Although zinc is an essential mineral in the body, because the body can’t make it, zinc must be obtained from the diet or supplementation. Zinc is vital for growth, immune function, testosterone metabolism, and numerous other functions in the body.*
Zinc is involved in more than 200 enzymatic reactions and plays a key role in genetic expression, cell division, and growth.* The majority of zinc in most diets comes from red meat, poultry, and oysters, with lesser amounts found in beans and nuts.
Although whole grains can contain zinc, large intakes of whole grain have been associated with a decrease in the amount of zinc absorbed – due to zinc’s propensity to bind to the phytic acid that is found in whole grains.
Approximately 10% of U.S. adults have a dietary zinc intake that is less than half of the FDA’s recommended daily amount.1
Athletes with high sweat outputs or who engage in prolonged activity have an increased requirement for zinc, as do those individuals who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Both of these groups should consider supplementation to ensure adequate zinc intake.
Other groups susceptible to being deficient in zinc include the elderly, the immuno-compromised, those on parenteral nutrition, and burn victims.*
Zinc supplementation can increase general wellness, as well as having a beneficial impact on the skin health, connective tissue, reproductive health, and eye health.*
Having an adequate level of zinc is necessary to assure the immune system functions optimally.* Zinc is an important part of the body’s process that activates white blood cells – called T-lymphocytes (T-cells) – that control the body’s response to inflammation.*
In addition, zinc is an essential cofactor in regulating the nervous system because its presence is essential in the production of GABA, a neurotransmitter that supports restful sleep, helps put the brakes on stress, and promotes a focused state of mind.*
The prostate gland in men contains the highest amount of zinc of any soft tissue. Adequate zinc levels support prostate health and the body's normal production of testosterone.* It should be noted that the hormone testosterone is essential for promoting lean muscle mass.*
Zinc’s absorption varies depending on the form it is delivered in, and not all zinc supplements are absorbed efficiently by the body. Picolinic acid is a natural mineral chelator produced from the amino acid tryptophan in the liver and kidneys and then transported to the pancreas. During digestion, picolinic acid is secreted by the pancreas into the small intestine, where it binds to minerals, such as zinc, to facilitate the mineral's absorption.*
Since the need for zinc is largely individualized, Thorne provides two strengths of Zinc Picolinate – 15 mg and 30 mg. The 30-mg supplement is NSF Certified for Sport® to support the needs of athletes who might have an increased demand for zinc.*
Because an athlete needs to know that his or her supplements are trustworthy and compliant, every batch of an NSF Certified for Sport® product is tested for compliance with its label claims and to ensure the absence of more than 200 substances banned by major athletic organizations, including stimulants, narcotics, steroids, diuretics, beta-2 agents, and masking agents.
- Takeda A, Tamano H. Insight into zinc signaling from dietary zinc deficiency. Brain Res Rev 2009;62(1):33-44.
- Prasad A. Zinc: an overview. Nutrition 1995;11(1 Suppl):93-99.
- Vallee B, Falchuk K. The biochemical basis of zinc physiology. Physiol Rev 1993;73(1):79-118.
- Haase H, Rink L. Functional significance of zinc-related signaling pathways in immune cells. Annu Rev Nutr 2009;29:133-152.
- Prasad A. Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Mol Med 2008;14(5-6):353-357.
- Prasad A. Clinical, immunological, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant roles of zinc. Exp Gerontol 2008;43(5):370-377.
- Barrie S, Wright J, Pizzorno J, et al. Comparative absorption of zinc picolinate, zinc citrate and zinc gluconate in humans. Agents Actions 1987;21(1-2):223-228.