Scrabble tiles on an orange background that spell the word ZINC.

What is Zinc? Under the Microscope

by Liza Semenova

Let’s take it from the top, what is zinc?

Zinc is an essential nutrient. This means that while your body needs zinc to perform many functions, it’s unable to produce it naturally.

How essential are we talking here? What are the benefits of zinc in our bodies? 

Zinc is something of a powerhouse when it comes to keeping our bodies healthy. It’s involved in hundreds of vital biological reactions and is one of the principal minerals that make up your nail plates. This nutrient is very important for your body’s immune function, and helps support healthy hair, skin, bones and nails.* 

Ok, that is very essential! What foods are high in zinc to enjoy these benefits?

Because our bodies can’t produce zinc naturally, we have to get our supply from plant and animal sources. You can find it in oysters; they provide the best food source of the nutrient. Red meat, poultry, crab and lobsters are also some of the best zinc sources. Alternately, beans, nuts, whole grains and dairy products also provide a decent supply of this nutrient for the body.

You can also support your immune system and zinc intake by using a multivitamin from a zinc supplement.* Check out some of our bestsellers like our Women's Formula, Men's Formula and Kid's Formula to incorporate a multi with zinc into your family's routine!

For optimal results, what is the best form of zinc?

Zinc is available in different forms

  • Zinc gluconate which is a common over-the-counter form. It is used in cold remedies such as lozenges and nasal sprays. At SmartyPants we use zinc citrate, not zinc gluconate, in our formulas. 
  • Zinc acetate can also be found in lozenges while zinc sulfate is more commonly used as a dietary supplement.

Zinc citrate just may be the best form of the nutrient. It has high zinc content, is slightly soluble in water and also has a better tasting effect in syrups. Unlike other zinc supplements, it has a less bitter taste which goes a lot more easily on your tongue. Plus it’s better absorbed by your body compared to other forms of the nutrient, like zinc oxide. It provides your body with the benefits of zinc: immunity support* and more

How much zinc do I need?

Now we could throw a number out, but the truth is — the amount of zinc you require depends on different factors such as age and gender. Below are the Dietary Reference Intakes as established by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Got it! Now what happens if I take too much?

While zinc is good for your health, too much of a good thing can sometimes turn out bad. But it’s important to note these side effects usually happen if you continue to consume too much over a prolonged period of time. Taking too much of this nutrient, may lead to feelings of nausea, stomach cramps, headaches or low copper levels, lower immunity or low levels of good cholesterol (HDL). 

Which SmartyPants products have zinc? 

For extra support, you can check out our multivitamins like our Women's Formula, Men's Formula, Prenatal Formula and Kids Formula. Plus, our new Immunity gummies! Have you tried them? They have all the daily immunity goodness you need, plus the added benefits of vitamin C, D3 and B12.

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Liza Semenova