There are several compounds in our diet that we need to monitor and supplement to maintain our mental and physical well-being. Zinc is one of these. While we only need it in minimal quantities, it plays an essential role in our health and immune system. Sometimes, zinc supplements might be the best option to ensure that we are consuming the right quantity.

The best zinc for the immune system includes zinc picolinate, zinc gluconate, and zinc acetate. Zinc is needed in minimal quantities (15-30mg) and is naturally found in shellfish, legumes, seeds, and nuts. The best zinc supplements include Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate and Garden of Life Raw Zinc.

In today's world zinc is essential to remain healthy. It helps you to fight bacteria, prevent viruses, and look after the immune system. Below is all you need to know to make sure that you are not missing out on this incredible mineral.

Types of Zinc for the Immune System

Zinc is a mineral necessary for the immune system and our general health. It is referred to as "trace elements" because it is only present in minimal amounts in foods. Nonetheless, that's enough for our bodies to remain healthy.

Our bodies cannot store excess zinc assumed through the diet. So you must include all the foods necessary to keep your levels of zinc adequate every day. Alternatively, you should opt to consume zinc supplements that can make up for any potential deficiency.

the immune system_zinc pills

When looking to buy zinc supplements, you will find an endless variety on the market. Different manufacturers include different ingredients or combine zinc with other minerals and vitamins. But they all include zinc in one of the forms below. 

Zinc Gluconate

Zinc gluconate represents the most common type of zinc present in over-the-counter supplements. It is also in medicines such as nasal sprays and cold remedies. Studies have shown that it boasts one of the highest absorption rates among zinc types.

Best For: Treating colds, strengthen the immune system, prevent zinc deficiency

Zinc Acetate

Similar to zinc gluconate, zinc acetate has been seen to be the best one for cold lozenges and tablets. Indeed, zinc acetate is a salt that binds to zinc ions more weakly compared to gluconate, which allows the zinc to be released more easily.

Best For: Treating colds, strengthen the immune system, absorbed more easily

Zinc Sulphate

Zinc sulphate has been seen to be particularly effective in promoting healthy growth and development of body tissues. Zinc sulphate can treat acne and reduce its symptoms, promoting healthier skin. So there are extra benefits apart from helping you from having a zinc deficiency.

Best For: Strengthening the immune system, reducing acne, promoting skin cells’ growth

Zinc Picolinate

Zinc picolinate is a type of zinc that comes in an acid form. It can be more expensive than zinc acetate, but it is more easily absorbed than other forms of zinc. Therefore, you are more likely to see an increase in zinc levels in your body by investing in zinc picolinate compared to other forms.

Best For: Strengthening the immune system, shortening the length of colds, treating zinc deficiency

Zinc Orotate

Zinc orotate is one of the most common forms of zinc supplements on the market. Orotates are mineral salts that our bodies can use to create DNA and RNA.

Best For: Help treating osteoporosis, low testosterone levels, diabetes, and lowered immunity

Zinc Citrate

Zinc citrate has the same effects as zinc gluconate and zinc acetate, but can be more easily absorbed. This characteristic makes it more suitable for cold tablets and lozenges.

Best For: Treating diarrhoea, strengthening the immune system, preventing zinc deficiency

A 2017 study shows that zinc acetate is effective in treating common colds and reducing their course's length. This is a clear benefit of a healthier and more responsive immune system. However, each type of zinc might produce slightly different effects. So you should consider trying different styles and find the one that suits your preferences.

How Does Zinc Help the Immune System?

Our body needs only minimal zinc quantities to be healthy and not show deficiencies. The mineral also carries out fundamental functions. Indeed, zinc is necessary for the human body to grow and develop, and a lack can even cause lower stature and a reduced growth rate.

Zinc is also crucial for the maintenance of efficient immune functions. Among these, zinc can help treat common colds, heal wounds, prevent blood clotting, and regulate thyroid function.

the immune system_man getting zinc

Indeed, zinc is often included in over-the-counter medications designed to boost immune functions. Also, medication to prevent infections, cure common colds and fight inflammation. According to a 2017 study, with the right dosage, zinc lozenges can shorten the course of a common cold by 33%.

Other significant benefits of zinc include:

  • It has been seen to have significant antioxidant properties. These can lower inflammation and prevent health conditions deriving from them, like diabetes.
  • A 2007 randomised controlled trial also shows that zinc can reduce oxidative stress and reduce the risk of infections.
  • Zinc can also reduce the risk of male infertility, type 2 diabetes, and sickle cell disease, among other conditions.

Additionally, in a 2019 study, zinc has been seen to effectively fight the effects of viruses and protect the body against them. 

Best Zinc Supplements for Your Immune System

It has never been so important to ensure that zinc levels are adequate for our lifestyle. Below are 10 of the best zinc supplements and their company's credentials and why you should use them.

Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate

Thorne Research is among the best-renowned manufacturers of supplements. All of their operations are in-house. They control the manufacturing process from start to end thanks to their labs and research facilities.

Thorne Research zinc picolinate supplement is non-GMO and free of allergens and artificial preservatives. Because these supplements are also free of dairy, gluten, and soy, the Zinc Picolinate 30 mg tablets are suitable for any lifestyle.

Each capsule included in the package boasts 30 mg of zinc picolinate, which is the most absorbable zinc form. Their supplement that can also help improve your sports performance. The Thorne Research supplement is NSF certified, so it is compatible with competition regulations.

Nature’s Way Zinc Chelate Tablets

Nature's Way's Zinc Chelate tablets are a great option if you have a tight budget. Their products are organic and non-GMO. They are also entirely manufactured in Nature's Way's NSF and GMP-certified facilities. These certifications provide peace of mind. So you can be confident that the supplements meet the necessary quality standards.

An extra benefit of Nature's Way's tablets is the TRU-ID certification. This is an independent testing company. It certifies that the tablets are made with the highest quality ingredients and are authentic.

Nature's Way tablets are among the most affordable ones. They are created to support the immune system and cellular reproduction. They are also gluten-free, free of preservatives, and sugar- and yeast-free.

NutraChamps Liquid Ionic Zinc

NutraChamps's Ionic Zinc is an excellent solution if you prefer to introduce zinc in your diet in its liquid form. Liquid zinc can be absorbed more easily by the body and integrated into your diet just by adding them to your drinks.

Liquid ionic zinc makes up for one of the main ingredients. However, the composition of these drops is completed by a percentage of vitamin C to support the immune system.

Because these drops are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and keto-friendly, they can be suitable for any lifestyle. They are particularly ideal for children or adults who cannot easily swallow a caplet, tablet, or lozenge.

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc

This Garden of Life's line of supplements boasts more than just zinc. Created to be suitable for all lifestyles and individuals. They also represent an essential integration for plant-based individuals who also need vitamins such as B12 and D3.

The capsules created by Garden of Life are not coated in gelatin to avoid using any animal product. So these capsules are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. They are also non-GMO, USDA Organic-certified, and gluten-free.

The main ingredients in these capsules are vitamin C and zinc in their chelate form. They also contain a blend of raw fruits and vegetables. These can provide all the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins you need for a healthy life, including probiotics and enzymes.

One of these capsules' benefits is that they are not coated in gelatine. So you can open them and pour the powder into your smoothie or drink and avoid having to swallow an entire capsule.

Peak Performance Raw Liquid Zinc

This supplement is ideal if you are looking for a fast-absorption option that will match your busy lifestyle. The liquid is free from soy, eggs, shellfish, and gluten, as well as the other main allergens. Therefore, you can integrate this supplement into everybody's diet. Additionally, it is also vegan-friendly and entirely plant-based.

You can administer the drops using the dropper, which will deliver 15 mg of zinc sulphate—the necessary amount for most adults. Additionally, zinc sulphate can also be suitable for fighting health conditions such as acne and skin issues. Of course, because the body can easily absorb it, this supplement can help fight zinc deficiency.

In terms of prices, this supplement is in the premium range. However, Peak Performance provides a box of supplements to children at risk of malnutrition for every product bought. So it is a great way to do something great for your body and other communities!

Nature’s Bounty Zinc Caplets

Nature's Bounty is one of the first companies to produce a range of supplements commercially. They have been reigning in the market for over 50 years. Therefore, if you are looking for a safe product, tried and tested, these supplements are the right ones for you.

Their zinc tablets are free of GMOs and don't include artificial flavours or colours. The company is also committed to making these tablets suitable for everybody, which means that they are free of all major allergens. While these tablets are not suitable for vegans, they are for vegetarians.

Another benefit of these tablets is that they are very affordable.

Nutrigold Zinc Gold

They are USDA Organic certified, vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, and kosher. So these capsules can be the ideal supplement for everybody, from busy mums to athletes. Each tablet contains 15 mg of whole-food zinc, which is gathered from organic crops.

While this company's products are affordable, they don't compromise on quality. Therefore, with these capsules, you will only consume all-organic, natural zinc. It is more nourishing and naturally effective than synthetic zinc. In each tablet, you can enjoy a blend of guava leaves, lentil sprouts, and navy bean sprouts.

These tablets are perfect for anyone trying to live an all-natural lifestyle.

Dakota Elderberry Gummies

These gummies by Dakota are explicitly created to protect and boost the immune system. If you often forget your vitamins and supplements, these gummies can be a fun and alternative way to keep up with your health goals.

They are not the most affordable option on the market. But they are a blend of ingredients, nutrients, and vitamins specifically designed to boost immune health. Among these, you will find blackberry, elderberry, and blueberries. Alongside the zinc percentage, you will also find enough vitamin C to match your daily needs. The gummies won't include GMOs or preservatives.

Life Extension Enhanced Zinc Lozenges

These Life Extension tablets are ideal if you are looking for a certified and tested solution to boost your immune system. The zinc included in the blend comes in its acetate form, which is among the most popular ones and boasts one of the highest absorption rates.

Peppermint-flavoured and created specifically to help your body fight viruses and common-colds. They are also suitable for vegetarians. Unlike other products on this list, these tablets are not designed to be a daily supplement. Instead, you should include them in your diet only when you need an immunity boost or feel like you are getting a cold.

NOW Foods Zinc Glycinate Softgels

The NOW Zinc Glycinate is designed to be a quick-absorption supplement to boost immune functions. NOW Foods's supplements have obtained an A-rate GMP certification. This shows that the entire manufacturing process has been accessed and analysed. So, you can have peace of mind that all supplements in your diet are authentic, purse, and safe.

NOW Foods is also a founding partner of Vitamin Angels, a charitable association. It provides minerals, supplements and vitamins for mothers and children at risk of malnutrition.

Introducing Zinc Into Your Diet

Because of the historical moment we are living in today, it has never been so necessary to boost and protect our immune system. Indeed, alongside PPE, our immune system represents a crucial defence against common colds, flu, and viruses such as Covid-19.

Naturally, the best way to boost immune functions is to look into our lifestyle and improve our diet, exercise level, and habits. An analysis of your way of living will tell you what the risk points are and what habits you should be changing. Some factors that might affect the efficiency of your immune system include:

  • Diet and gut flora
  • Exercise level
  • A sedentary life
  • Fresh air and sunlight
  • Supplements
  • Smoking
  • Hygiene
  • Cortisol levels (stress)
  • Sleep cycles
  • Body composition and weight (i.e., obesity, etc.)
  • Age
  • Genetics

Some people are naturally more prone to having a more efficient immune system. Still, you can boost yours by ensuring that your lifestyle is adequate. For example, a lack of minerals and vitamins in your diet (including zinc) can significantly affect your immune system. In the video below, you can find out more about the habits that affect your immune system.

Recommended Zinc Intake

As we have seen, zinc is considered a trace mineral. So your body only needs a few milligrams per day to remain healthy and increase its defences against viruses and bacteria. Nonetheless, it is crucial to understand what the right dosage of zinc is.

Don't consume too much zinc or entirely substitute zinc from natural sources with supplements can. It can impact the effectiveness of other medications you might be taking. Of course, like other supplements, it can also cause side effects.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the right dosages for adults and children are:

Age

Male

Female

0-6 months

2 mg

2 mg

7-12 months

3 mg

3 mg

1-3 years

3 mg

3 mg

4-8 years

5 mg

5 mg

9-13 years

8 mg

8 mg

14-18 years

11 mg

9 mg

Over 19

11 mg

8 mg

Pregnancy

-

11 mg

Naturally, these are only general indications, and it is recommended to speak to your doctor to understand what your needs are.

Signs of Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency is more common in countries where the population does not have access to a complete and nutritious diet. Signs of zinc deficiency include:

  • Slowed or reduced growth
  • Appetite loss
  • Irritability
  • Hair loss
  • Low insulin levels
  • Inflammation
  • Skin conditions such as rashes or rough and dry skin
  • Affected wound healing
  • Sleep cycles
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea and nausea
  • Age
  • Loss of sense of smell

Some of the groups at risk of zinc deficiency include vegetarians and vegans. Also pregnant or lactating women, alcoholics, and people with digestive or GI disorders.

Natural Solutions to Increase Zinc in Your Diet

Above, you can find a list of supplements that can help you ensure that you are consuming the right amount of zinc. They are super effective in helping to maintain your immune system healthy and strong. If you follow a plant-based diet, you should consider introducing these supplements to your diet. Zinc will provide excellent health balance alongside other minerals and vitamins such as B12.

Nonetheless, zinc can be naturally found in various foods, and it will provide you with enough zinc to protect your immune system. Some of the ones you should include in your diet include:

the immune system_seafood
  • Shellfish
  • Seafood
  • Meat
  • Legumes
  • Dairy products
  • Seeds and nuts

Conclusion

While zinc is only needed in minimal quantities, it is crucial to ensure that you consume enough of this trace mineral through your diet. Indeed, most zinc deficiencies can be prevented by eating all the right foods, including nuts, seeds, and legumes.

However, if you are following a plant-based diet or you need a boost in your immune functions, zinc supplements can help you increase your body's defences against viruses, bacteria, and inflammation.

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