Zinc is a type of metal that is known as an essential trace element because the body requires very< small amounts of it for health purposes.
Zinc is present in many cells throughout the body, and is vital to the functioning of over 300 unique enzymes. Zinc also has a hand in many processes that are key to bodily function, including the production of protein and DNA, thyroid health maintenance and blood clotting.
The nutrient is vital to proper growth and development, starting in the womb through childhood. Zinc supplements are used mainly for the treatment and prevention of zinc deficiency and diarrhea in children. It is also helpful in the treatment of gastric ulcers.
Uses and effectiveness
Zinc is used for:
- Boosting immunity: Zinc gluconate may help. (More studies are needed.)
- Sensory perception: Taste, vision and smell. (Possibly effective. More studies needed.)
- Acne vulgaris (Research is mixed. More studies are needed.)
- Dementia/Alzheimer's disease (Zinc supplementation didn't seem to help. More studies are needed.)
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): May help in older children. (More studies are needed.)
- Sickle cell anemia control: May help with manage and reduce symptom.
- Ringing in the ears (Results are mixed. More research is needed.)
- Infertility (More research is needed.)
- Osteoporosis: Zinc supplementation, along with copper, manganese, and calcium, might help reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women.
- Wilson's disease: Inability to excrete copper. Zinc may help manage the disease. (More studies are needed.)
- Herpes 1 & 2: May be an effective treatment option. (More research is needed.)
- Athletic performance and strength enhancement: May help athletes who are low in zinc or have zinc deficiency. (More studies are needed.)
- Diabetes: Zinc supplementation may help raise zinc levels and improve glycemic control. (More studies are needed.)
- Common cold prevention (nostril spray). (Research is mixed. More studies are needed.)
Zinc sulfate is used in eye drops to help soothe irritated eyes. Zinc citrate can be found in toothpaste and mouthwash to help prevent plaque and gingivitis.
DeficiencyWorldwide, 4% of disease and death in children is attributed to zinc deficiency.
Although zinc deficiency is common in other countries, it is not a problem in the United States. Moderate zince deficiency can stunt growth, delay sexual development, cause impotence in males, acute diarrhea in children, and slow wound healing.
Digestive disorders, gastrointestinal surgery, vegetarianism, being breastfed as an older infant, alcoholism, and sickle cell disease can lead to zinc deficiency. The reason older breastfed infants are at risk for zinc deficiency is because breast milk provides sufficient amounts of the mineral for infants for six months.[2, 9]
Symptoms of deficiency
- Slow growth
- Reduced insulin levels
- No appetite
- Rough, dry skin
- Trouble with wound healing
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
- Reduced sense of taste and smell
- Eye and skin sores
- Impaired vision
Treating zinc deficiency
Difficulty absorbing zinc can be a factor in developing zinc deficiency. Influences on absorption include how much zinc you take in and dietary phytate levels. Dietary phytate affects zinc bio-availability.
Zinc supplementation or eating foods high in zinc can help treat and prevent deficiency. Most multivitamin contain zinc. It's also available on its own. Homeopathic remedies for colds may also contain zinc.
Getting too much zinc can reduce copper levels, compromise your immune system and lead to lower LDL, "good," cholesterol levels.
- Stomach cramps
- No appetite
Adding more zinc-rich foods to your diet can help increase zinc levels. Sources include:
- Red meat
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Dairy products
- Whole grains
Worldwide, 4% of disease and death in children is attributed to zinc deficiency.
Upper limits of zinc are:
- 4mg (birth to 6 months)
- 5mg (Infants 7 to 12 months)
- 7mg (Children 1 to 3 years)
- 12mg (Children 4 to 8 years)
- 23mg (Children 9 to 13 years)
- 34mg (Teens 14 to 18 years)
- 40mg (Adults)
Do not take zinc in doses higher than indicated here without doctor's supervision.
Diarrhea in Children
Acute diarrhea is the number-one cause of death in children in developing countries. Giving children zinc supplements, coupled with oral rehydration solutions, may help provide relief. It can cut episodes short and reduce the frequency and intensity of gastrointestinal problems for about three months. The recommended zinc dose for acute diarrhea in infants younger than 6 months old is 10mg a day for 10 to 14 days. For children age 6 months to 5 years, it's 20mg a day for the same duration.[5, 8]
Zinc can improve healing time in gastric ulcer patients. In one study, rats on a zinc-deficient diet took longer to heal from an ulcer compared to rats in a control group. Zinc supplementation did not improve healing time, but it did heighten levels of the mineral in the blood. According to researchers from Osaka City University Medical School in Japan, zinc is effective for gastric ulcers, but it's imperative that treatment begin early.
Safety and side effects
- Zinc is well tolerated and safe when taken in recommended doses.
- There are few side effects associated with zinc intake, but it may cause vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea.
- Since cadmium and zinc are typically found together in nature, supplements containing zinc may also contain cadmium. Long-term exposure to high doses of cadmium can cause kidney disease. If you have concerns about the level of cadmium in zinc supplements, choose zinc gluconate since it doesn't have as much cadmium.
- Reduced immune responses may occur with zinc usage.
- Avoid taking high doses of zinc. It could cause liver failure, intestinal bleeding and other serious problems.
- Taking more than 100mg of supplemental zinc per day can substantially increase prostate cancer risk.
- Patients with heart disease, high cholesterol/blood fats, skin disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, liver disease, blood disorders, neurological disorders, kidney disease, and other chronic health problems, should discuss the possible dangers of taking zinc ahead of time.
- Taking zinc supplements for 10 years or longer doubles prostate cancer risk.
- Taking a multivitamin along with a separate zinc supplement increases your chances of dying from prostate cancer.
- Zinc may increase bleeding risk. Do not take it if you have a bleeding disorder.
- Blood iron problems can result from taking 450mg or higher of zinc daily.
- Death can result from taking 10g to 30g of zinc in one dose.
- Zinc nose sprays may impair your sense of smell and zinc nasal gels may cause tingling or burning.
- Zinc may cause respiratory infections in children.
- Topical zinc may cause skin irritation.
- It's OK for pregnant and breastfeeding women to take zinc in normal, recommended doses. If you're over 18, don't take more than 40mg daily. Don't take more than 34mg if you are 14 to 18 years old.
- Zinc could reduce blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic or hypoglycemic, have your blood sugar monitored regularly.
- Check with your doctor if you have symptoms of zinc deficiency. It could be something else. Don't self-treat with supplements.
- Do not use excessive amounts of denture adhesive creams as they contain zinc, and overdosing on them can lead to copper deficiency.
- Zinc oxide may cause an allergic reaction. Do not take it if you have a zinc allergy.
Zinc may interact with medications, supplements, herbs, and even certain types of foods.
- Penicillamine: Zinc may decrease the effectiveness. Take at least two hours apart.
- Antibiotics: Zinc may decrease absorption of these medications. Take antibiotics at least two hours before, or four to six hours after zinc supplementation.
- Cisplatin: Zinc may reduce the effectiveness of EDTA (A medication taken for lead poisoning).
- Amiloride: This medication can cause zinc overload in the body.
- Calcium: Calcium can reduce zinc absorption.
- Copper: Zinc overload can reduce copper absorption.
- Iron: Zinc and iron can hinder each other's absorption.
- Coffee: Taking zinc sulfate with black coffee can interfere with absorption.
- Fiber: Fiber may interfere with zinc absorption. Over time, the body may be able to compensate.
- Dairy products and calcium-fortified foods: Calcium can interfere with zinc absorption. The body may be able to compensate for this over time.
- Phytate: This is a molecule found in grains, legumes, seeds, and soy. It can interfere with zinc absorption. However, the body may be able to adapt over time.
- Protein: Zinc attaches to proteins and is absorbed during digestion. The amount of zinc absorbed depends on the type of protein. For example, animal protein boosts zinc absorption while soy protein hinders it.
Note: This is not a complete list. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about how zinc intake will interfere with any medications or supplements you're already taking.
Recommended zinc dosage
Daily Dosage Recommendation
0 to 6 months old
Babies 7 to 12 months old
Children 1 to 3 years old
Children 4 to 8 years old
Children 9 to 13 years old
Teens 14 to 18 years old (girls)
Teens 14 to 18 years old (boys)
Adult women (pregnant)
Adult women (breastfeeding)
Based on table appearing in 
Dosages for specific conditions
- Common cold: 9mg to 24mg of elemental zinc in a lozenge (zinc gluconate or acetate) by mouth every two hours.
- Diarrhea in malnourished or zinc-deficient children: 10mg to 40mg elemental zinc daily.
- Stomach ulcer: 200mg of zinc sulfate three times daily.
- Osteoporosis: Take a combination of 15mg zinc, 5mg manganese, 2.5mg copper, and 1000mg calcium.
- Acne: 30mg to 135mg elemental zinc daily.
- Zinc deficiency: Dosages vary depending on the extent of deficiency.
Note that this list is not thorough. If you have a specific condition that is not noted here, contact your doctor for recommended dosage.
Where to buyRight here at PricePlow. Our price comparisons of various brands make it easy to find the best deal. You can save from 30% to 50% by buying from us versus your local retail store.
What is the best zinc
We recommend NOW Foods for basic vitamins. No gimmicks or marketing hype, but a great value from a company you can trust. Plus, they are a cGMP-compliant facilty.
Many male users may also be interested in ZMA, which also contains zinc, and may help with testosterone levels and improve sleep quality.
- Mayo Clinic; "Zinc"
- MedlinePlus: "Zinc"
- Marianna K. Baum, et. al.; Clinical Infectious Diseases; "Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial of Zinc Supplementation to Prevent Immunological Failure in HIV-Infected Adults;" 2010
- Fashner J., et. al.; American Family Physician; "Treatment of the Common Cold in Children and Adults;" 2012
- Penny ME; Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism; "Zinc Supplementation in Public Health" 2013
- Krebs NF.; Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism; "Update in Zinc Deficiency and Excess in Clinical Pediatric Practice;" Krebs, NF; Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism;" 2013
- Watanabe T, et. al.; Digestive Diseases and Sciences; "Zinc Deficiency Delays Gastric Ulcer Healing in Rats;" Watanabe T, et.al; Digestive Diseases and Sciences;" 1995
- Chaitali Bajait, Vijay Thawani; INdian Journal of Pharmacology; "Role of Zinc in Pediatric Diarrhea;" Chaitali Bajait and Vijay Thawani;" 2011
- NIH Office of Dietary Supplements; "Zinc: Quick Facts;"
Zinc News on PricePlow
Dec 09, 2018 Product News:
Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate has new variations: Zinc
Nov 15, 2018 Blog Post:
Olympus Labs Sup3r PCT: The One-Stop PCT Shop Upgraded!
Olympus Labs Super PCT has been given an upgrade, removing the D-Aspartic Acid and making room for tons of beneficial post cycle support ingredients!
Oct 30, 2018 Product News:
Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate has new variations: Zinc
Sep 26, 2018 Blog Post:
Kaged Muscle Ferodrox: The HONEST Testosterone Booster
Kaged Muscle Ferodrox is what they say it is - a phenomenal testosterone support matrix, in just two capsules per day, with four patented ingredients!
Sep 17, 2018 Product News:
Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate was created.
Sep 15, 2018 Product News:
Thorne Research Double Strength Zinc Picolinate was created.
Aug 24, 2018 Blog Post:
EVL Z-Matrix – An (EVL) Genius Idea: ZMA with an L-Theanine Twist!
EVL's Z-Matrix took something we love (ZMA), with something else we love (L-Theanine and Vitamin D), and made a sleep supplement that's simply smart!
Jul 15, 2018 Product News:
NOW L-OptiZinc was created.
Jun 29, 2018 Blog Post:
EVLTEST Brings EVL’s Advanced D-Aspartic Acid to Powder Form!
EVLution Nutrition has a great "enhanced D-Aspartic Acid" natural testosterone booster with "mini-ZMA" inside, but ditch those tablets for the powder!
Jun 14, 2018 Product News:
Nature's Bounty Zinc was created.
Jun 11, 2018 Blog Post:
PEScience Symbiont-GI: Achieve Symbiosis in Your GI Tract
PEScience has broken away from "sports nutrition" with a fantastically-formulated digestive enzyme / probiotic / GI support supplement, Symbiont-GI!
May 17, 2018 Blog Post:
Beast Super Test: Man’s Best Friend in Eight Capsules Per Day
The new version of Beast Super Test is one crazy interesting natural testosterone supporting supplement, with some well-researched ingredients and...
Jan 24, 2018 Product News:
Medi Evil PRO-TEST was created.
Jan 13, 2018 Blog Post:
Primeval Labs Neanderthal Ingredients: Explained by PricePlow
Looking for a strong test booster? CJ of PricePlow fame gives you the low down on all the label for the robust Primeval Labs Neanderthal ingredients.
Dec 19, 2017 Product News:
Nature's Life Zinc was created.
Oct 17, 2017 Blog Post:
Primeval Labs Neanderthal — Unleash your Inner Man Beast
Primeval Labs looks to revolution the natural testosterone booster market with Neanderthal, a powered natural testosterone booster with 11 ingredients
Oct 07, 2017 Blog Post:
Transparent Labs ZMO – Oyster Meat Sleep Aid?!
Transparent Labs ZMO isn't your standard ZMA sleep and recovery supplement, this one's got oyster meat extract too!
Jun 27, 2017 Blog Post:
CEL Cycle Assist – On and Off Cycle Support
CEL Cycle Assist is the ultimate protection for your most vital organs whether you're on cycle or off cycle.
May 16, 2017 Blog Post:
Primeval Labs Sanctuary: Your PCT Safe Haven
Sanctuary from Primeval Labs provides comprehensive and effective natural post cycle therapy (PCT) in one daily serving. Get estrogen down, libido up!
Apr 25, 2017 Blog Post:
PreSeries LEAN by Transparent Labs: When to Use Lean vs BULK?
Transparent Labs PreSeries Lean is a pre workout supplement with a few extra fat burning ingredients than the BULK version. We compare on PricePlow!
Apr 24, 2017 Product News:
Doctor's Best Zinc Carnosine Complex with PepZinGI was created.
Dec 08, 2016 Blog Post:
InnovaPharm ZMX – The Ultimate ZMA formula
InnovaPharm ZMX is the new and ultimate form of a ZMA supplement! ZMX uses the most bioavailable forms of minerals and vitamins.
Jan 14, 2016 Blog Post:
PreSeries BULK – $49 Pre Workout Has Industry Abuzz…
Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk is a serious pre workout, with efficacious doses of everything you'd want in a pre workout. But is it worth $49?!
Nov 06, 2015 Blog Post:
PES TruZMA: A Bedtime Test Boost
TruZMA is the addition to PES Superior Essentials lineup that combines ZMA with Shilajit Fulvic Acid for better testosterone production and recovery.
Oct 07, 2015 Blog Post:
Olympus Labs Sup3r PCT: A One-Stop PCT Shop
Olympus Labs Sup3r PCT is your one-stop shop for all your post cycle therapy needs to ensure optimal hormone levels and organ support.
Sep 14, 2015 Blog Post:
Cellucor P6 PM – Nighttime Sleep Supplement
Cellucor P6 PM combines the brand's testosterone boosting line of products with a whole host of sleep aids to maximize recovery.
Aug 21, 2015 Blog Post:
Rich Piana’s Liver & Organ Defender: Total Body Protection!
Rich Piana's Liver and Organ Defender from 5% Nutrition covers your body's needs with their that protects all your vital organs during "harsh" times
Aug 17, 2015 Blog Post:
Delta XT by MAN Sports: An “Epic” Form of ZMA and More!
Delta XT is the long-awaited epicatechin-based, muscle-building and recovery boosting supplement from MAN Sports. Consider it super advanced ZMA!
Aug 16, 2015 Blog Post:
Instant Knockout Fat Burner: Is this Worth $59??
Instant Knockout is a fat burner getting HEAVILY promoted online, selling for $59.99. Is it worth that? We analyze the Instant Knockout Ingredients.
Sign up for future Zinc news!
Click the button below to sign up for future Zinc news, deals, coupons, and reviews!
Zinc Deals & Price Alerts
The following deals are still active:
- Dec 08, 2018: Nature's Life Zinc 250 30mg Capsules dropped by 24.2% to $8.94 at eVitamins
- Dec 05, 2018: NOW Elder-Zinc Lozenges 90 Lozenges dropped by 19.4% to $6.89 at AllStarHealth
- Nov 27, 2018: NOW Magnesium & Calcium 100 Tablets dropped by 15.1% to $6.09 at AllStarHealth
- Nov 17, 2018: NOW Magnesium & Calcium 250 Tablets dropped by 15.2% to $12.29 at AllStarHealth
- Nov 14, 2018: Doctor's Best Zinc Carnosine Complex with PepZinGI 120 Vcaps dropped by 9.2% to $16.99 at AllStarHealth
- Nov 12, 2018: Nature's Way Sambucus Immune Syrup 8 Oz. dropped by 13.3% to $15.00 at AllStarHealth
- Nov 12, 2018: Nature's Way Zinc Lozenges 60 Lozenges (only Natural Berry) dropped by 13.0% to $2.69 at AllStarHealth
- Nov 11, 2018: NOW Zinc Glycinate 120 Softgels dropped by 7.9% to $6.59 at AllStarHealth
- Nov 08, 2018: Nature's Life Zinc 100 30mg Capsules dropped by 16.0% to $5.79 at AllStarHealth
- Oct 08, 2018: Nature's Life Zinc 25 Lozenges dropped by 19.4% to $3.30 at eVitamins
- Sep 03, 2018: Solaray Zinc Asporotate 100 Capsules dropped by 16.4% to $3.99 at AllStarHealth
- Aug 02, 2018: Country Life Zinc Lozenges 120 Lozenges dropped by 6.3% to $8.99 at NetNutri.com
- Jul 06, 2018: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc 60 Vcaps dropped by 10.5% to $7.64 at Best Price Nutrition
- Jun 02, 2018: Nature's Plus Zinc Dyno-Mins 90 Tablets dropped by 10.1% to $13.60 at eVitamins
- Jun 02, 2018: NOW Elder-Zinc Lozenges 30 Lozenges dropped by 32.7% to $4.09 at eVitamins
- May 02, 2018: Country Life Zinc 90 Tablets dropped by 7.7% to $6.23 at NetNutri.com
- Jun 29, 2016: Natrol High Absorption Zinc 60 Chewables dropped by 15.6% to $5.89 at VitaCost.com
Sign up for future Zinc deals and coupons!
Click the button below to sign up for future Zinc deals, news, and coupons!