Underwriters Laboratories and follow CGMPs to ensure their quality and accuracy.” If you’re bargain hunting, this may be the brand for you: “Additionally, these supplements tend to be more affordable than many other high quality brands.”
Medical News Today shares that this zinc supplement is “Not suitable for vegetarians or vegans,” due to its bovine gelatin, and also that it “exceeds the RDA,” so do check with your doctor before trying them. This supplement is halal and kosher, and free from gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs, sugar, and corn. They also share that these capsules are for adults, so if you’re looking for a child-friendly zinc supplement, this isn’t the one.
CNET says, “You get a large dose of zinc, which is good for those with a deficiency. Note that some reviews say that such a high zinc content does give them an upset stomach if taken on an empty stomach.” Lastly, they write, “Each Now Foods Zinc softgel delivers 30 mg of zinc glycinate and 250 mg of pumpkin seed oil, which has been linked to improved heart and urinary tract health.”
4. Nature Made Zinc
You see these bottles in the vitamin isles of just about every grocery store in the U.S. They’re a trusted brand, and because of that, the brown bottles with yellow labels typically take up quite a bit of real estate on store shelves.
MBG Health writes, “Even as an adult it’s important to consume the correct mix of vitamins and minerals to promote bone health throughout life. Focused on your musculoskeletal system, this supplement contains 333 milligrams of calcium (plus a 200-IU hint of vitamin D3 to support calcium’s absorption), 133 milligrams of magnesium, and 5 milligrams of zinc for a balanced formula to support strong bones and teeth.” They note that “While the mineral forms (calcium carbonate, magnesium oxide, and zinc sulfate) do not boast the highest possible bioavailability, they are still absorbed and helpful. An added bonus? The USP seal and price tag.”
Verywell Health writes, “If you are looking for a budget-friendly zinc supplement, we recommend Nature Made Zinc 30mg tablet. This dose is below the 40 mg Tolerable Upper Intake Level for adults making it a good option for most people. The 30 mg dose provides 273% of your daily value of zinc. One thing to note: if you take other supplements with zinc, make sure your total amount of daily zinc is less than 40 mg unless otherwise directed from a healthcare professional.”
“Nature Made has been around since 1971 and claims to be the #1 pharmacist-recommended brand across nine product categories,” writes Healthline. “Nature Made’s expert staff includes PhDs, registered dietitians, and naturopathic doctors.” And as for the product, “Nature Made Zinc is USP-verified for product potency and purity. It’s also a good option for anyone limited by cost. One serving provides 30 mg of zinc gluconate. Adults should take 1 tablet per day with water and a meal, or as directed by a healthcare professional.” As a pro, they too mention that this brand is easy to find at drugstores, but one con they mention is that it is not a vegan-friendly supplement.
5. Life Extension Enhanced Zinc Lozenges
Though above we shared research showing that zinc lozenges do not shorten colds, there is an equal amount of research showing that they do just that. Many experts think it comes down to differences in the type of zinc in the lozenges. That aside, many health experts recommend these for a bump in zinc intake.
CNET writes, “These lozenges are a great option if you’re sick and want to get over the symptoms quickly. One review of research found that taking around 80 mg of zinc lozenges each day helped shorten the duration of a common cold by 33%.” And for more information on what’s in these: “Life Extension’s zinc lozenges offer 18.75 mg of zinc acetate, a type of zinc linked to decreasing the length of a cold. Lozenges are different from typical zinc supplements. They are intended for short-term use (less than three days) to relieve symptoms. The recommendation for Life Extension’s zinc lozenges is one every two hours, no more than eight times a day.”
“Life Extension’s Enhanced Zinc Lozenges are peppermint-flavored, to make getting your daily dose of zinc tastier than ever,” writes MBG Health. “To support your immune system year-round, this lozenge contains 18.75 milligrams of zinc acetate per serving to help enhance your body’s natural defenses.” But, keep in mind that “While it’s fun to switch up your zinc routine at times, it’s important to note that each lozenge is 20 calories and nets 5 grams of carbs, which includes 4 grams of added sugars from dextrose.”
According to Healthline, “Life Extension has been making high quality supplements for more than 40 years. In addition to being manufactured in an NSF-registered GMP facility, each product has a certificate of analysis (COA) that’s available for consumers to confirm the quality and accuracy of a specific product.” Though they too mention that the research speaks to both sides: “Life Extension Enhanced Zinc Lozenges contain 18.75 mg of zinc acetate, a form of zinc that has been shown to shorten the duration of colds by up to 40%, though the research is mixed.”
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