The 7 Best Zinc Supplements of 2021, According to a Dietitian

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

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Best Zinc Supplements

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

While zinc is the most famous remedy for warding off the common cold, the essential mineral is also crucial in the development and growth of cells. According to the NIH, the average adult requires approximately eight milligrams to 11 milligrams of zinc per day, most of which is absorbed from food sources such as beans, meat, cheese, seeds, and oysters. Some people have trouble getting enough zinc in their diet, most commonly due to an excessive alcohol intake, vegetarian diet, a digestive disorder, a history of gastrointestinal surgery, sickle cell disease, or older infants who are breastfed.

Supplementation might be helpful if you have a deficiency of zinc or feel like you need an immunity boost—especially if you feel a cold coming on. In fact, studies have found that a combination of zinc and vitamin C—found in a few of our product picks—can help reduce the symptoms of a common cold.

Here, the best zinc supplements: 

Our Top Picks
Free of the most common allergens and fillers, these zinc picolinate capsules boast 15 milligrams of zinc picolinate.
The budget-friendly option is ideal for those with allergies as it's free of milk, soy, gluten, sugar, starch, and sodium.
If liquid is your preferred form of minerals, these drops feature vitamin C and absorb more quickly than other forms.
Safe for a vegan diet, each capsule contains a blend of raw fruits and veggies, trace minerals, probiotics, and enzymes.
Best Gluten-Free:
MegaFood Zinc at Vitacost
The certified gluten-free tablets can be taken any time of the day and is gentle enough to be ingested with or without food.
A solid way to reduce the length of a cold, or get an immunity boost, it delivers positively charged zinc ions.
Each capsule contains 15 milligrams of zinc from an organic, sprouted blend made from guava leaves and lentil sprouts.

Best Overall: Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate

Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate
Pros
  • More absorbable form of zinc

  • Free of most common allergens

  • No starches or fillers

Cons
  • Serving size is two capsules

Thorne Research is one of the most respected vitamin and supplement companies in the country, boasting their own scientists, labs, and research facilities to ensure the most safe and effective products—all of which are free of gluten, GMOs, artificial preservatives, and all of the major allergens. Every one of their products meet NSF International and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) standards and are NSF Certified for Sport, meaning that they don't contain over 200 substances banned by many major athletic organizations. They also test each of their products four times for quality, safety, and efficacy. 

These zinc picolinate capsules boast 15 milligrams of zinc picolinate, a much more absorbable form of the mineral than zinc citrate or zinc gluconate.

Active Ingredients: Zinc | Form: Capsule | Dosage: 30 mg

Best Budget: Nature’s Bounty Zinc 50 mg Caplets

Nature's Bounty Zinc
Pros
  • Serving size is one caplet

  • More affordable option

Cons
  • Dosage of zinc might be too high for some

Nature’s Bounty is a supplement company that has passed the tried and true test of time, producing high-quality and affordable supplements for nearly 50 years. Their Zinc is no exception to their standards.

Like all of their offerings, these caplets are free of GMO, artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. They don't contain sugar, starch, or sodium and they're also perfect for anyone with allergies, as the ingredient list doesn’t include milk, soy, gluten, wheat, yeast, or fish. The bottle contains 100 caplets, each with a dose of 50 milligrams of zinc gluconate, a more budget-friendly but absorbable type of zinc.

Active Ingredients: Zinc | Form: Caplet | Dosage: 50 mg

Best Liquid: NutraChamps Liquid Ionic Zinc

NutraChamps Liquid Ionic Zinc
Pros
  • Easy-to-take liquid form

  • Added vitamin C for absorption

  • Vegan-friendly formula

Cons
  • Hard to measure dosage

For those who prefer zinc in liquid form, we recommend NutraChamps Liquid Ionic Zinc. These liquid drops, which include vitamin C for better results, absorb more quickly and effectively than other forms of the mineral and can be easily integrated into your daily routine.

Just add a few sugar-free, sweet-tasting drops into water or juice, and you will have all the zinc you need for the day. They are also a great option for children, as they are more easily ingested than a caplet or lozenge. They are also organic, vegan, and non-GMO.

Active Ingredients: Zinc, Vitamin C | Form: Liquid | Dosage: N/A

Best Vegan: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc
Pros
  • Includes blend of raw fruits and veggies

  • Probiotics and enzymes for digestion

  • Added 30mg of vitamin C

Cons
  • Only 30 servings per bottle

Garden of Life prides itself on producing USDA Organic, non-GMO, certified gluten-free, and Certified Vegan products. While some other companies seal their supplements in gelatin capsules, there are absolutely no animal products involved in the making of Vitamin Code Raw Zinc.

Each capsule contains a blend of raw fruits and veggies, trace minerals, probiotics, and enzymes, providing 30 milligrams of zinc from brown rice chelate, as well as 60 milligrams of vitamin C. Another bonus is that you can open the capsules and mix the powder into a smoothie or drink if you don’t like swallowing pills. 

Active Ingredients: Vitamin C, Zinc | Form: Capsule | Dosage: 30 mg

Best Gluten-Free: MegaFood Zinc

Megafood Zinc
Pros
  • Can be taken with or without food

  • Includes immune health blend

  • Nourishing whole food blend

Cons
  • Contains (inactive) yeast

Megafood is an excellent supplement company that is well-known for its high-quality supplements derived from whole food ingredients. Whether you are on a gluten-free diet for personal reasons or you have celiac disease, you can be assured that Megafood Zinc tablets are certified gluten-free in addition to being dairy-free, soy-free, kosher, non-GMO Project Verified, and certified vegan.

Each one-a-day-tablet can be taken any time of the day and is gentle enough on the stomach that it can be taken with or without food. Just one dose contains 22.5 milligrams of zinc as a mineral bound to S. Cerevisiae, or zinc-enriched yeast, as well as a blend of various vegetables including spinach, brown rice, parsley, carrot, broccoli, and beetroot. If you are allergic to yeast, you might have a negative reaction if you consume this product.

Active Ingredients: Zinc | Form: Tablet | Dosage: 22 mg

Best Lozenge: Life Extension Enhanced Zinc Lozenges

Life Extension Enhanced Zinc Lozenges
Pros
  • Reduces the length of common colds

  • Can be taken occasionally to boost immunity

  • Vegetarian lozenges

Cons
  • Not a daily supplement

A zinc lozenge is a great way to get a huge boost of immunity when you need it the most. Studies have found that high doses of zinc can reduce the duration of the common cold by up to 33 percent, and a great way to get them into your system is via a lozenge. These affordable Life Extension Enhanced Zinc Lozenges are packed with 18.75 milligrams of zinc acetate, which releases as ionic zinc—delivering positively charged zinc ions to your immune system via a naturally peppermint-flavored lozenge.

An important thing to note is that these aren’t meant as a daily supplement. Instead, they should be utilized when you feel like you need an immunity boost—like during the changing of seasons—and they may be used several times a day for up to three days.

Active Ingredients: Zinc | Form: Lozenge | Dosage: N/A

Pros
  • Vegan-friendly zinc source

  • Includes organic food blend

  • Free of chemical preservatives

Cons
  • No added vitamins

Nutrigold is a great company to stick with if you are looking for high-quality, non-GMO, vegan, and organic supplements. These capsules derive their zinc from all-organic whole foods, a “gentler and more nourishing” alternative to synthetic zinc supplements.

Each capsule contains 15 milligrams of zinc from an organic, sprouted blend made from guava leaves, navy bean sprouts, lentil sprouts, and garbanzo bean sprouts.

Active Ingredients: Zinc | Form: Capsule | Dosage: 15 mg

Final Verdict

While there are lots of high-quality zinc supplements on the market, we stand behind Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate (view at Amazon) as the gold standard. Due to the fact that the company is so dedicated to science and research, you can’t go wrong with any of their products. We love this zinc because it is free of all gluten, GMOs, artificial preservatives, and other major allergens. The form of zinc—picolinate—is also more easily absorbable than other types.

What to Look for in a Zinc Supplement

Type:

Like most supplements, you can take zinc in a variety of ways. The most common types are capsule, pill, tablet, gummy, and liquid form. Gummies and liquid are definitely a better option for children or people who have trouble swallowing pills. However, keep in mind that gummies don’t offer the higher concentrated dosage as other types of zinc supplements, and, similarly to liquid formulas, may contain added sugars or sweeteners. 

Form:

There are several forms of zinc. Zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, zinc acetate, and zinc glycinate are more easily absorbable than zinc sulfate—but generally cost more. 

Dosage:

Pay attention to how many mg of zinc you need and what each pill, capsule, gummy, tablet, or liquid offers. Keep in mind that more isn’t necessarily better, as we all have different needs. And you can experience nausea as a side effect of zinc supplementation. Before taking any type of supplement, you should always check with your healthcare provider to establish what your needs are.

Purpose:

Are you looking for a daily zinc supplement or an occasional immune booster? While some zinc offerings are meant to take once or twice a day, others are meant to be taken several times a day for a few days.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the RDA for zinc?

    The Recommended Dietary Allowance for Zinc is 11 milligrams per day for men age 19 and up, and 8 milligrams for women age 19 and up. The RDA does increase with pregnancy and lactation (for women age 19 and up), to 11 milligrams and 12 milligrams, respectively.

  • Does zinc interact with any medications?

    Zinc supplements may interact with some diuretics and antibiotics, as well as specific rheumatoid arthritis drugs. Always speak with your healthcare provider prior to taking a supplement—including zinc—to ensure it's safe to take.

  • Can you take too much zinc?

    Yes, zinc toxicity can occur from taking high doses. Side effects may include vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. Excessive long-term zinc intake may deplete copper status, reduce immune function, and cause alterations in iron function.

  • How does zinc interact with copper and iron?

    Supplementing with greater than 25 milligrams of iron may affect zinc absorption.

    Large amounts of zinc can inhibit copper absorption, causing copper deficiency and associated anemia.

What Experts Say

"Zinc is an essential nutrient that plays many important roles in the body. It is critical for immune health and plays a key role in cell growth, protein building, and wound healing. Meat, poultry, and seafood are great sources of zinc. It's also found in plants like whole grains and vegetables; however, we generally absorb less inc from plant sources than we do from animals."—Merrill Brady, MS, RD

Why Trust Verywell Health?

A personal note on my recommendations written above. As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements, including zinc. I spent time reviewing the most current recommendations on zinc supplementation, and I looked at multiple brands and products. I believe the supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands that are devoted to product purity and are composed of high-quality ingredients.—Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

Leah Groth, a freelance Health writer, also contributed to this article.

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4 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.
  1. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Zinc Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated July 15, 2020.

  2. Maggini S, Beveridge S, Suter M. A combination of high-dose vitamin C plus zinc for the common cold. J Int Med Res. 2012;40(1):28-42. doi: 10.1177/147323001204000104.

  3. Barrie SA, Wright JV, Pizzorno JE, Kutter E, Barron PC. Comparative absorption of zinc picolinate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate in humansAgents Actions. 1987;21(1-2):223-228.doi: 10.1007/BF01974946

  4. Hemilä H. Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage. JRSM Open. 2017 May 2;8(5):2054270417694291. doi: 10.1177/2054270417694291