Although zinc is most commonly used as prevention from the common cold, this essential mineral actually plays an important role in numerous bodily functions, including wound healing and cell repair and growth. How much zinc should you take? What is the most bioavailable form of this mineral? Should you try liquid supplements or stick to traditional tablets? We will answer all these questions and more in our in-depth buyer’s guide. Keep on reading.
What Are the Benefits of Zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral that supports many vital bodily processes.
Most notably, top zinc supplements can:
- Boost the immune system
- Help the body heal
- Support cell repair and growth
- Improve appetite
- Promote your sense of taste and smell
- Help you recover from the common cold
- Slow down the development of AMD (age-related macular degeneration)
This list clearly shows how important zinc is to the normal functioning of the body.
Sources of Zinc
Even though zinc is found in several types of food, including vegetarian-friendly diets, animal-based foods, such as oysters, beef, crab, lobster, pork, and yogurt, are still the best source of zinc that supplement manufacturers use in their products. Plant-based foods include baked beans, fortified breakfast cereals, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and oatmeal (among others).
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
Apart from giving your immune system a pick-me-up in the winter months, the best time to take zinc supplements is when you start experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Lowered immunity
- Hair loss
- Delayed growth
- Weight loss
- Loss of the sense of taste
Who Is at Risk of Zinc Deficiency?
Although there is a wide variety of zinc-rich foods, certain groups of people still might have trouble meeting daily requirements, which is where the best zinc supplements come in.
So, who needs zinc products?
- People with gastrointestinal disorders
- Vegetarians and vegans
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- People with sickle disease
- People who take diuretics and anticonvulsants
Side Effects of Excess Zinc Consumption
Taking too much zinc can have some serious consequences to your health, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea and stomach cramps
- Reduced copper levels
- Weak immunity
For these reasons, it’s best not to go over the recommended maximum amounts of 30 mg a day.
How to Pick and Buy a Zinc Supplement
If you are suffering from zinc deficiency, have been prescribed zinc supplements, or are simply in need of an immunity boost to ward off a cold, here are a few tips to help you find the perfect zinc supplement for your needs.
Find the Best Form of Zinc for You
There are several forms of zinc to choose from:
- Zinc sulfate is the water-soluble form of the mineral. It’s easily absorbed by the body and typically found in acne treatment products.
- Zinc picolinate is the most bioavailable form and thus the best and most popular choice for battling zinc deficiency.
- Zinc gluconate is another bioavailable form, usually found in nasal sprays and gummies.
- Zinc acetate and zinc monomethionine are normally sold as lozenges and are recommended as the best form of zinc supplement to take to fight the common cold.
- Zinc glycinate, frequently combined with plant compounds, is prescribed to reduce swelling and pain caused by degenerative arthritis.
- Zinc orotate is bound to the orotic acid. Finding the best zinc orotate supplement is not that hard since this is another one of the most common forms available on the market.
- Zinc citrate is combined with citric acid and usually comes in the form of capsules.
It’s up to you to choose the best form of zinc supplement according to your needs, preferences, and budget.
Find the Right Zinc Supplement Dosage
The recommended daily dosage for adults taking zinc without prescription is 15 to 30 mg a day. It’s very important not to go over the recommended dose as excess zinc consumption can lead to severe side effects. The dosage also depends on the condition you are trying to treat. For instance, people with mild zinc deficiency should consume two to three times the RDA for six months, while acne treatments require 30 to 150 mg per day.
Find the Best Type of Zinc Supplement
Zinc supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, lozenges, liquids, and gummies. Capsules are the most popular choice. However, for people who have difficulty swallowing pills, there are always zinc supplements sold as sprays, drops, or powders. And for those looking for a more delicious version and don’t mind the added sugars, gummies are an excellent option.
Find the Best Formula
Bear in mind that when it comes to top-rated zinc supplements, less is usually more. Try to go for a simple, no-frills formula that doesn’t contain unnecessary fillers, such as wheat, soy, and gluten. Look for organic, vegan-friendly ingredients free of synthetic compounds, GMOs, and harmful materials.
Find a Reputable Manufacturer
One of the most important steps is finding the best zinc supplement brand. Look for reliable companies that get their ingredients from trusted sources, manufacture their supplements at GMP facilities, and offer independent lab reports for each of their products.
Find the Best Price
Buying zinc supplements will not break the bank, which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take advantage of any deals offered. Check for companies that offer numerous buying perks, such as free shipping, extensive return policies, and generous sales and discounts. Also, look for top zinc supplement brands that provide subscription discounts (which is quite common for supplement manufacturers), giving you even more value for your money.