BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Contains 1 mg of copper to work harmoniously with zinc in supporting skeletal and immune health, as well as the body's antioxidants. Formulated to resist absorption interference to maximize benefits. Free of most common allergens.
A few note that taking without food caused an upset stomach.
Popular choice for help with skin issues, such as adult acne, and to speed up healing from colds. Gluten and yeast-free formula. Doesn't contain artificial colors or preservatives.
Causes nausea in some, especially if not taken with food. (May be because of higher zinc content.)
The patented complex of zinc and methionine in this vegetarian-friendly capsule allow this supplement to be more easily absorbed by the body. Additionally, some studies suggest the zinc remains in the body longer.
Some individuals may experience a brief period of stomach irritation when beginning to use this supplement.
A bioavailable form of zinc that allows for great integration into the body. Supports a broad diversity of optimal body functioning. Offers a generous 30mg of zinc per capsule at a very affordable cost.
Some might not prefer this specific form of zinc.
Contains 50mg zinc from zinc picolinate, an exceptionally absorbable form of the mineral. Vegan, non-GMO, and free of most common allergens. Supports immune health, vision, fertility, and more.
Might be a higher dosage of zinc than some are looking for in a daily supplement.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Perhaps your doctor has recommended an over-the-counter zinc supplement, or maybe you’re looking for a way to prevent the common cold. While the body only needs trace amounts of zinc, the mineral activates over a hundred enzymes in the body and benefits the immune system.
A well-balanced diet should provide adequate zinc, but there are circumstances in which you might need a supplement. Certain populations, conditions, and diseases can lead to a zinc deficiency, which can cause a slow growth rate in children or weight loss in adults, as well as an increased susceptibility to illness.
Your physician might recommend a specific type of zinc supplement. If not, zinc comes in many different forms, giving you a lot of choices. Some forms are more readily absorbed by the body, while others work better under certain circumstances. As you consider your specific situation and needs, you’ll have a better idea of the supplement that’s right for you.
At BestReviews, we’re here to help you find the products you need. Our team does in-depth research to bring you information and reviews of the products we think are the best of the best. We’ve provided this shopping guide as an overview of zinc supplements, including the important questions you’ll need to ask yourself and what options are available to you.
Zinc acetate: Zinc acetate, sometimes called zinc salt dihydrate or zinc diacetate, results from a reaction between zinc oxide and acetic acid. This form of zinc is often used to reduce the duration of the common cold. Zinc acetate may come in lozenge or capsule form. The capsules are used to treat Wilson’s disease (copper accumulation in the liver and other organs) and are only available by a physician’s prescription.
Zinc sulfate: Zinc sulfate is water soluble and easily absorbed by the body, but it isn’t the best form of zinc for increasing zinc levels.
Zinc picolinate: Zinc picolinate is one of the most readily absorbed forms of zinc, making it a common supplement for pregnant women and those who might suffer from a zinc deficiency. In this form, zinc is chelated, or attached, to picolinic amino acids to help it more easily pass through the membranes of the intestines and enter the cells of your body.
Zinc monomethionine: Zinc monomethionine, which is quite a mouthful, is another chelated form of zinc. This time, the zinc is attached to one of the most easily absorbed amino acids, methionine. Like many of the other forms of zinc, it is used in lozenge form to prevent colds or treat a zinc deficiency.
Zinc gluconate: Zinc gluconate, sometimes called Orazinc in OTC supplements, is the zinc salt form of gluconic acid. This popular form absorbs quickly into the body and is ready to use in a relatively short amount of time. It’s often used in nasal sprays rather than supplements, but it does find its way into some formulas.
Zinc glycinate: Zinc is chelated with the amino acid glycine to make zinc glycinate. This form of zinc is often used along with plant compounds called bioflavonoids to reduce the pain and swelling associated with osteoarthritis. This combination is usually prescribed and monitored by a physician.
Zinc orotate: This chelated form of zinc combines zinc with orotic acid to increase the absorption rate.
Zinc citrate: Zinc citrate combines zinc and citric acid. It comes in capsule form and is one of the more easily absorbed forms of zinc. Some people find that zinc citrate, more than other forms, tends to leave a metallic taste in the mouth. However, it disappears after a short time.
Your reason for taking a zinc supplement can help determine which form you need.
Illness: People with certain diseases like diabetes, malabsorption syndrome, chronic liver disease, or sickle cell anemia might not absorb enough zinc and so will need a something like zinc picolinate that is easily absorbed into the body. However, you should always talk to and follow the recommendations of your physician, who might recommend another form of zinc or even a multivitamin.
Vegetarian/Vegan: Vegetarians can also become zinc deficient because bioavailable zinc is often found in meat. Zinc supplements can be used along with certain food preparation techniques that increase the bioavailability of the zinc found in beans, grains, and seeds. Together, you should be able to get the zinc you need for optimal health.
Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding mothers and older breastfed infants might also need a zinc supplement. Prenatal vitamins often contain zinc, but you should talk to your physician in case you need more.
Zinc acetate, zinc picolinate, and zinc citrate are the three most easily absorbed forms of zinc. Of these three, zinc picolinate usually comes out on top, but you could have unique circumstances that make one of the other forms more effective. If your physician has specifically told you to use a certain form of zinc, follow those instructions.
Inexpensive: For less than $.05 per capsule, you’ll find zinc included in multivitamins that may include other nutrients such as magnesium and calcium. The zinc quantity in these tends to be lower than in zinc-only supplements.
Mid-range: At $.05 to $.15 per capsule, you’ll find zinc picolinate, one the best sources of zinc because it’s so easy to absorb. Zinc gluconate and zinc citrate are also found in this price range. Many of these supplements contain several different forms of zinc to increase the absorption rate.
Expensive: Supplements that cost over $.15 per capsule are all-natural, vegan, and no-sugar options. These use the same zinc forms, such as zinc picolinate, zinc gluconate, zinc glycinate, and zinc citrate, as other supplements.
Q. I don’t see zinc oxide on your list. Can I take it as a supplement?
A. Zinc oxide is used in sunscreens to absorb both harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun. However, this form of zinc is topical, which means it shouldn’t be ingested.
Q. Can zinc interact with any other medications?
A. Like all supplements and drugs, zinc can interact with other medications you’re taking. It can reduce the effectiveness of some antibiotics and drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. On the other hand, your zinc levels may be affected by prescription or OTC drugs, too. For example, diuretics might cause less zinc to be absorbed in the intestines. That’s why it’s important to talk to your physician or pharmacist before supplementing your diet with zinc.
Q. What does zinc do?
A. Zinc is involved in cellular metabolism and the immune system. It helps to develop and activate T-cells, which the body uses to fight germs and infection. Consequently, a zinc deficiency can lead to a weakened immune system. Zinc is also used to create and maintain new cells, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Ulcers and wounds that won’t heal are often associated with a zinc deficiency.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.