Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to ReviewBox Brasil! Today we are going to talk about an essential mineral for the proper functioning of the immune system: zinc. As the body does not produce zinc, external sources are necessary for its supply, among them are supplements. Amidst so many options, we will show you in this article what you should take into account before buying the ideal Zinc according to your needs.




First, the most important

  • Zinc helps maintain good health in adults, in addition to muscle mass gain, and also acts on children's growth.
  • Unnecessary or excessive supplementation, however, is harmful to health.
  • We will show you which characteristics differentiate one supplement from another and how to choose the ideal zinc.

Zinc: Our Picks

Those who need to replenish their zinc values, search for the ideal amount and dose according to their needs. Knowing this, manufacturers have invested in varied options for all situations. Therefore, below, we present to you the best types of zinc supplements available on the market today.

Buying Guide

Choosing the ideal zinc supplement is not as simple as it seems. As it is a nutrient, you need to be aware of the dosage and the need to include the supplementation in your diet. That is why we have created this Buying Guide with all the information you will need to make the best decision when buying zinc.

Homem tomando comprimido com copo de água.

Zinc is an essential mineral for the health of our body.
(Source: belchonock / 123rf)

What is zinc?

Zinc is an essential mineral for our bodies. Around 100 different enzymes need it to be able to catalyse chemical reactions that maintain cellular functions.
Zinc, plays an important role in our immunisation.

Therefore, zinc, besides playing an important role in our immunisation, also helps the body to function better. In addition, this mineral performs functions which contribute to the functioning of metabolism, especially of proteins and nucleic acids.

Frasco aberto com comprimidos brancos saindo para fora.

Zinc plays an important role in the immune system by protecting the body against diseases.
(Source: stevepb / Pixabay)

The fact is that zinc acts in our body to protect us from a large number of diseases, as well as helping to fight others that have already taken hold in our body. In addition to contributing to the improvement of health, this mineral is also essential for the growth of children. But, despite its importance, our organism does not synthesise zinc. Therefore, the element must be acquired through food or supplementation.

What are the consequences of a lack of zinc?

The lack of zinc in the diet is a problem that deserves your attention. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), zinc deficiency is linked to many deaths, since this mineral plays an important role in our immune system. According to the WHO, the Brazilian population has a moderate consumption of zinc. However, the ideal consumption of this mineral in Brazil is still below that of countries such as Uruguay, Chile and Venezuela.

Jovem mulher com uma xícara nas mãos e usando cachecol.

The lack of zinc in the body shakes the immune system and makes you sick more often.
(Source: silviarita / Pixabay)

The fact is that people who do not consume sufficient amounts of zinc are more likely to suffer from the action of infectious agents. Therefore, these people get sick more often compared to those who have an adequate zinc intake. Besides weakening the immune system, the lack of this mineral can have several other consequences, as you can see below:

  • Difficulty in healing
  • Difficulty in tasting salty foods
  • Skin problems (psoriasis)
  • Dry and yellowish skin
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Increased levels of glucose in the blood
  • Liver malfunction
  • Sexual impotence

What is the importance of zinc in childhood nutrition?

Adequate intake of this mineral is essential for children's healthy growth. Since children's immune systems are more fragile than those of adults, a diet rich in zinc is mandatory. According to the World Health Organization, one of the greatest causes of infant mortality are diarrhoea and pneumonia. And these two problems are directly related to the lack of zinc in the body.

Quatro crianças deitadas de bruços sobre um píer de frente para a água.

Zinc is essential for the healthy growth of children. (Source: EME / Pixabay)

To get an idea of the importance of zinc in children's nutrition, one of the WHO projects to reduce the cases of infant mortality is to include zinc supplements in their diet. Since this measure was adopted in the late 1980s, the cases of death from diarrhea in children under five years of age in the world have fallen dramatically. In addition, according to research conducted by UNICEF, zinc supplements for pregnant women may also help the baby gain weight after birth, reducing the risk of infection.

How is zinc related to fitness?

As zinc is of great importance for the reproduction and repair of cells, this is reflected in muscle growth after hypertrophy training. In addition, muscle growth is also positively influenced by the levels of testosterone present in the body. And the fact is that testosterone benefits from adequate zinc concentration.

Homens e mulheres praticando ginástica em sala de academia.

Adequate amount of zinc in the body helps in strengthening and gaining muscle mass. (Source: janeb13 / Pixabay)
Zinc also acts as an antioxidant.

More than that, as zinc also acts as an antioxidant, this mineral protects muscles from free radicals after training. In this way, zinc favours a faster and more complete recovery of the muscles. This, consequently, promotes a better performance of the athlete, generating muscular mass gain.

What is the recommended quantity of zinc?

The minimum daily intake of zinc varies from person to person. Moreover, this amount also depends on your age group and your health condition. But it is a consensus among experts that, in general, the minimum recommended amount of zinc is 7mg per day for women and 9mg for men, which may vary with age. For the elderly, for example, this value may rise to 8mg among women and 11mg for men. The warning, however, is the maximum amount of zinc ingested per day, which should not be exceeded. The maximum level varies between 40 mg and 50 mg of zinc per day. Below, you can see the recommended dosage of zinc according to age group and gender:
Age group Recommended dosage (mg)
Infants (0 to 1 year) 5
Children (1 to 10 years) 10
Men (11 to +51) 15
Women (11 to +51 years) 12
Pregnant women 15
Lactating women 19

Which foods are rich in zinc?

A balanced diet can provide the daily amounts of zinc needed for our bodies to be protected. Foods rich in zinc are: red meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, cereals, beans and eggs. Among the richest products containing this nutrient are oysters.

Mão segurando um prato cheio de ostras.

The oyster is one of the richest foods in zinc. (Source: Pexels / Pixabay)

However, in some cases, only the diet rich in zinc cannot provide the body with the ideal amount of the mineral. In any case, foods that contain zinc should by all means enter as a supplement in your diet. To give you an idea of the quantity of zinc present in foods, check the table below with the main ones:

Weight Amount of zinc
Oyster 86g 38mg
Walnuts 100g 4mg
Chestnuts 100g 4mg
Beef 130g 4mg
Oat bran 94g 2.9mg
Wholemeal bread 80g 1.6mg
Chicken 180g 1.5mg
Pumpkin seed 20g 1.3mg
Beans 50g 1.15mg
Brown rice 40g 1mg
Whole milk 240g 1mg

Who should take the zinc supplementation?

As we have seen, it is necessary the performance of exams and medical monitoring to define if there is the need for Zinc supplementation. Even so, there are some cases in which this mineral is almost always necessary. In general, it is the case of people who, due to a health condition, have difficulty absorbing the nutrient through food. One example is people suffering from acrodermatitis enteropathica, characterized by difficulty in absorbing zinc from the intestine.

Those who have difficulty absorbing the nutrient, or who have diseases that generate this inefficiency, need zinc supplementation.

In addition, people with diabetes, eating disorders, intestinal and kidney diseases may also need zinc supplements to compensate for the lack of absorption. Vegetarians and vegans, for example, who also have limited access to zinc sources, generally need to supplement their diet. Pregnant and lactating women and the elderly also often need a higher concentration of zinc and therefore benefit from supplementation.

What are the effects of excess zinc?

Even though this mineral is essential for our bodies, consuming too much zinc can be harmful to health. The fact is that if you consume more than the recommended amount, it will cause a high level of zinc in the bloodstream. The consequence is that the amount of copper will decrease.

Homem com as mãos na cabeça olhando para baixo.

In doses above recommended, zinc can cause from headaches to the deficiency of other nutrients in the body.
(Source: geralt / Pixabay)

In other words, excess zinc causes the deficiency of copper, which is another essential mineral for our body. And copper deficiency can have as a consequence, among other problems, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Besides the decrease of other minerals in the body, the excess of zinc in the body can result in:

  • Reduced good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Changes in urinary function
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sleepiness
  • Lethargy
  • Frequent vomiting.

So before taking supplements, you need to know if they are really necessary and what dose is indicated.

What are the advantages of zinc?

Zinc has many advantages. This mineral is important for protecting the body against viruses, bacteria and fungi. Zinc also has an antioxidant action, which helps to reduce the amount of free radicals in our body. The fact is that the functions of zinc not only contribute to good health in general, but also to reproductive health and fertility in men and women. In addition, adequate levels of the mineral favour the gain of muscle mass.

Casal de idosos andando de bicicleta.

Zinc protects health and combats premature aging. (Source: MabelAmber / Pixabay)

Another advantage is that this mineral helps in the healing process and in fighting premature aging. Not to mention that zinc is also essential for the growth of children and the health of pregnant women and babies. As a disadvantage, is its use in excess or if there is no real need. The result, as we have seen, can range from uncomfortable side effects to the deficiency of other essential minerals for the proper functioning of the body. Below you will find the main advantages and disadvantages of zinc:

Advantages
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Acts as an antioxidant
  • Protects against diseases
  • Acts in the growth of children
  • Assists in the healing process
  • Good for fertility of men and women
  • Fights aging
  • Assists in the gain of muscle mass
Disadvantages
  • In excess causes side effects and decrease of copper and iron

How much does zinc cost?

The price of zinc supplements varies a lot depending on the manufacturer, the quantity and the dosage. In general, you will find zinc supplements costing between R$ 20 and R$ 300. But you don't have to buy the most expensive one. Generally, the most expensive supplements are combined with other vitamins and are also for long-term use.

Where can I buy zinc?

You will find zinc for sale in pharmacies, supplement shops, department stores and hypermarkets such as Lojas Americanas and Carrefour. But our recommendation is that you make your purchase at online shops like Amazon Brasil. This is because, when buying online, you will have a greater variety of price and brands and, of course, you can get your supplement in a simple and practical way from the comfort of your home.

Purchase Criteria: What to take into account when choosing zinc

After making sure you need the supplementation, and with the guidance of your doctor, you will have to choose the best product on the market. To do this, you need to understand what differentiates one supplement from another. Therefore, we have listed for you the main factors that should be observed before buying zinc:

  • Type
  • Composition
  • Form
  • Dosage
  • Quantity

Below, we will explain each of these factors so that you invest in the ideal zinc.

Type

Zinc is not easily absorbed in the body unless it is bound to another substance. For this reason, many zinc manufacturers add some organic and amino acids to its composition, forming chelated zinc. But supplemental zinc is also available in an inorganic, non-chelated form. Check out below the main types of zinc you will find on the market:

  • Zinc chelate: this type has undergone a process called chelation, which increases the concentration of the mineral and, in theory, helps the body to better absorb the mineral.
  • Zinc gluconate: one of the most popular types. However, gluconate supplements are just a chemical substitute for actual zinc. In other words, the body absorbs very little of this processed form.
  • Zincoxide: this type is an inorganic, non-chelated form of zinc.
  • Zinc Sulfate: water-soluble and not chelated, this is an inorganic type of the mineral.

We recommend that you talk to your doctor so that together you choose the best option according to your needs.

Composition

Another factor you should check before buying zinc is the composition of the product. Here you can choose between two versions: pure zinc, without any other ingredient in its composition; or the mineral combined with other vitamins and nutrients. It is not rare to find more vitamin supplement options in which zinc is combined with calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, among others. To know which option is ideal for you, it is worth checking your nutritional needs for replacement of the other vitamins.

Form

Besides, take into consideration the form in which the supplement should be ingested. In general, the most common forms found for sale are capsules or liquid.

Imagem de pessoa colocando cápsulas de suplemento do frasco para a mão.

Although zinc is most commonly found in capsules, it can also be found in liquid form.
(Source: dolgachov / 123rf)

Here you should evaluate the practicality of consumption and the power and ease of absorption in your body. Generally, children and the elderly take more advantage of the liquid form, in drops. This is because tablets can make it difficult to swallow and digest the mineral.

Dose

One of the most important factors you should check is the dosage of the zinc supplement. This varies from product to product and must meet the prescription given by your doctor. But, to give you an idea, in the market you will find zinc with dosages ranging from 7mg to 50mg, in each tablet.

Amount

Finally, we recommend that you look at the quantity, whether capsules or millilitres. By choosing the exact amount you will consume, you not only invest your money better, but also avoid a possible waste in case you don't need to use it all. On the market, you will find zinc in packages containing between 30 and 180 capsules. In the case of the mineral in its liquid form, the quantity varies between 20ml and 100ml. (Source of the highlighted image: alexlmx / 123rf)

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