- What is it? Zinc is an essential mineral, one of the few nutrients for which a mild deficiency is not uncommon. (see What It Is). Zinc is naturally found in meats and other foods (see Getting Zinc -- From Food)
- What does it do? Zinc supplements (typically taken in pill form) can reverse or prevent zinc deficiency (which can otherwise impair the immune system, cause diarrhea, reduce taste, etc.) and help slow advanced macular degeneration of the retina. Zinc is also taken as a lozenge (or other orally dissolving formulation) to act locally on the throat to reduce the duration of a cold. (See What It Does).
- How much to take, and which form? The daily requirement for zinc ranges from 3 mg for children to 14 mg for lactating women (see Dosage). No form is particularly better absorbed than another and zinc gluconate is typically the least expensive. To reduce the duration of a cold, take a lozenge (or other orally dissolving formulation providing 9 to 23 mg of zinc as either zinc gluconate or zince acetate) every 2 to 3 hours during the day, allowing it to fully dissolve in the mouth: Limit treatment to a week because chronic intake of too much zinc (see upper intake levels) can reduce copper absorption, leading to copper deficiency that can impair the immune system.
- Best zinc? Among supplements that passed testing, we identified our Top Pick for Pills, Top Pick for Lozenges, and Top Pick for Other Orally Dissolving Formulations. We found that you can pay as little as 1 cent or more than $1 to get an equivalent dose of high quality zinc — there is no need to overspend.
- Cautions: As noted above, don't take too much zinc and don't take with fiber, which inhibits absorption of zinc. Be aware of drug interactions with zinc, particularly for certain antibiotics. (See Concerns and Cautions).
Zinc Supplements and Lozenges Review
Choose the Best Zinc Supplement and Lozenge. Have a Cold? See CL's Top Picks Among Zinc Supplements and Lozenges
Zinc supplements and lozenges compared in this review
Cold-Eeze - All Natural Cherry Flavor
Bronson Laboratories Zinc Lozenges
Country Life Zinc
Designs for Health Zinc Challenge
Dr. Mercola Zinc Complex
Finest Nutrition [Walgreens] Zinc
Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc
GNC Zinc 30 mg
KAL Dinosaurs Zinc Elderberry - Mixed Berries
Natural Factors Zinc Citrate
Nature Made VitaMelts Zinc - Honey Lemon
Nature's Bounty Zinc
Nature's Plus Source of Life Animal Parade® Kid Zinc - Natural Tangerine Flavor
Nature's Way Zinc Lozenges Echinacea & Vitamin C - Wild Berry Flavored
NOW Zinc 50 mg
Pure Encapsulations Zinc 15
Rexall [Dollar General] Zinc
Shaklee Zinc Complex
Solgar Zinc Picolinate 22mg
Swanson Zinc (Gluconate)
Up & Up [Target] Zinc Cold Remedy
Vitacost Zinc 50 mg
Zand Lemon Zinc Herbalozenge, 5mg Zinc per lozenge herbal supplement
Zicam Cold Remedy Ultra Crystals - Berry Lemonade Flavor
- Which zinc supplements passed testing, which failed, and which were selected as CL's Top Picks for providing the right ingredients and the best value
- Which zinc lozenges provide a dosage known to work -- and which do not
- What zinc can and cannot do for your health
- If certain forms of zinc, like zinc gluconate, zinc acetate, and zinc citrate are better absorbed than others
- The zinc dosage to treat conditions including colds, macular degeneration, and zinc deficiency
- What the "zinc challenge" is and whether or not it is a reliable method for determining zinc deficiency or adequacy
- The potential side-effects of zinc and other concerns with zinc, including drug interactions
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