Zinc is a busy body of a mineral, getting involved in almost every part of human health, particularly by being a necessary companion (co-factor) to over 300 different enzymes (1,).
Plus, research suggests that it may support immune function, stabilize blood sugar, and improve skin, eye, and heart health so there’s no shortage of reasons to make sure you’re getting enough zinc.
This article reviews the types, benefits, and dosage recommendations for zinc supplements, how & when to take zinc and whether there’s such a thing as too much.
Benefits of Zinc for your Health
It’s an immunity superstar
Ever noticed how natural cold remedies often feature zinc? That’s because this mineral is known for its ability to help the body fight off infection. One analysis of 7 studies showed that supplementing with zinc lozenges reduced the duration of the common cold by a whopping 33% (3). We’re not just talking about day-to-day sniffles colds here, either. Zinc’s antioxidant effect is also linked with protecting against serious conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (5, 6) through anti-inflammatory effect.
Helps balance blood sugar
Research indicates that Zinc may reduce insulin resistance (7, 8), and help to maintain stable blood sugar levels. This is good news for people with diabetes, as well as those who are trying to manage their weight, since stable blood sugar helps to minimize hunger and cravings.
Helps fight acne
Zinc has emerged as a valuable (and cheap) anti-acne treatment. Topical treatments exist (like creams & serums) as well as zinc supplements, which have been shown to reduce the number of inflammatory spots in acne sufferers (9).
Reduces cholesterol associated heart disease risk
In 2015, scientists undertook an analysis of 24 previous studies which showed that zinc supplements decrease both overall (total) and bad (LDL) cholesterol (10). This is encouraging news because high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease – one of the biggest killers in the world.
Slows Macular degeneration
Research is ongoing in this area, but there appears to be a link between zinc an eye health – notably in slowing the progress of macular degeneration and protecting against losing your sight.
Food Sources of Zinc
There are lots of great food sources of Zinc. Some of the best food sources of zinc include:
Oysters: The marmite of the sea, oysters are by far the richest natural source of zinc, providing over 5mg per each.
Beef: A 3-ounce serving of grass-fed beef provides around 7 mg of zinc.
Pumpkin seeds: 30g of pumpkin seeds contains almost 3 mg of zinc.
How to take zinc supplements
There are a wide range of zinc supplements available. One of the most common is Zinc Citrate – but this is known to be a little aggravating for those with sensitive tummies.
At FOGA, we use Zinc Bisglycinate – where a zinc molecule is bound to two amino acids – which is scientifically proven to be both the most bioavailable (11) (i.e. the most readily absorbed) as well as the most gentle on the stomach.
You’ll find 10mg (that’s 100% of your daily needs) of Zinc Bisglycinate in every plantshake.
Can I take too much zinc?
Yes. It is not recommended to supplement with more than 40mg of zinc per day without medical supervision, as this can cause stomach upsets.
Wrapping it up
Zinc is an important mineral with a wide range of health benefits including supporting immunity, balanced blood sugar and skin health.
Research has proven that Zinc Bisglycinate is the most absorbable and most tolerable form of zinc supplementation, so choose that where possible. There’s 10mg of Zinc Bisglyinate in every FOGA plantshake. You should not supplement with more than 40mg per day without medical supervision.
Rabinovich D, Smadi Y. Zinc. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547698/
Hemilä H. (2017). Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage. JRSM open, 8(5), 2054270417694291. https://doi.org/10.1177/2054270417694291
Hunter, J., Arentz, S., Goldenberg, J., Yang, G., Beardsley, J., Myers, S. P., Mertz, D., & Leeder, S. (2021). Zinc for the prevention or treatment of acute viral respiratory tract infections in adults: a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ open, 11(11), e047474. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-047474
Cruz, K. J., de Oliveira, A. R., & Marreiro, D. (2015). Antioxidant role of zinc in diabetes mellitus. World journal of diabetes, 6(2), 333–337. https://doi.org/10.4239/wjd.v6.i2.333
Cruz, K. J., Morais, J. B., de Oliveira, A. R., Severo, J. S., & Marreiro, D. D. (2017). The Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Insulin Resistance in Obese Subjects: a Systematic Review. Biological trace element research, 176(2), 239–243. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-016-0835-8
Ranasinghe, P., Wathurapatha, W. S., Ishara, M. H., Jayawardana, R., Galappatthy, P., Katulanda, P., & Constantine, G. R. (2015). Effects of Zinc supplementation on serum lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition & metabolism, 12, 26. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12986-015-0023-4
DiSilvestro, R.A. and Swan, M. (2008), Comparison of Four Commercially Available Zinc Supplements for Performance in a Zinc Tolerance Test. FASEB J, 22: 693.3-693.3. https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.22.1_supplement.693.3
Gandia, P., Bour, D., Maurette, J. M., Donazzolo, Y., Duchène, P., Béjot, M., & Houin, G. (2007). A bioavailability study comparing two oral formulations containing zinc (Zn bis-glycinate vs. Zn gluconate) after a single administration to twelve healthy female volunteers. International journal for vitamin and nutrition research. Internationale Zeitschrift fur Vitamin- und Ernahrungsforschung. Journal international de vitaminologie et de nutrition, 77(4), 243–248. https://doi.org/10.1024/0300-98188.8.131.52