According to many pharmacists, zinc is the single greatest dietary supplement. Chemists, pharmacists and doctors alike glorify zinc supplementation. Some of them maintain that zinc will ward off all sickness. While this is not entirely true, zinc does nonetheless fight the rhinovirus, which is responsible for about a third of the common colds in adults, along with many other illnesses which exhibit flu-like symptoms. Zinc boosts the overall immune system to fight infections and speed recovery times. It is therefore a useful supplement for almost everyone. Deficiencies of zinc have been shown in studies to lead to decreased thyroid hormone levels, and hypothyroidism. Zinc supplementation is absolutely vital for pregnant women. If zinc was given to every mother-to-be, then a large portion of birth abnormalities, pre-eclampsia occurrences, and deformations could be avoided. Give zinc the same respect that you would give to folate (the superior version of folic acid) and calcium during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

  • White spots (cuticles) in the fingernails.
  • Pale, rough skin, dry hair, and acne
  • Unhealthy weight loss caused by loss of appetite
  • Dandruff
  • Slow wound healing occurs in particularly bad cases of zinc deficiency.

The primary ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos is zinc. While there is nothing wrong with putting zinc in the hair, it would be much more prudent to simply supplement with it orally.

Not All Zinc is Created Equal

Zinc sulfate and zinc oxide are among the most popular types of zinc to be sold, but they are definitely not the best. The largest portion of these two zinc varieties simply flush out of the body without much cellular absorption. So these supplements may increase a body's burden instead of lightening it. In the particular case of zinc oxide, it is a widely-known carcinogen in sunscreens. This is a dirty industry secret, and sunscreens are the main reason why sunlight has been falsely maligned to cause skin cancers. Especially avoid zinc oxide.

Chelated zinc is partially absorbed by the body. There are different types of chelation, but most zinc manufacturers do not inform customers which form they use. For companies which do, zinc gluconate, and zinc citrate are among the best forms of chelated zinc. Zinc orotate is a chelated form of zinc that is more readily absorbed by the body than any other zinc supplement available. Manufacturers of it will usually boast about having this type, because they have good reason to. Zinc orotate passes through the membranes of cells easily, and it pulls the highest amounts of accompanying minerals into the cells, which leads to higher tissue concentrations of zinc and other beneficial nutrients.

Excellent food sources of zinc include cashews, almonds, kidney beans, flounder, and eggs. Zinc is also present in oysters, pork and crab, but we do not recommend these latter items as food. See the article, God's Nutrition: From The Big Guy Himself for more information about why one should avoid the latter group.

Zinc is one of the few supplements that the mainstream medical establishment will actually recommend. For some people, especially pregnant women, it is absolutely essential. We do not recommend zinc supplementation for vegetarians, because zinc will reduce their absorption of iron, and will increase their already elevated chance of developing anemia. However, the National Institutes of Health disagrees, and suggests that vegetarians get 50% more zinc than non-vegetarians, because zinc is one of the many things that vegetarians tend to have a deficiency of. Never take zinc supplements while having an empty stomach, or the zinc may cause severe nausea and stomach pains. In the very least, follow zinc supplementation with a large glass of water.

The Copper Connection

The human body needs copper to properly utilize zinc, so zinc supplementation will yield poor results during a time of copper deficiency. Unfortunately, it is unsafe to supplement with copper directly. It is far too easy to overdose and to cause serious liver problems with direct copper consumption. There are unscrupulous individuals who sell colloidal copper for internal consumption on the Internet, but we warn you to beware of such scoundrels. You will find them astroturfing Internet forums with miraculous stories, and stories are just what they are. The safe way to supplement with copper is to get it indirectly through chlorophyll supplements. Chlorophyll contains enough copper to make a huge difference, and it includes compounds that work with the copper for its best utilization. It is virtually impossible to get an overdose through chlorophyll, and it helps health in many other ways.


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Ellen Wedding
# Ellen Wedding 2010-03-08 01:40
Sarah and Thomas
How much zinc for lady over 50 ??? You mentioned the types. Is it supposedly to be just the zinc orotate with chelated or combination of the various types ?
are there any good supplements tht have the zinc and taurine and stuff for bones like MSM ???
So enjoy your site and articles. keep up good reporting
Yhank you
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Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)
# Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher) 2010-03-08 14:39
Hey Ellen;

We recommend just using zinc orotate. Around 50 mg. each day should be an ideal amount. Be sure to get plenty of iron from dietary sources ( too.

We don't generally look at commercial combinations of supplements. You may want to go to a health food store, and just read the ingredients of such packs. If you're lucky, you'll find a good one. If not, you'll have to buy the ingredients separately. You can generally get the best deals online, but be sure to read the ingredients there, too.
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Tim Major
# zinc supplementTim Major 2013-04-08 23:24
I have read that when taking zinc orotate a person should also take a copper supplement. Is this true and if so what copper supplement do you recommend?
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Alex Needles
# Recommended Zinc supplement?Alex Needles 2015-04-01 23:08
First off, I would just like to thank both of you guys. Sarah and Thomas. You guys rock and I'm glad you're a part of this world. I'm doing my best and spending as much time as I can to find out what it is that I need to be putting in my body and what it is that I need to keep out. Based on this article, I suspect I may have a slight zinc deficiency. So I'm researching online for Zinc Orotate and I've found a brand called "Advanced Research". Is this product ok? Do you have another product you would recommend? Any feedback is appreciated. If not, it's all good.
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Carol L. Kaiser
# Is this one O.K.?Carol L. Kaiser 2015-04-06 19:41
Just when I think that I have a good product, I read information like this and then wonder, what am I taking? So, I am taking Now Brand of Zinc called L-OptiZinc. 30 mg. of L-OptiZinc Monomethionine and .3 mg Cooper from amino acid chelate. Is this a good product or no?
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Rohit Sahdev
# CopperRohit Sahdev 2018-01-16 20:16
Morley Robbins says to supplement with copper . and that zinc will reduce copper in the liver
Any you add something to help me decide if I should add a copper supplement if 2mg?
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Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)
# Morley RobbinsSarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher) 2018-01-16 21:54
I noticed that you left comments throughout our site, referencing "Morley Robbins". We're not going to flood our site with his drivel, so the other comments will be deleted. Our time is too precious for us to waste refuting someone who is chronically wrong. Copper and zinc work together in the body, and if you have too much of one, you will have a deficiency of the other. This was already stated in the article above.

In another comment, you said that you didn't believe us about copper causing organ damage. There is nothing that we can do to force you to believe something. You are welcome to read the studies yourself, however.
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Alex Ray
# RE: Not All Zinc Supplements Are Created EqualAlex Ray 2018-03-09 12:43
Wait a minute. I thought Zinc Oxide was something you wanted in sunscreen. I always heard "people say they're safe but really you want to avoid chemical sunscreen, instead opt for mineral sunscreen. The best ingredient you'll find in them is zinc oxide" And now you're telling me the people who said that the industry was wrong are also wrong?

Ugh. Guess I have to look up information on sunscreen again.
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Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)
# RE: Not All Zinc Supplements Are Created EqualSarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher) 2018-09-12 00:52
Zinc oxide is the best option for sunscreens, but it's the best out of a slew of bad options. It's not a health supplement, and it's not good for you.
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Linda Gulla
# RE: Not All Zinc Supplements Are Created EqualLinda Gulla 2019-01-12 11:46
Exactly. Zinc oxide is a physical sun block and is the only sunscreen ingredient that can block out damaging UVA rays beside titanium dioxide. Many people continue to use chemical sunscreens which are man made chemicals that do not block UVA rays which is why there is an increase in skin cancer.
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