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Zinc is an important mineral that helps your immune system and metabolism function.
Supplementation might be helpful if you have a zinc deficiency or feel like you need an immunity boost—especially if you feel a cold coming on.
Some studies have found that a combination of zinc and vitamin C— as you’ll see in some of our picks— can help reduce the symptoms of a common cold.
Here are the 3 best vegan zinc supplements on the market today.
Top 3 Vegan Zinc Supplements
Future Kind Zinc + Vitamin C Supplement
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Future Kind is a 100% vegan brand, and it’s certainly one that we do not hesitate to recommend because they share the same values that we do.
Their organic Elderberry supplement combines zinc and vitamin C to provide you with a solution to combat the common cold by fortifying your immune system.
Naturally, this is also a good solution if you lack zinc in your diet, and more so if you have symptoms associated with zinc deficiency.
The supplement contains 5mg of zinc (45% of the RDA) and 45mg of vitamin C (50% of the RDA) which is essentially what studies recommend if you need to undergo supplementation.
It also contains elderberry fruit, that combined with zinc and vitamin C makes for an effective immunity-boosting cocktail with antioxidant properties that fight off inflammation and oxidative stress.
This zinc + vitamin C supplement is delivered in the form of gummies, which are much easier to digest, especially with their hint of raspberry flavor.
However, unlike the other zinc supplements on this list, it does not come with as many servings, a drawback that needs to be mentioned.
Mary Ruth Liquid Ionic Zinc Supplement
Mary Ruth’s offers an extensive variety of vegan-friendly supplements, including ionic zinc, delivered in a liquid form, which is also adequate for children.
Supplements in liquid are not always preferred, but it’s a good way to ensure adequate absorption and to avoid the inconvenience that comes with swallowing capsules.
Mary Ruth’s zinc supplement does not contain vitamin C (to optimally boost immunity), but it does come with 10 more servings than the previous supplement.
Also unlike the previous supplement, Mary Ruth’s zinc supplement does not contain any additives apart from organic glycerin and purified water.
It’s also a viable choice, particularly if you don’t like to ingest capsules.
Yuve Vegan Zinc Supplement
Yuve is a rising vegan brand that offers clean, vegan-friendly supplements at a great value.
This particular zinc supplement comes with 100 non-gelatin tablets, which is something you won’t see in any other vegan-friendly supplement.
Additionally, it offers a unique type of zinc called zinc gluconate, which generally contains lower levels of cadmium, a heavy metal and environmental contaminant.
If you have a zinc deficiency and have been told to take a zinc supplement for an extended period of time, then this supplement may be a suitable option due to the number of servings it has.
We don’t think you will find another supplement that is as affordable with this number of servings.
The only drawback is that it comes in tablets, which for many people is not really convenient considering because they’re tough to swallow.
Still a viable choice nevertheless.
What is Zinc?
Zinc is a very important mineral for overall health because it participates in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body.
Thus, when there is too little of it in the body, it can cause several alterations, especially in the immune system and in hormone production.
The main sources of zinc are animal foods such as oysters, shrimp, and meats such as beef, chicken, fish, and liver.
Wheat germ, whole grains, nuts, cereals, legumes, and tubers are also rich in zinc, but fruits and vegetables in general, although they have zinc, are not regarded as the best sources because they do not allow for optimal absorption of this mineral.
Should Vegans Take A Zinc Supplement?
Vegans do not necessarily have to take a zinc supplement as they tend to meet the RDA for zinc, but due to zinc being harder to absorb from plant foods, some vegans might need more than the RDA.
Phytates, which are commonly found in plant foods, reduce zinc absorption, therefore some researchers suggest that this increases the zinc needs of vegans and vegetarians by 50%. 1
In most studies done on the topic, vegans still manage to meet the recommended zinc intakes, the exception being the EPIC-Oxford study which found that vegan men had slightly lower zinc intakes than the RDA.
However, the results were obtained via food frequency questionnaires, which are generally less reliable than 3-day diet records, which were used in the other studies.
If you’re a vegan and find out that you easily catch colds, develop angular cheilitis (cracks in the corners of the mouth), diarrhea, or hair loss, then a zinc supplement of about 50-100% of the RDA might solve those issues.
Eating fermented foods such as tempeh and miso can also increase zinc absorption, so be sure to incorporate those foods into your diet. 2
How To Know If I Lack Zinc In My Diet
Healthy people who eat a varied diet rarely have a zinc deficiency.
However, the only way to be sure if you are lacking zinc in your body is to have a blood or urine test to quantify the amount of zinc.
The reference values for zinc in the blood are 70 to 120 ug/dL, and up to 900 ug/g in the urine.
Zinc deficiency can also lead to symptoms such as:
- Delay in wound healing;
- Weak, brittle, whitish nails;
- Dry and brittle hair;
- Hair loss;
- Changes in taste.
In addition to a diet low in zinc, deficiency of this mineral is more frequent in people who undergo hemodialysis sessions or who have a case of severe or persistent diarrhea.
Some medications can also lead to this deficiency and include: antihypertensives, thiazide diuretics, omeprazole, and sodium bicarbonate.
How To Choose A Zinc Supplement
When choosing a zinc supplement, it’s important to consider the type of zinc, dosage, and supplement form.
For vegans, you have to take an additional step and avoid zinc supplements that may be delivered in gelatin-based capsules.
Zinc gluconate and zinc citrate are two forms that are well-absorbed.
Some people don’t absorb zinc oxide.3 There’s evidence, though weak, that zinc picolinate is also absorbed well.4 Zinc gluconate may be the best choice due to lower levels of cadmium. 5
As for dosage, the recommended daily dosage for adults is typically 15–30 mg of elemental zinc per day.
Due to the potential side effects of excess zinc, it’s best not to exceed 40 mg per day unless you are under medical supervision.
Also consider purchasing supplements from high-quality, trustworthy brands, as those will usually ensure both safety and accuracy.
You will also want to avoid supplements that contain large amounts of added ingredients like fillers, additives, and preservatives, as well as ones that have been third-party certified.
Is Too Much Zinc Dangerous?
Just as a deficiency is harmful, excess zinc can also be harmful to your health.
Excess zinc can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, fever, and stomach pains, which can be a result of excessive zinc supplementation as well as diseases such as chronic heart failure, osteosarcoma, or atherosclerosis.
If you’re planning to take a zinc supplement, be sure to contact your doctor before doing so in order to get the best advice on how to proceed. This is even more important if you’re taking other medication.
Vegans do not have to take zinc supplements as most studies suggest that they meet the RDA, however, that might not be true for everyone.
Perhaps you do not have a varied diet and have noticed a couple of symptoms associated with lack of zinc, and therefore wish to acquire a zinc supplement to curb those symptoms.
There are three zinc supplements we recommend, and any of the three is a good option.
As we’ve mentioned, be sure to talk to your physician or doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re taking any other medication.
*Editor’s note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.
1 – Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. (2001)
2 – Messina V, Mangels AR. Considerations in planning vegan diets: children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2001 Jun;101(6):661-9.
3 – Wegmüller R, Tay F, Zeder C, Brnic M, Hurrell RF. Zinc absorption by young adults from supplemental zinc citrate is comparable with that from zinc gluconate and higher than from zinc oxide. J Nutr. 2014 Feb;144(2):132-6.
4 – Barrie SA, Wright JV, Pizzorno JE, Kutter E, Barron PC. Comparative absorption of zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, and zinc gluconate in humans. Agents Actions. 1987 Jun;21(1-2):223-8.
5 – Krone CA, Wyse EJ, Ely JT. Cadmium in zinc-containing mineral supplements. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2001 Jul;52(4):379-82.