Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in the human body and is present in every cell. It is an essential element because our bodies cannot make zinc. Instead, we can only get it from our diet. 

Zinc is essential for the activity of over 300 enzymes that are involved in metabolism, digestion, and many other processes. It also plays a vital role in the proper function of immune cells. Zinc acts as an anti-oxidant. It fights off free radicals and prevents oxidative stress. 


Here are the most important benefits you can get from zinc:

  1. Zinc acts as a powerful anti-oxidant and prevents oxidative stress.
  2. It boosts the immune system and may help to fight off certain infections.
  3. It helps in normal hormones production.
  4. Zinc accelerates wound healing.
  5. It promotes reproductive health in both men and women. 
  6. It supports fertility, especially by improving motility and quality of sperm.
  7. Zinc helps balance insulin levels in the blood. So it can help people with diabetes.
  8. It protects your heart and blood vessels. 
  9. Zinc helps to reduce the risk of certain age-related diseases such as Macular Degeneration.
  10. It helps to reduce inflammation.
  11. It helps with the absorption and digestion of food.
  12. It helps with muscle growth and repair.
  13. It can reduce inflammation and may help people with chronic inflammatory conditions.
  14. Zinc can prevent diarrhea.
  15. It can be beneficial for people with acne.


The recommended daily intake amount of zinc is 11 mg for adult men and 8 mg for adult women. You can get this amount of zinc by including zinc-rich foods in your daily diet.

You can also get zinc from zinc-fortified foods such as dairy products, breakfast cereals, etc.

If you want to get zinc from zinc supplements, you should remember that zinc supplements work best if taken at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. If a zinc supplement causes stomach problems, you can also take it with the meal.

Top ten food sources:
  1. Lamb — 3 ounces: 2.9 milligrams (35 percent DV)
  2. Grass-fed beef — 3 ounces: 2.6 milligrams (32 percent DV)
  3. Chickpeas — 1 cup cooked: 2.5 milligrams (31 percent DV)
  4. Cashews — ¼ cup: 1.9 milligrams (23 percent DV)
  5. Pumpkin seeds — ¼ cup: 1.6 milligrams (20 percent DV)
  6. Yogurt (or Kefir) — 1 container of plain yogurt/6 ounces: 1 milligram (12.5 percent DV)
  7. Chicken — 3 ounces: 1 milligram (12.5 percent DV)
  8. Turkey — 3 ounces: 1 milligram (12.5 percent DV)
  9. Eggs — 1 large: 0.6 milligrams (7 percent DV)
  10. Mushrooms — 1 cup: 0.6 milligrams (7 percent DV)


Supplements can contain zinc in the form of zinc oxide, gluconate, sulfate or acetate.

As of now, all are believed to work in very similar ways so one type is not thought to be superior to the others. Ideally, look for “enzyme activated” zinc to support absorption.

Taking high doses of supplemental zinc for a prolonged period can interfere with the body’s absorption of other important minerals, including copper.