7 Common Types of Zinc Explained

Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral contributing to our total physical and mental well-being. It is a key player in the optimal functioning of the reproductive organs, and an important element involved in basic cellular function. Zinc also aids to strengthen the human immune system and deter common skin conditions. It acts as a cofactor with more than 300 different enzymes, boosting the functioning of many of the body’s most basic chemical processes.

Types of Zinc

Zinc is not easily absorbed in the body unless first attached to another substance. For this reason, many zinc manufacturers have “chelated” zinc to organic and amino acids. Supplemental zinc is also available in inorganic form, and non-chelated, usually called zinc sulfate or zinc oxide. Research studies on these forms of zinc show mixed results as whether they are beneficial to the human body.

1. Chelated Zinc

This form of zinc has undergone a process called chelation, whereby the organic molecules have been given an electrical charge that allows them to positively attract the charged mineral (in this case zinc). This creates a temporary increase in the complexity and concentration of the mineral within the molecule.

In other words, each molecule packs more concentrations of zinc via a process of attaching the mineral to something else, such as an amino acid. The belief is that this helps the body better absorb the mineral. There is much debate as to whether the process actually increases absorption. Dr. Gabe Mirkin from the Baylor University School of Medicine feels that chelating minerals has an insignificant effect on absorption when compared to the general conditions in the digestive system.

2. Zinc Orotate (best)

Zinc that has been chelated to orotic acid. The human body’s cellular membranes most readily absorb this type of zinc. Research from Dr. Hans Nieper has found that orotate forms of zinc were more neutrally charged, as compared to other types of zinc. This allowed them to pass through the membranes of cells easily, and thus offered the highest amounts of accompanying mineral atoms into the cells, leading to higher tissue concentrations of zinc. Zinc orotates contain many antioxidant properties that can help protect your health, while offering your cells the most readily-absorbable form of zinc on the market today.

3. Zinc Picolinate

A form of zinc that has been chelated to picolinic amino acids.

4. Zinc Gluconate

One of the most popular forms of dietary zinc, zinc gluconates are created by a process of industrial manufacturing. This process essentially ferments glucose, offering a supplemental product with an extremely long shelf-life. Unfortunately, gluconate supplements are just a chemical substitute for actual zinc.

Sadly, the body absorbs very little of this processed form, as the bio-availability of these chemicals is virtually none.

5. Zinc Acetate

Another chemically-altered form of zinc, acetates are considered to be more absorbable than glutconates. This form of zinc, also known as zinc salt dihydrate and zinc diacetate, is created by adding acetic acid to zinc carbonate or zinc metal. I would not recommend this form of zinc although scientific studies do show that this form can aid in reducing the duration of the common cold, as well as offer relief for Wilson’s disease, a genetic disorder whereby the body stores toxic levels of copper.

6. Zinc Oxide

This inorganic compound of zinc is most commonly used in topical ointments for addressing minor skin conditions such as burns and irritation. It is also a common ingredient in sunscreens. This type is a non-chelated, inorganic form of zinc. Studies show mixed results on the body’s ability to absorb and metabolize this form of inorganic zinc.

7. Zinc Sulfate

Water-soluble and non-chelated, this is an inorganic form of zinc. Studies show mixed results on the body’s ability to absorb and metabolize this form of zinc.

Zinc Supplement

Taking a Zinc Supplement

Although there are many types of zinc, for supplementation, I only recommend zinc orotate. Its main benefit over other forms of zinc is that it is neutrally charged, and is able to pass through the membranes of cells easily. I personally use this zinc supplement and have recommended it for years with great results.

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


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  • Laura

    Wow! I knew that zinc was a little rough on your body, but I didn’t realize there were so many options! I’ve found, personally, that my body takes zinc better when it’s tied to magnesium….

  • Boro

    What about Zinc angstrom?

  • naturopath

    Zinc is essential too for a healthy thyroid, am I right?

  • SWIHA

    Thanks for the article!

  • natural zinc

    i have never heard about such a wonderful information about zinc. But i am aware of health benefit of zinc. thanks for sharing

  • Christine

    Hi,
    You did not mention zinc-carnosine andI am very curious about it’s bioavailability. I tested as deficient in zn, have stomach/intestional issues. Other forms of zn makes me very nauseaus and I usually can not even keep it down. Zn-C does not have that affect on me. The one I just started taking is actually a mildly sweet chewable and supplies 16mg Zn (from 75 mg of Zn-C). Do you have any info?
    Thanks!

  • Philip

    Any information about this zinc glycerate and zinc monomethionine? Anyway i have found out that there’s a strong relationship exists between zinc and copper. Too much of one can cause a deficiency in the other. Long-term use of zinc (including zinc in a multivitamin) should be accompanied by copper.

  • Redkister

    Hello,

    could you please verify the following information for me… I only have 2 forms available in my country, Chelated Zinc and Zinc Gluconate. However, i am not sure, whether or not this product actually IS chelated zinc. It says on it :

    Amount Per Serving:
    • Zinc (as 50% zinc arginate, 25% zinc histidinate & 25% zinc glycinate) 15mg
    • Copper (as 50% copper lysinate & 50% copper glycinate) 2mg

    Is this Chelated Zinc ? Is it a good product ? Or will at least make a difference compared to Gluconate form ?

    Hoping on your reply,

    Regards

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.mayeux Brad Mayeux

    i find this article rather lacking. The only form that is shown as “best” is orotic acid. (which i can not find).

    I have no idea if Picolinate is any good? or better than gluconate?

    You dont mention citrate, aspatate, or several others i see for sale…

  • reyblas

    TANKS TO THE ALMIGHTY YOU’RE AROUND FOR US.

  • Jeremy

    This whole page seems like just an advertisement to sell zinc orotate from GHC.

  • Richard Menzies

    That is preposterous for you to say. You have no idea how your body is actually metabolizing anything. You would have to actually look at individual cells in your body and read the zinc level before and after and time the process and the depth of infusion into the cells.

    Besides that hard research has shown over and over the overall effect of Zinc intake was a highly significant decrease of Magnesium
    absorption and of the Mag. balance.

  • bee

    Zinc gluconate isn’t absorbed?…. Then why was it found the help with acne and the immune system?

    Plus an actual scientific study stating gluconate has an absorption rate of over 60%!

  • Edward Group

    Here’s one that suggested its absorption was less than great-

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3630857

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