Zinc is an essential mineral that is important in supporting overall health. However, many individuals don’t get enough zinc through dietary sources alone. Fortunately, supplements like zinc picolinate are available to help boost levels of this vital nutrient.
This article will explore the benefits and potential side effects of taking a zinc picolinate supplement. We’ll also look at how it’s used and potential warnings associated with its intake. So you can make an informed decision when considering taking this supplement or any other containing the mineral. Now, let’s start.
Table of Contents
What is Zinc Picolinate?
Zinc picolinate is an acid form of zinc that the human body may absorb more readily than other forms of zinc, including zinc citrate and zinc gluconate.  It has immunomodulatory properties and may be used to treat or prevent zinc deficiency.
Zinc absorption in the body is a multi-step process that begins when zinc crosses the intestinal membranes, continues to the blood, and finally to the cells. In addition, for the metabolism to function properly inside your body, zinc is an essential component that must be present.
Sources of Zinc
It’s important to consider how much zinc you’re currently getting from food sources before choosing a supplement. Most individuals don’t require a zinc supplement since they obtain enough zinc from food. Some examples of zinc-rich foods and drinks are:
- Shellfish, such as oysters and crab
- Legumes, including beans and lentils
- Nuts and seeds, like almonds and pumpkin seeds
- Whole grains and cereals
- Milk or yogurt
- Dark chocolate
Benefits of Zinc Picolinate
Common benefits of taking zinc picolinate include the following:
1. Zinc for Improved Immune System Function
The zinc in zinc picolinate may help support the body’s natural defense system and regulate immune responses. The mineral zinc plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system. 
Zinc deficiency makes people more vulnerable to illnesses like the common cold and the flu. As a result, zinc supplements are occasionally recommended by physicians as a means of improving immunity and warding off illness.
Unfortunately, no evidence taking zinc supplements at the onset of sickness significantly lessens the length and intensity of symptoms. Further study is required to determine the optimal zinc supplementation for fighting off viruses and bacteria.
2. Zinc for Maintaining Skin Health
Zinc is essential to maintaining healthy skin. It is an essential antioxidant required for protein synthesis and wound repair. It’s involved in the metabolism of omega 3s and aids in the breakdown of substance P and the transfer of vitamin A from the liver.
Moreover, zinc helps reduce inflammation. This may help alleviate some of the irritation and redness that is associated with moderate to severe acne. Even acne scars might benefit from this treatment. Topical zinc has anti-inflammatory qualities and may help eliminate acne-causing bacteria from the skin while decreasing oil production. 
Regarding the method of administration, oral zinc is useful for persons with moderate acne. A topical cream has fewer negative effects but isn’t as effective as taking zinc by mouth. 
3. Zinc for Liver Health
Among the many functions that zinc serves in the body is its antioxidant role and metabolizing carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. A lack of zinc in the body may put a person at risk for developing several chronic liver illnesses.
Zinc can be an efficient therapy for acute and chronic liver inflammation. It prevents a protein from producing pro-inflammatory and antiviral activities linked to tissue damage in chronic liver disease. Also, according to a study, supplemental zinc seems useful in preserving liver function. 
4. Zinc for Blood Sugar Maintenance
Insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating glucose in the body. The zinc requirements of people with diabetes increase due to zinc losses resulting from urine and high blood sugar levels. It is essential for insulin production and action in normal and diabetic conditions.
Zinc is well recognized for its vital function in controlling blood sugar and facilitating insulin production. It may also help lower insulin resistance, which means your body can make better use of insulin and keep blood sugar levels stable. 
5. Zinc for Deficiency
Supplements containing zinc are often used to treat and prevent zinc insufficiency. Zinc deficiency causes weak defenses, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and prolonged wound healing. 
While zinc deficiency is rare, getting enough of this mineral is still important since it is a vital nutrient, and the body cannot make it on its own. Certain people may be more vulnerable due to dietary restrictions, poor nutrient absorption, or other health issues.
If your food already provides sufficient zinc, you may not need to take a supplement. Your doctor may check your blood levels for deficiencies to see whether a supplement might help.
Is Zinc Picolinate the Same as Zinc?
Yes and no. Zinc picolinate is zinc in an acid form, while zinc alone is the element zinc. They are both forms of zinc, just in different forms. So, they can have the same benefits, but your body may better absorb zinc picolinate than zinc on its own.
How Much is Zinc Picolinate Per Day Safe?
Zinc picolinate is usually taken in doses of 15–30 mg daily. If you’re 19 or older and considering taking a zinc supplement, you should be cautious about taking no more than 40 milligrams daily.
Here is a table showing the recommended daily allowances for zinc by the National Institute of Health.
|Birth to 6 months||2 mg|
|7 to 12 months||3 mg|
|1–3 years||3 mg|
|4–8 years||5 mg|
|9–13 years||8 mg|
|14–18 years||9–13 mg|
|19+ years||8–12 mg|
|Pregnant and Lactating Women||11–13 mg|
Excessive zinc consumption is harmful. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice when taking zinc picolinate and not exceed daily recommended dosages.
What are the Side Effects of Zinc Picolinate?
Zinc poisoning is not always easy to spot since its symptoms may be easily confused with those of other diseases and drug reactions. The symptoms of zinc overdose include gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, lack of appetite, and headaches.
When you consume too much zinc, you risk experiencing both short-term and long-term adverse effects. It may also cause low copper or iron levels and a weaker immune system. There is also the possibility of zinc interacting negatively with antibiotics and diuretics.
When Should I Take Zinc Picolinate?
When taking zinc supplements, it’s best to do so at least an hour before or two hours after eating. It’s best absorbed on an empty stomach, but that’s also when it’s most likely to induce gastrointestinal problems. For this reason, it’s best to avoid taking it late at night and instead take it with food. You should inform your doctor if you take your zinc supplement during mealtimes.
Bottom Line: What is Zinc Picolinate? Is It Effective?
So, there you have it! Zinc picolinate is a form of zinc that the human body may absorb better than other forms, making it a powerful tool for treating and preventing zinc deficiency. It can also help boost your immune system and keep you healthy.
Remember that if you’re considering using zinc picolinate for any purpose, consult your doctor first to ensure it’s right. They must know directly what you’re taking and why so they can help guide the best course for your body – because sometimes too much of something isn’t such a good thing, and in the world of supplement use, more isn’t always better.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- 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. doi: 10.1007/BF01974946. PMID: 3630857.
- Zinc. (2022, 28). National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Date accessed: Feb 21, 2023. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
- Decker A, Graber EM. Over-the-counter Acne Treatments: A Review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 May;5(5):32-40. PMID: 22808307; PMCID: PMC3366450.
- Sardana, K. and Garg, V.K. (2010), An observational study of methionine-bound zinc with antioxidants for mild to moderate acne vulgaris. Dermatologic Therapy, 23: 411-418. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1529-8019.2010.01342.x
- Westmead Institute for Medical Research. (2017, June 1). Zinc may hold key to fighting liver disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 22, 2023 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170601124016.htm.
- Cruz KJ, Morais JB, de Oliveira AR, Severo JS, Marreiro DD. The Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Insulin Resistance in Obese Subjects: a Systematic Review. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2017 Apr;176(2):239-243. doi: 10.1007/s12011-016-0835-8. Epub 2016 Sep 1. PMID: 27587022.
- Zinc deficiency – StatPearls – NCBI bookshelf. (2022, May 8). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Date accessed: Feb 22, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493231/.