4 of the best zinc supplements for the skin and immune system

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Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a variety of roles in the human body, including supporting the immune system and healing wounds. Zinc is present in some foods or available as a dietary supplement.

This article will discuss what zinc does, its benefits, potential side effects, and provide a list of products that a person may consider trying.

Zinc has many uses in the body. the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that zinc plays a role in:

  • immune function
  • healing
  • protein synthesis
  • DNA synthesis
  • cell division
  • support growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence
  • promoting the sense of taste and smell
  • help recover from colds
  • treat diarrhea
  • slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease that gradually leads to vision loss

According to the NIH, most people in the United States get enough zinc from their food. However, other people may not be able to consume the amount they need, including:

  • People with digestive disorders or who have had gastrointestinal surgery: Disorders such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease decrease the amount of zinc absorbed by the body and the amount lost through urination.
  • Vegetarians or vegans: Not eating meat can cause a lack of zinc. The NIH suggests that these people may need to eat 50% more zinc than the recommended amount.
  • Breastfed infants over 6 months: Breast milk does not contain enough zinc for an infant over 6 months of age. Powdered or mashed meat can provide infants over 6 months with the zinc they need.
  • People with alcohol use disorders: Alcohol decreases the amount of zinc the body absorbs and increases the amount lost in urination. Those who eat a limited amount of food may also lack zinc.
  • People with sickle cell disease: Research suggests that 44% of children with sickle cell disease have low plasma zinc levels. In addition, 60 to 70% of adults with sickle cell disease are zinc deficient.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding people: Pregnancy can cause zinc deficiency due to the high zinc requirement of the developing fetus. Breast milk contains zinc to nourish the baby, leaving less for the body to use.
  • The elderly: Researchers found that people aged 60 to 65 can get zinc below 50% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Reduced zinc intake in the elderly may be due to difficulty eating certain foods or to drug interactions.

The NIH states that the Zinc RDA is 11 mg for adult men and 8 mg for adult women. A person who does not get enough zinc in their diet may benefit from a zinc supplement.

Zinc deficiency can cause following symptoms:

  • hair loss
  • reduced immunity
  • reduced production of sex hormones in men
  • diarrhea
  • eye and skin wounds
  • loss of appetite
  • slow growth in infants and children
  • incapacity
  • delayed sexual development in adolescents
  • weightloss
  • wound healing problems
  • decreased vigilance
  • reduced ability to taste food

Having the right level of zinc in the body can help:

Boost immunity and reduce inflammation

Zinc is essential for maintaining a functioning immune system. Zinc oversees the elimination of pathogens, and a deficiency can reduce this function. Some cells of the immune system also need zinc to make or activate them.

Zinc can help relieve cold symptoms. Researchers found that cold symptoms went away more quickly in people who took a zinc acetate lozenge containing 13.3 mg of zinc every 2 to 3 hours than in those who did not.

However, more research is needed to determine the best zinc dosage for the common cold.

Maintain healthy skin

Zinc is an important nutrient for healthy skin. Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties and is useful for inflammatory skin diseases, such as acne, rosacea, eczema, and ulcers.

A review 2104 suggests that oral zinc may be helpful for:

The review also shows that although zinc sulfate can help treat severe acne, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Just as zinc deficiency can cause problems for a person, too much zinc can also cause problems. A person who has too much zinc in their diet can experience:

Different zinc supplements will have different doses. Zinc supplements can contain several forms of zinc, including:

  • zinc sulphate
  • zinc acetate
  • zinc gluconate

The label on each package should indicate the strength of each zinc supplement. A person should talk to their doctor about the correct dosage of zinc for them.

According to the NIH, the maximum dose of zinc that an adult should consume daily is 40 mg.

There are many zinc supplements available for purchase. Below we list four products that people may want to try. Many of these products contain a higher dose than the RDA. Always consult a doctor before taking zinc supplements.

Please note that the author of this article has not tried these products. All product information is purely research based.

Thorne Zinc Picolinate 30 mg

Thorne Zinc Picolinate contains 30 milligrams (mg) of zinc, bound to organic acid picolinic acid. Picolinic acid helps the body absorb zinc.

According to company, this product is NSF certified for sporting details.

People should take Thorne Zinc Picolinate once daily or as recommended by a doctor.

Thorne Zinc Picolinate is available for purchase here.

Vitamin Code raw zinc 30 mg

Vitamin Code Raw Zinc contains 67% of the RDA of vitamin C along with zinc, further increasing its benefits for the skin and immune system.

Vitamin Code Raw Zinc contains no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or additives and is suitable for vegans.

Vitamin Code recommends taking the supplement twice a day. However, this dose is greater than the RDA of zinc, and a person should speak to their health care provider before consuming.

Vitamin Code Raw Zinc is available for purchase here.

Puritan’s Pride Zinc for Acne 25 mg

Puritan’s Pride Zinc for Acne is a multivitamin containing zinc gluconate and vitamins C, B6, A and E for additional skin benefits.

Puritan’s Pride also recommends taking its supplement twice a day. Since the dose is greater than the RDA of zinc, a person should speak to their health care before consuming.

Puritan’s Pride Zinc for Acne is available for purchase here.

Zand Echinacea Zinc Herbalozenge Very Cherry 5 mg

This lozenge contains zinc, as well as several herbs.

These lozenges can help soothe a dry throat and boost the immune system.

Zand Echinacea Zinc Herbalozenge Very Cherry is available for purchase here.

An alternative to taking a zinc supplement is to eat a diet rich in zinc. Zinc is present in:

  • oysters, crabs or lobsters
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • Beans
  • nuts
  • whole grains
  • dairy products

Zinc is an essential nutrient for the body, including helping to support the immune system and the skin.

If a person lacks zinc in their diet, they can take it as a supplement. However, a person should be careful not to exceed the RDA of zinc as too much can cause health problems. A person should always speak to their health care provider before taking zinc supplements.

A person who has symptoms of zinc deficiency or too much zinc should talk to their healthcare professional.

Patricia J. Callender