The 10 Best Zinc Supplements of 2020
By Kelli McGrane, MS, RD
While there are many food sources of zinc, including meat and shellfish, some people may be at a higher risk of not getting enough zinc in their diets.
For example, those with inadequate access to food, pregnant or breastfeeding women, vegetarians and vegans, people with gastrointestinal disorders, and individuals taking certain medications like diuretics and anticonvulsants may benefit from a zinc supplement.
The zinc supplements in this review are all manufactured by reputable companies that follow Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP), use high quality ingredients, and test for purity and quality.
Here are the 10 best zinc supplements to help you meet your nutritional needs.
A Note on Price
General price ranges with dollar signs ($ to $$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher price range.
Generally, prices range from $0.08–$1.39 per serving, or $5.99–$38.90 per container, though this may vary depending on where you shop.
- $ = under $0.25 per serving
- $ = $0.25–$0.50 per serving
- $$ = over $0.50 per serving
Note that the serving sizes vary. Some supplements require two capsules per serving, while the serving size for others may be 1 teaspoon (5 mL), 1 mL, or one capsule, tablet, or lozenge.
1. Best Overall: Thorne Zinc Picolinate
Thorne Research is a supplement company that has its own dedicated scientists, labs, and research facilities for nutrition supplements.
All of their products are made in a lab that meets regulations and standards set by NSF International and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which is a regulatory body in Australia that's responsible for assessing the safety of supplements.
Furthermore, their products are NSF Certified for Sport. This means that the products are tested to ensure the absence of more than 200 substances banned by many major athletic organizations.
Thorne Research's Zinc Picolinate is one of the best zinc supplements on the market due to the company's high quality standards, purity of ingredients, and form of zinc used.
Older research suggests that zinc picolinate may be one of the easiest forms of zinc for your body to digest and absorb.
One tablet of this supplement provides 30 mg of zinc picolinate. For best results take one tablet per day, or as recommended by your healthcare provider.
2. Best Chelated: NOW Foods Zinc Glycinate Softgels
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 Foods' Zinc Glycinate softgels.
Each softgel contains 30 mg of zinc glycinate — a form of zinc that human and animal studies suggest may be better absorbed than other types of zinc.
All NOW Foods supplements are certified by Underwriters Laboratories and follow GMP to ensure the quality and accuracy of their products. Additionally, these supplements tend to be more affordable than many other high quality brands.
3–4. Best Budget Option: Nature’s Way
Nature's Way produces high quality supplements that are more affordable than many other brands on the market.
All of their supplements are manufactured in facilities that NSF has certified as meeting GMP requirements, which include a set of guidelines to ensure accuracy, quality, and purity of products.
In addition, their products are non-GMO, organic, and TRU-ID certified. TRU-ID certification is a relatively new independent testing program that uses DNA to verify the authenticity of ingredients in supplements.
For zinc products, Nature's Way offers zinc chelate capsules and zinc lozenges, both of which are budget-friendly.
These zinc chelate capsules are gluten-free and provide 30 mg per capsule.
For best results, adults and adolescents over the age of 14 should take one capsule daily with food, or as recommended by your healthcare provider.
For those interested in lozenges, each of Nature's Way's Zinc Lozenges provides 23 mg of zinc, as well as 100 mg of vitamin C and 20 mg of Echinacea purpurea.
Taking too much zinc can have adverse effects on your health and may interfere with the absorption of other nutrients. It's important that you check with your healthcare provider before taking high dose zinc supplements to ensure safety.
5. Best Vegan Option: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc
While it's not always obvious, some supplements can contain animal-derived ingredients, making the product unsuitable for vegans.
Some commonly used ingredients that aren't vegan-friendly include digestive enzymes like lipase, caprylic acid from milk, gelatin, and magnesium stearate, which is often pork-derived.
Garden of Life is a whole-foods-based supplement brand with products that are certified organic and non-GMO verified.
Their 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.
It's recommended that adults take one serving of 2 capsules per day with or without meals. For those who have difficulty swallowing pills, the capsules can also be opened to pour the contents into a glass of water or other beverage.
6–7. Best Liquid Formulations
For those who have difficulty swallowing pills, liquid forms of zinc may be better tolerated.
Metagenics is a supplement company devoted to transparency and quality. Each ingredient and supplement batch is tested for quality, and you can even access a detailed testing report for the specific supplement you're looking to buy.
As part of their quality assurance, all Metagenics supplements are USP-verified and meet NSF and Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) safety and quality regulations.
Their Zinc Drink liquid supplement contains only water and 15 mg of zinc sulfate per serving, making it free of any additives and preservatives.
For best results, take 1 teaspoon (5 mL) per day of the Zinc Drink between meals. While you can take the supplement on its own, it can also be mixed into a glass of water.
Peak Performance supplements are made in the United States and developed for busy athletes and professionals.
In addition to being free of major allergens, including soy, dairy, wheat, egg, shellfish, and peanuts, Peak Performance's Raw Ionic Liquid Zinc is also vegan-friendly.
By running zinc through a high pressure, low heat process, the zinc particles in this liquid supplement are very small in size, which may make it easier for your body to absorb.
One full dropper provides 15 mg of zinc sulfate — a form of zinc that has been shown to help prevent zinc deficiency, reduce symptoms of severe acne, and possibly help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (6Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
All Peak Performance supplements undergo third-party testing for quality and accuracy. They're also manufactured following Food and Drug Administration (FDA), GMP, and NSF regulations and standards.
Adults should take one full dropper (1 mL) once a day on an empty stomach, or use as directed by your healthcare provider.
8. Best Lozenges: Life Extension Enhanced Zinc Lozenges
Zinc lozenges are small tablets that are meant to dissolve slowly in your mouth. They're typically taken for short periods to help reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold.
In fact, one review found that consuming a dose of 80–92 mg of zinc from zinc lozenges per day helped reduce the duration of the common cold by up to 33%.
Life Extension has been making high quality supplements for over 40 years.
In addition to being manufactured in an NSF-registered GMP facility, each product has a certificate of analysis that's available for consumers to confirm the quality and accuracy of a specific product.
Adults can take 1 lozenge every 2 hours up to 8 times a day. However, it's not recommended to consume these lozenges for more than 3 days in a row. Also, note that taking this supplement 8 times per day will greatly exceed the daily UL of 40 mg.
9. Best Organic: NutriGold Zinc Gold
If you're looking for an organic zinc supplement, NutriGold's Zinc Gold is one of the best options out there.
Each capsule contains 15 mg of whole-foods-based zinc that's derived from an organic sprouted blend, which the supplement claims may be gentler on your stomach.
Additionally, NutritGold's supplements are certified organic by SCS Global Services, an official partner of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that sets sustainability, quality, and organic standards.
Each product is also third-party tested, as well as non-GMO and vegan certified.
Adults should take 1 capsule daily, or as directed by your healthcare provider.
10. Best Gluten-Free: Pure Encapsulations Zinc
If you're looking for a gluten-free zinc supplement, Pure Encapsulations is one of your best options.
The products are not only made in a facility that's NSF-registered GMP but also certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). Plus, they contain zinc picolinate to optimize digestion and absorption.
For optimal results, it's recommended to take one 30-mg zinc picolinate capsule daily with food.
How to Choose Zinc Supplements
When choosing a zinc supplement, it's important to consider the type of zinc, dosage, and supplement form.
There are several types of zinc supplements. Some, such as zinc picolinate, may be better absorbed, while zinc acetate may be more effective at shortening the duration of the common cold.
As for dosage, the recommended daily dosage for adults is typically 15–30 mg of elemental zinc per day. Elemental zinc is generally the amount listed on the label of your supplement.
Due to potential side effects of excess zinc, it's best not to exceed 40 mg per day unless under medical supervision.
Taking too much zinc can cause adverse side effects, such as decreased immune function, low copper levels, and reduced HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Regarding the form, zinc supplements are available as capsules, lozenges, and liquids. For those who are unable or prefer not to swallow pills, liquid forms are likely a better option.
Before buying any supplement, it's important to research high quality, trustworthy brands to ensure both safety and accuracy.
Look for supplements that are produced by reputable manufactures and free of large amounts of added ingredients like fillers, additives, and preservatives.
A good way to ensure the quality of a product is to look for ones that have been certified by a third-party company, such as NSF International or Underwriters Labs.
The Bottom Line
Zinc is an essential nutrient that you need to get enough of in your diet. However, as not everyone is able to meet their need through foods alone, supplements can help reduce the risk of a zinc deficiency.
Of course, not all supplements are created equal. It's important to look for high quality products that have been tested to ensure quality and accuracy.
If you're concerned about your zinc intake, it's worth speaking with your healthcare provider to see if a zinc supplement is a good option, as well as to determine an optimal dose.
Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.
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