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When it comes to taking health into your own hands, it can be hard to know how to address your particular needs. Many of the nutrients we need can be found in food, but it’s often tough to make sure you have a balanced diet that covers all of your needs. Zinc is a crucially important nutrient, especially for health and immunity. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), zinc is used by the body to help fight bacteria and viruses as well as develop DNA. Suffice to say, it’s pretty important to ensure you get enough zinc intake.
Meat and shellfish are two of the best sources of zinc. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you may not be getting enough zinc from dietary sources. There are certain health conditions that require a higher than normal zinc intake as well. In these cases, zinc supplements may be worth considering. Zinc is found in multivitamins, but you can also find it in higher doses, where it will often be grouped together with calcium and magnesium.
Of course, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Taking too much zinc can lead to stomach issues such as vomiting and cramps. And while an appropriate amount of zinc can help with immunity, too much might have the opposite effect, and result in a suppressed immunity. Zinc also interacts with some medicines, including antibiotics like Cipro, resulting in both the zinc and the antibiotic working less effectively.
Right now, good immunity is probably on a lot of people’s minds. As the NIH points out, there’s not enough clinical evidence yet about any potential benefits between zinc and COVID-19 prevention. Of course, you may decide to take it anyway as a general immunity booster, but remember that nothing is a replacement for mask-wearing, good hand hygiene and (when it’s your turn) getting vaccinated.
We’ve rounded up some of the best zinc supplements, including multivitamins that include zinc as well as immunity-boosting formulas.
1. Zinc Gummy by Nature’s Bounty
Gummies can be a great way to get necessary nutrients, especially if you have difficulty swallowing pills. These gummies are mixed berry flavored and deliver 30 mg of zinc in each serving (which is two gummies per day). The container consists of 120 gummies, making for a two-month supply if you follow the recommended servings. Since they’re gummies they do have some added sugars, meaning they may not be the ideal option for anyone looking to go low-carb.
2. Natures Way Zinc Lozenges
BEST COLD RELIEF
Zinc can potentially help bolster your immunity, but if you’re already under the weather, you might need direct relief. These zinc lozenges provide the throat-soothing relief of a lozenge with the immunity-boosting benefits of zinc. They’re not designed as a long-term solution — it’s only supposed to be taken for up to seven days. The lozenges are wild berry flavored, and there are 60 vegan lozenges in the bottle.
3. Ritual Essential for Men 18+
Ritual is a newer startup shaking up the vitamin and nutrient world, but they go beyond good packaging, colorful product photos and sans serif fonts (though they have that, too). Ritual uses traceable ingredients so you know what you’re getting, and their multivitamins are carefully researched to cut out ingredients you might not need. This multivitamin for men is made with a blend of vitamins, including zinc, for better health and immunity.
4. Bio Schwartz Sambucus Elderberry Capsules with Zinc & Vitamin C
BEST IMMUNITY BOOST
Elderberry can potentially have immunity-boosting benefits, and this supplement from Bio Shwartz combines elderberry, zinc and vitamin C into once-daily gluten-free veggie capsules. With 60 capsules in the bottle, this option makes for an affordable two-month supply.
5. Nature Made Calcium, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc
BEST FOR BONE HEALTH
If you’re looking to boost your bone health but you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, consider these capsules from Nature Made, which feature a blend of calcium, magnesium oxide, zinc and vitamin D3. The capsules are made without artificial colors or flavors, and they are also gluten-free. 300 tablets are included, making these a good value.
6. up & up Calcium Magnesium & Zinc Dietary Supplement
Target’s in-house up&up label is a great place for affordable health and home supplies, and these capsules are made to boost bone and muscle health in addition to immunity. The capsules blend calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D3, and they’re made without artificial colors or flavors. They’re a good value, as well — for less than $8 you get 250 caplets. The recommended serving is three a day, though you can still enjoy the benefits if you take fewer.
7. Optimum Nutrition ZMA
BEST WORKOUT SUPPLEMENT
Zinc and magnesium are frequently taken together as a fitness supplement to aid in muscle recovery and as an immunity booster. These capsules also include B6. The recommended dosage is three for men and two for women, although it can be modified as needed.
8. L’il Critters Immune C Dietary Supplement Gummies
BEST FOR KIDS
It’s no secret that kids are disease vectors, often bringing germs home from the playground and constant interaction with other kids. If you have kids, keep them healthy with these immunity-boosting gummies that feature vitamins C and D, in addition to zinc. The gummies are bear-shaped, which will make them as excited to take them as they would their favorite candies.