Let’s Talk About Zinc: How much? What type? And Signs of Toxicity

Written by Dr. Melissa Gallagher, Naturopathic Physician

Reading Time: 8 minutes


 

Video Transcript:

One of the most common questions that I get from so many viewers here is, How much zinc is it okay to take? What’s the threshold? Am I taking too much zinc? So these are really common questions about a very popular and critical mineral that we need to be consuming every day, but we also need it in the right balance.

I’m going to share with you the different nuances of taking zinc, what are the forms that I recommend, as well as the dosing to help support your immune system and keep you healthy and well.

Benefits of Zinc and Maximizing its Potency

Let’s talk about zinc. Zinc is something, especially now, we’re dealing with a lot of folks that are concerned about their immune state, want to bolster their immune system to be responsive to colds, and the flu, and even COVID. Zinc is something that a lot of people are taking, but they’re not sure if they’re taking the right form, they’re not sure if they’re taking too much or too little, and they’re not sure if they’re maybe offsetting or creating symptoms because of taking zinc. So I want to cover all of that.

One of the things as a naturopath, zinc is a really critical asset to our immune system. If we utilize it in the right way, we can actually maximize the potency of zinc. I’m going to talk to you a little bit about zinc micro-dosing. That’s how I like to recommend utilizing zinc, and that also ensures that we don’t hit certain thresholds that put us into what I consider “zinc toxicity.”

Different Forms of Zinc: What to Take and What to Avoid

So let’s talk about zinc and the assorted forms. There are a lot of different ways to get zinc into our body. You’re going to find supplementation, like for instance, the Immunity 3 we have here at Organixx. This has two types of zinc. It’s zinc arginate and zinc glycinate, but those are two forms. We also have chelated zinc. We have zinc that we find in trace mineral form and liquid form.

We also will see things like zinc oxide. Often we know that as the zinc we put on our skin, but actually, we can see that in supplementation. I don’t advise that at all, a zinc oxide. So if you are consuming any type of zinc in that category, I would switch to a more bioavailable form. Which leads me to talk about the forms that we want to be consuming.

Transporters Help Maximize Absorption

Zinc is a really unique mineral. It on its own cannot actively and successfully enter into our body and our cells for max absorption. We call max absorption “bioavailability.” So zinc forms that you want to look towards for max bioavailability are going to be zinc that is paired up with what we call a transporter.

We often will see a transporter be an amino acid. That’s the most common. For instance, in the Immunity 3, this is a supplement I love to recommend for folks that want to lift their immune state, that want to grab zinc and get it in the right form, and that also want to be able to micro-dose in a healthy way.

This has camu camu, and it also has elderberry. All very healthy for our immune system. But what’s critical here is the zinc. There’s a zinc arginate and a zinc glycinate, and those two zincs have amino acids that are connected to them. So the amino acid becomes a transporter. It brings in the delivery – and it’s a delivery method – brings in zinc to the cells, and then we see that transportation process happen. Amino acid moves away and voila, we have zinc integrated into our body.

So, Immunity 3 is what I recommend for awesome zinc, but you can get that in also trace mineral form and you can find liquid forms, but most critically, you want to look for a transporter.

Now, if there isn’t a zinc that is bound to an amino acid, sometimes we will see a supplement added into the mix. So for instance, a supplement that has curcumin would be a very helpful zinc transporter.[1] So there are some herbal compounds that can help max the absorption and maximize the bioavailability. So, I just want to clear that up, but zinc plus arginine and zinc plus glycine, those are two very powerful forms that integrate into your body.

Ideal and Maximum Thresholds for Zinc

Now, as far as delivery methods, the transporters are helpful at bringing the zinc into the body. But how do you take a supplement, and what’s the most effective way to look at a zinc?

Well, before I get into that, I want to share with you where we look at the daily, and weekly, and monthly max thresholds for zinc. A lot of this has been studied – it’s in the medical literature – that every day we want to see our daily zinc intake at about 15 mg. That’s the daily required dose. That’s what you’re going to see on a lot of supplement backs. They have the daily value or recommended daily dosage. You’ll see that on supplements.

It’s okay to extend beyond that for a certain period of time, and that’s where we get into micro-dosing. But 100 mg every day for a sequence of days, weeks, and months, we’re at that threshold where we’re getting into zinc at levels that are not going to be equally balanced within the body.

Symptoms of Too Much Zinc

The max threshold is 300 mg of zinc, which is extensive, and honestly, you’d have to be taking a lot of zinc, and it would be overwhelming to your body. You might even get some of the symptoms before you hit that. So usually, we’re going to see that 100 mg threshold where people get symptoms of extensive nausea, they will have changes in their cholesterol levels, it leads to additional stomach upset, headaches, dizziness, even sometimes it’s this weird kind of movement like the spine. They kind of have a wobbly spine.

So there are symptoms that we look for, for that max zinc. But what I recommend is to make sure … This is my cautionary tale … When we are taking more than 15 mg of zinc a day, which is very common … I have a lot of patients when I work with them, we’ll set out all the different products that they’re taking. So they might be taking an elderberry gummy, they might be taking a liquid throat soother, they might be sucking on a lozenge that has zinc. Well, all of those zincs are going to add up. So I like to have us calculate, how much zinc are you getting in your multivitamin? How much zinc is in your protein smoothie powder? Sometimes zinc is going to find its way in food additives. We’re going to see it in some protein bars. We’re going to see it in a lot of different places that we don’t always think about and register.

Plus, we also are going to get zinc from our food, our plant-based sources. So, once we gather that collective quantity of zinc, and you can very easily add this up, what I recommend then is looking at, are you hitting that threshold? If you are, and you’re not taking a zinc balancer, we need to add that in.

What is a Zinc Balancer?

So, let’s talk about the zinc balancer. The direct balance, counterbalance to zinc is copper.[2] This is a lesser talked about and discussed mineral that we need to have in our body to balance out zinc. One of the most common forms of copper deficiency from upper levels of zinc is premature gray hair.

So, if you have graying hair where you’ve noticed you’re on a cold-flu regimen, you’re trying to support your immune system and you’re taking every day 75 mg of zinc, you’ve been doing that for six months and you’ve noticed you’re having a little bit more gray hair. Or even other parts of your body you’re noticing graying hairs. We have gray hairs all over our body. If you’re noticing that, and the only thing that has changed is your immune supportive supplementation, then we need to add a copper to balance that out. So that is really, really important.

I mention that because zinc is not negative. It’s very powerful, and it has positive effects on our bodies. But the way the body, the symbiotic nature and the homeostasis that our body is always trying to achieve, it’s all about balance. If we add more of one thing, we need to counterbalance it with another. That is, I’m hoping, super helpful in understanding how much zinc you want to aim for a day.

How to Micro-Dose Zinc

Let’s talk a little bit about micro-dosing because I want to highlight, for instance, if you are taking the Immunity 3 here at Organixx, you one, calculate the other zincs that you’re taking. So I want to make sure that we’re staying below 50 and 75 mg on a daily basis. If you are just getting your zinc from Immunity 3, awesome. If you notice that you start to feel a kind of ick coming on, then you can start micro-dosing the Immunity 3 because of the zinc. You can micro dose and take two capsules every two to three hours up to three doses that day.

So that is how I recommend ensuring that you are not hitting and going beyond the 100 mg threshold every day. That 100 mg – or close to it –everybody’s body is a little variant in terms of how they react. But that tends to be where we see a lot of those symptoms. We’ll see the nausea, the headaches, the weird kind of wonky imbalance in the lower hip and spine. We also will notice different imbalances when we’re pulling mineral profiles.

When I do blood testing with patients, they’ll have really low copper, super high zinc, and a lot of the symptoms we’re combating, it ends up being because we need to lower the zinc dosage. There are a lot of different ways to do that. I can get into that in future videos. But I just wanted to share with you the most important takeaways of how much zinc, what’s too much, and really how to utilize some of the amazing benefits that we offer you here in Immunity 3 with the two most bioavailable transported forms of zinc.

So let us know how that works. I’m curious for all of you who start calculating your zinc. I’d love to know if you have an average of zinc and the milligram dosage that you’re often finding you’re taking. Love to find out how we can also support balancing zinc here through some other Organixx products. So make sure you comment and let us know.


Organixx Immunity 3 gives you natural immune system support against harmful viruses & bacteria, including the common cold, influenza, and sinusitis. This ultimate 3-in-1 immune support supplement provides 3 powerhouse nutrients in one convenient daily formula: organic camu camu (vitamin C), organic elderberry & 2 forms of zinc.

Immunity 3
Dr. Melissa Gallagher, Naturopathic Physician
Dr. Melissa Gallagher, Naturopathic Physician, holds a Masters in Holistic Nutrition and a Doctorate of Naturopathy. In addition to providing expert guidance to Organixx, Dr. Melissa maintains a busy private practice in Texas. Her primary focus is working with individuals addressing digestive disorders, hormone balance, detoxification therapies, and primary and secondary lymphedema cases through lymphatic decongestive treatments.

Comments

  1. I’m very much interested in trying Immunity 3, Dr. Gallagher, but I have a question about what you meant by too much zinc affecting cholesterol. Does too much zinc raise cholesterol or help lower it? Could you please explain?

    • Hi Debra. thanks for your question.

      Since we cannot provide any medical advice, we're happy to share the link to Ask the Doc- https://organixx.com/dr-m-bio/#dr-m-ask/

      Here you can submit questions directly to Dr. Melissa Gallagher.

      Please know, that due to the number of entries received, we cannot guarantee your specific question will be selected to be answered. However, we will be providing frequent video responses from Dr. Melissa to respond to the many inquiries and topics that are important to so many of us. Please be on the lookout for emails that will announce when we release a new video from Dr. Melissa.

      Thanks so much for being here with us. Wishing you a happy & healthy day!

  2. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thank you for the zinc article. I also feel frustrated that there wasn’t a clear description in the article about how cholesterol is affected by zinc. Perhaps it can be either a negative or a positive affect? Too vaguely presented.

    I add my zincs together to get approximately 30mg a day. I take 15mg with a copper balancer and two Organixx turmeric products as well. I don’t do Immunity 3 at this time.

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