The 7 Best Zinc Supplements of 2020, According to a Dietitian

Get your daily dose of zinc with these nutritionist-approved products

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate at Thorne

"Contains 15 mg of zinc picolinate, a highly absorbable form of zinc."

Best Budget: Nature’s Bounty Zinc 50 mg Caplets at Amazon

"Both high-quality and wallet-friendly."

Best Vegan: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc at Amazon

"Each capsule provides 30 mg of zinc from brown rice chelate and 60 mg of vitamin C."

Best Liquid: Pure Encapsulations Zinc Gluconate at Pureformulas

"The liquid zinc is family-friendly, as it can be used for children (age 4+), teens, and adults."

Best Lozenge: Zand HerbaLozenge Elderberry Zinc Lozenges at Vitamin Shoppe

"Non-GMO lozenges are free of gluten, as well as added dyes and colors."

Best Gluten-Free: Megafood Zinc at Amazon

"Each once-daily tablet provides 22.5 mg of zinc as a mineral bound to S. Cerevisiae, or zinc-enriched yeast."

Best Organic: New Chapter Zinc Food Complex at Amazon

"Contains various probiotic and digestive enzymes for optimal digestion."

Best known for keeping the common cold at bay, zinc has many roles in the body. There is ample evidence to support zinc in reducing the duration and symptoms associated with the common cold, however, more research is needed to determine the appropriate dosage, formulation, and duration.

The primary role of zinc is to help with cell growth and development, and this essential mineral is key for optimal wellness. Zinc also plays a role in immune defense, hormone regulation, neurological function, wound healing, and inflammation. Research shows that zinc supplementation may also reduce incidence of infections and inflammation, particularly in the elderly population.

The average adult requires approximately 8 milligrams (mg) to 11 mg of zinc per day, and it is generally met through food sources like beans, meat, cheese, or seeds. Interestingly, oysters are the best food source of zinc. Supplementation may be helpful if you are not eating these foods or if you feel like you need an immune boost.

Here, our top picks for zinc supplements.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate

Zinc Picolinate 15 mg

 Courtesy of Thorne

Thorne Research takes the top pick for zinc supplements, as the reputable brand offers capsules containing 15 mg of zinc picolinate, a highly absorbable form of zinc. Research shows that zinc picolinate is better absorbed than zinc citrate or zinc gluconate. Picolinic acid is a natural chelator that is produced as a byproduct of tryptophan in the body and helps to facilitate the mineral's absorption.

Thorne is a trusted brand with a commitment to high-quality supplements. The company prides itself on offering research-backed ingredients that are highly potent and easily absorbed. Each product is tested four times for quality, safety, and efficacy. The capsules are free of gluten, GMOs, artificial preservatives, and all of the major allergens, so it’s accessible to a wide variety of people.

Best Budget: Nature’s Bounty Zinc 50 mg Caplets

Nature's Bounty Zinc 50mg
Courtesy of Amazon.

For nearly 50 years, Nature's Bounty has been producing supplements that are both high-quality and wallet-friendly. Their zinc caplets are no exception. Each caplet contains 50 mg of zinc gluconate, a well-absorbed form of zinc. The bottle contains 100 caplets, so you’ll have enough zinc supplements for several months.

Nature's Bounty Zinc contains only the purest ingredients, guaranteeing quality and ensuring that the products are laboratory tested. The non-GMO caplets are free of any artificial ingredients including color, flavor, and sweeteners. The supplement is allergy-friendly as it contains no milk, soy, gluten, wheat, yeast, or fish. Each vegetarian caplet is also free of sugar, starch, and sodium.

Best Vegan: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc

Following a vegan diet can be beneficial for your health and reduce carbon emissions from factory farming, but it can be tricky to get enough zinc in your diet if you completely eliminate animal products. Many supplements use gelatin capsules, which makes a vegan zinc supplement hard to come by. Additionally, many plant sources of zinc contain phytates and other inhibitors of zinc absorption, potentially putting vegetarians and vegans at risk of deficiency. Garden of Life’s Raw Zinc Supplement is a potent, vegan-friendly capsule to help vegans meet their zinc needs.

Each capsule provides 30 mg of zinc from brown rice chelate and 60 mg of vitamin C. Research suggests that a combination of vitamin C and zinc may help to reduce symptoms of the common cold quickly and effectively. The raw capsules also contain a blend of raw fruit and vegetables, trace minerals, probiotics, and enzymes.

Garden of Life uses a raw veggie mineral blend in this supplement, drawing zinc from plant sources like organically-grown vegetables. They also don’t have any binders or fillers, and you can open the capsules and mix the powder in with food if you have trouble swallowing pills.

Best Liquid: Pure Encapsulations Zinc Gluconate

zinc liquid 15mg

 Courtesy of Pureformulas

Known for their hypoallergenic formulas and commitment to quality, Pure Encapsulations consistently creates excellent supplements. The Zinc Gluconate liquid is no exception. The liquid zinc is family-friendly, as it can be used for children (age 4+), teens, and adults.

Pure Encapsulations recommends children take 2 full droppers (2 ml) daily with a meal, while adults take four full droppers (4 ml) each day with food. Always check with your health care provider before starting supplementation for yourself or your children.

Zinc gluconate is a salt that dissolves quickly in water. You may not notice it on the label, but zinc gluconate is commonly used in oral rehydration drinks for children (like Pedialyte) to replenish zinc lost during diarrhea.

The non-GMO liquid tastes great due to the apple juice concentrate, cranberry juice concentrate, and purified stevia leaf extract that is used to sweeten it. The allergy-friendly formula is free from wheat, gluten, egg, peanuts, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated fat, artificial sweeteners, colors, and additional unnecessary excipients.

Best Lozenge: Zand HerbaLozenge Elderberry Zinc Lozenges

Elderberry zinc herbal lozenges

 Courtesy of The Vitamin Shoppe

The delicious Zand HerbaLozenges combine 5 mg of zinc gluconate with a proprietary herbal blend containing elderberry extract to create an effective, sweet zinc lozenge. The product is sweetened with brown rice syrup, which contributes 1 gram sugar, 4 grams carbohydrates and 15 calories per lozenge. The non-GMO lozenges are free of gluten, as well as added dyes and colors.

While the brand does not specify exactly how much elderberry extract is in the proprietary herbal blend, the antioxidant-rich elderberry fruit has been shown to reduce upper respiratory symptoms. Combining zinc and elderberry may be a great immune booster and cold fighter.

Zand recommends allowing 1 lozenge to completely dissolve in your mouth every 1–2 hours as needed, without exceeding a total of 6 lozenges per day.

Best Gluten-Free: Megafood Zinc

If you're looking for a quality, gluten-free zinc supplement made from whole food ingredients, MegaFood is the brand to choose. MegaFood has been making supplements using fresh, local foods from trusted farmers since 1973, and consistently delivers wholesome products. The Certified Gluten-Free product provides solace for people with celiac disease who may worry that their supplement contains an unknown source of gluten or is cross-contaminated.

Each once-daily tablet provides 22.5 mg of zinc as a mineral bound to S. Cerevisiae, or zinc-enriched yeast. The tablet also provides a blend of various vegetables including spinach, brown rice, parsley, carrot, broccoli, and beetroot. They're gentle on the stomach and can be taken anytime throughout the day, with or without food.

In addition to being Certified Gluten-Free, the supplement is also dairy-free, soy-free, Certified Kosher, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Certified Vegan.

Best Organic: New Chapter Zinc Food Complex

Made with organic vegetables and herbs, New Chapter's Zinc Food Complex is the top pick among organic, plant-based zinc supplements. The ICS Certified Organic product provides 15 mg of zinc oxide per tablet, along with 1.5 mg of copper. Along with being Certified Organic, the supplement is also Non-GMO Project Verified, so you know you're getting a superior quality product with highly pure ingredients.

New Chapter includes various complementary ingredients such as elderberry, peppermint, ginger, and turmeric to support immune function and boost digestion. The probiotic-cultured zinc can easily be taken on an empty stomach, and even contains various probiotic and digestive enzymes for optimal digestion.

What to Look for in a Zinc Supplement

  • Form: Many types of zinc are available. Zinc sulfate is the least expensive form, but it is not as well absorbed as others and may cause stomach upset. More easily absorbed forms include zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, zinc acetate, and zinc glycinate.
  • Type: Zinc supplements come in capsule, pill, tablet, and liquid form. Zinc is also available as an intranasal spray; however, there is some controversy about the safety of the spray products.
  • Dosage: Note that the Tolerable Upper Limit for zinc is 40 mg per day. However, the upper limit does not apply to individuals receiving zinc for medical treatment. There are health risks associated with excessive intake, and you should always speak with a health care professional about the appropriate dosage for your needs.
  • Side Effects: Note that zinc supplementation may cause stomach upset. Try taking zinc with a meal to avoid any gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Complementary and Antagonistic Nutrients: Do not take zinc with iron or calcium supplements, as they compete for absorption. Try to space these supplements at least 2 hours apart to reap the full benefits. Note that taking large quantities of zinc may interfere with copper availability, and cause a deficiency over a long period of time. Always speak with your physician about the appropriate dosage.

Why Trust Verywell

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements. I spent time reviewing the most current clinical research on zinc supplementation and optimal forms, looking at multiple products and brands, and consulting with trusted peers in dietetics.

I believe the zinc supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands that are devoted to product purity and are composed of high-quality ingredients. Similar to all supplements, I recommend speaking with your physician before using a zinc supplement. Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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