This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
Zinc is an essential mineral that is a component of more than 300 enzymes needed to repair wounds, synthesize protein, support fertility in adults and growth in children, aids in cell reproduction, preserve vision, boost immunity, and protect against free radicals among other vital functions 1.
Standard multivitamins contain 50 percent to 200 percent of your recommended dietary intake (RDI) of zinc; Zinc7 contains 455 percent, or 4.5x your recommended daily amount. A common question with Zinc7 supplementation revolves around dosage and if 50 mg is too much to consume daily.
The Case for Higher Dose Zinc Supplementation
RDI’s Are Arbitrary and Misleading: Many different agencies make daily recommendations for vitamins and minerals, making differing recommendations for the recommended daily intake of specific compounds.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) provides recommendations for the amount of zinc for adult males as 11 mg and adult females as 8 mg 2. The National Institute of Health (NIH), on the other hand, suggests a daily dosage of between 15-30 mg of elemental zinc 3. These differing recommendations get even more complicated when we understand that not all zinc is created equal.
Each type of zinc contains a different percentage of elemental zinc. For example, Zinc sulfate contains 23% elemental zinc, while zinc gluconate only has 14.3% elemental zinc. So, as you can see, there is more to zinc dosage than meets the eye, and taking zinc dosage at face value is not helpful 4, especially when considering our bio-individual needs.
Understanding bio-individuality with dietary targets requires understanding the story behind zinc, specifically what depletes it. An RDI may be adequate for the average person, but how might your individual lifestyle need more? Zinc is a mineral that your body uses for fighting off infections and producing cells. In addition, it plays a vital role in healing injuries and creating DNA, which is the genetic blueprint of your cells 5.
Most people know that zinc is a valuable supplement during illness, but there are many other ways it becomes depleted, including vigorous exercise, high alcohol consumption, and pregnancy 6. Oral contraceptives are another primary culprit of zinc depletion 7.
Macrodosing Zinc: The Science
RDI’s and depletion aside, science supports the safe and valuable zinc supplementation in much higher doses than 40 mg.
Many studies highlight the ability of lozenges containing 80–92 mg of zinc in reducing the duration of the common cold by up to 33% 8. In addition, high zinc supplementation has also been shown to be beneficial in mitigating glycated hemoglobin and insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease 9.
Why No Copper?
Zinc and copper work antagonistically to one another, so many people think that you should supplement them together. However, there are a few reasons why Zinc7 does not contain any copper.
First of all, zinc deficiency is more common than copper deficiency. But, on the other hand, copper overload is extremely common, especially in people who have or are suffering from chronic stress, slow metabolism, estrogen dominance, or adrenal depletion 10.
Secondly, copper toxicity is common and problematic. Excess copper causes oxidative stress and DNA damage and reduces cell proliferation. Many people are unknowingly exposed to copper sources, like drinking water from copper pipes, copper cookware, copper IUD, and other environmental sources.
In the early stages of copper toxicity, large doses of zinc may effectively prevent symptoms because zinc competes with copper for absorption in the gastrointestinal tract 11.
Studies suggest that the ideal zinc to copper ratio is 8:1, with an acceptable range from 4:1 to 12:1 12. For those who have gotten a mineral test done and aren’t flagged with copper toxicity, a copper supplement can be included mindfully or simply opt for a diet rich in copper-rich foods.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is based upon the opinions of Revelation Health. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Revelation Health and associates. This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD for accuracy of the information provided, but Revelation Health encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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2 Zinc. The Nutrition Source. (2022, March 2). Retrieved March 30, 2022, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/zinc/
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8 Hemilä, Harri. “Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage.” JRSM open vol. 8,5 2054270417694291. 2 May. 2017, doi:10.1177/2054270417694291
9 Pompano, L. M., Boy, E. (2020). Effects of dose and duration of zinc interventions on risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Advances in Nutrition, 12(1), 141–160. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmaa087
10 Eck, P. and Wilson, L., Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease, Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics, Ltd., Phoenix, AZ, 1989.
11 Fischer, P W et al. “The effect of dietary zinc on intestinal copper absorption.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 34,9 (1981): 1670-5. doi:10.1093/ajcn/34.9.1670
12 Watts, D. L. (2010). HTMA Trace Minerals. Trace Elements. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from http://t.traceelements.com/Docs/newsletternov-dec2010.pdf