You’re probably hearing a lot about zinc supplements right now. It’s become a very popular way to boost your immunity. But do they really work?
For years, scientists have conducted studies on zinc. And for years they’ve gotten conflicting results. Some studies showed that zinc works. And some studies showed it doesn’t.
But recently, one group of researchers conducted a meta analysis of all the published studies on zinc. They discarded any studies with poor methodology. What they were left with were double-blind, placebo-controlled studies totaling 1,387 participants.
The researchers looked at all the different factors that could have affected the outcome of the studies – what kind of zinc, what form it was in, what dose… everything. When all was said and done, they finally had some answers about zinc that made sense.
Here’s what they discovered…
The BEST Form of Zinc You Should Take
There are several kinds of zinc that you can take. But only two kinds of zinc are actually shown to be effective.
The best kind is Zinc Acetate. It’s the only kind of zinc that consistently slashes the duration of symptoms in half. Zinc Gluconate was the second best choice, but zinc acetate worked much better.
None of the other kinds of zinc were effective.
Why are zinc acetate and zinc gluconate effective and other kinds aren’t? Because they both release zinc in the form of a positively charged ion. The ionic form is what makes the difference in whether zinc can work or not.
How does ionic zinc work? Well, ionic zinc helps your white blood cells fight. It boosts their production of interferon-gamma, which is your body’s primary defense.
Ionic zinc also stops invaders from spreading in your body. You see, invaders get into your cells by attaching to a microscopic molecule that moves between cells. The molecule is called ICAM-1. And if an invader attaches to it, ICAM-1 smuggles it inside the cell. Ionic zinc blocks this process and stops invaders from entering and infecting your cells.
And finally, ionic zinc helps minimize stuffiness, congestion, sneezing and a runny nose. How? It inhibits the release of histamines that trigger those symptoms. In other words, it behaves just like the things some people take when they want to get rid of a runny, stuffy, congested nose.
Once researchers learned that ionic zinc was more effective than non-ionic zinc, they wanted to know which compound was best at releasing zinc in its ionic form. They wanted to know what dose was effective. And they wanted to know which form was best.
As I mentioned above, they discovered that Zinc Acetate was best. Zinc acetate releases 100% of the zinc in an ionic form. Zinc gluconate was second best. It only releases 70% of its zinc in the ionic form.
The researchers also found that you need at least 75 mg of zinc acetate a day. And finally, they found that zinc is only effective when invaders are exposed to zinc for at least 20 minutes at a time.
Since zinc needs 20 minutes of exposure… pills, syrups, or sprays aren’t very effective. You need slow-dissolving tablets that release the zinc right where the invaders are.
Here’s What You Don’t Want In Your Zinc Remedy
Other common forms of zinc (zinc citrate, zinc glycinate, and zinc tartrate) release little to no ionic zinc. As a result, they are not effective.
And don’t be fooled by combinations, either. If you choose a product that combines zinc gluconate and zinc glycinate, you’re wasting your money.
Not only do you get less zinc gluconate per dose, the glycine interferes with the release of ionic zinc from the zinc gluconate. Only 57% of zinc is released in ionic form. That’s way less than the 70% released by zinc gluconate on its own.
And it’s even worse when manufacturers combine zinc gluconate with zinc citrate, zinc aspartate, or zinc tartrate. These combinations result in 0% of the zinc being released in ionic form. That’s right – zero. No wonder so many of these zinc remedies don’t work!
And finally, when you’re selecting lozenges, check for palm kernel oil and cottonseed oil. If either of these oils are in the ingredient list, don’t buy them. Why? Because they bind to zinc during the manufacturing process and prevent it from being released in ionic form.
Suddenly all of these conflicting study results make sense, right? As soon as I read the meta-study, I knew exactly what kind of zinc to recommend to my patients and readers – zinc acetate.