The Zinc used at Mymmunity is the most bioavailable form called Zinc Picolinate. Zinc plays catalytic, structural and regulatory roles in more than 200 biological systems.

Chemical Name

Zinc Citrate

Immune support

Research suggests that zinc helps control infections by gently tapping the brakes on the immune response in a way that prevents out-of-control inflammation that can be damaging and even deadly.

Zinc is important for neutrophil, natural killer cell, and T-lymphocyte function. Even mild zinc deficiency might adversely affect T-cell functions. Interestingly, high-dose zinc supplementation, 20 times the RDA, can have a negative effect similar to deficiency on immune function. In human research, zinc decreased levels of the suppressor T cells and increased the ratio of helper to suppressor cells. Zinc, alone or with other micronutrients, has been shown to affect numbers of other CD(+) cells and other lymphocytes, and both increase an decrease levels of cytokines.

In children with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli-induced diarrhea, zinc has been shown to modulate the innate immune system, as evidenced by an increase in phagocytic activity, a decrease in oxidative burst activity, and an increase in the ratio of naïve to memory T cells. In healthy elderly individuals, zinc supplementation enhanced natural killer cell activity; however, in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, zinc decreased natural killer cell activity.

Plasma zinc levels are low in people with HIV infection, but this appears to be a marker of disease progression rather than a treatable cause of progression. Some evidence suggests that zinc supplementation might increase disease progression and mortality in HIV infected patients, but other evidence suggests that avoiding zinc deficiency might allow normal or improved immune function, particularly T-lymphocyte mediated cellular immunity. It also might inhibit susceptibility of T-lymphocytes to apoptosis. More research is needed to tell if zinc should be avoided or prescribed for zinc deficiency in HIV disease.

Plasma levels of zinc are also lower in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). For over 30 years, researchers have been trying to determine the role of zinc in the pathogenesis of MS. Some preliminary clinical research found that zinc levels are reduced during an MS exacerbation and normalize during a remission. However, to date, no clinical research has shown zinc supplementation to be beneficial in patients with MS.

Other uses

  • Diarrhea. Taking zinc by mouth reduces the duration and severity of diarrhea in children who are undernourished or zinc deficient. Severe zinc deficiency in children is common in developing countries. Also giving zinc to undernourished women during pregnancy and for one month after delivery reduces the incidence of diarrhea in infants during the first year of life.
  • An inherited disorder that causes copper to build up in many organs (Wilson disease). Taking zinc by mouth improves symptoms of an inherited disorder called Wilson disease. People with Wilson disease have too much copper in their bodies. Zinc blocks how much copper is absorbed and increases how much copper the body releases.Possibly Effective for... 
  • Acne. Research suggests that people with acne have lower blood and skin levels of zinc. Taking zinc by mouth appears to help treat acne. However, it's unclear how beneficial zinc is compared to acne medications such as tetracycline or minocycline. Applying zinc to the skin in an ointment does not seem to help treat acne unless used in combination with the antibiotic drug called erythromycin.
  • A disorder of zinc deficiency (acrodermatitis enteropathica). Taking zinc by mouth seems to help improve symptoms of acrodermatitis enteropathica.
  • An eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or AMD). People who consume more zinc as part of their diet seem to have a lower risk of developing age-related vision loss. Research shows that taking supplements containing zinc and antioxidant vitamins may modestly slow vision loss and prevent age-related vision loss from becoming advanced in people at high risk. It's still not clear if taking zinc along with antioxidant vitamins helps prevent age-related vision loss from becoming advanced in people at low risk. Most research shows that taking zinc alone, without antioxidant vitamins, does not help most people with age-related vision loss. However, it's possible that people with certain genes that make them susceptible to age-related vision loss might benefit from zinc supplements.
  • An eating disorder (anorexia nervosa). Taking zinc supplements by mouth might help increase weight gain and improve depression symptoms in teens and adults with anorexia.
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There is evidence that children with ADHD might have lower blood levels of zinc than children without ADHD. There is also evidence that people with ADHD who have lower zinc levels might not respond well enough to prescription medications for ADHD (stimulants). Thus, zinc supplements are of interest for people with ADHD. Taking zinc by mouth along with medicine for ADHD might slightly improve hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and socialization problems in some children with ADHD. But zinc doesn't seem to improve attention span. Most studies using zinc for ADHD have taken place in the Middle East, where zinc deficiency is more common than in Western countries. One small study shows that taking zinc alone or as add-on therapy to prescription ADHD medication does not consistently improve symptoms of ADHD. But it does seem to lower the optimal dose of ADHD medication that is needed.
  • Burns. Giving zinc intravenously (by IV) together with other minerals seems to improve wound healing in people with burns. However, taking zinc alone does not appear to improve wound healing in all people with burns, but it might reduce recovery time in people with severe burns.
  • Non-cancerous growths in the large intestine and rectum (colorectal adenoma). Research suggests that taking a supplement containing selenium, zinc, vitamin A 2, vitamin C, and vitamin E by mouth daily for 5 years reduces the risk of recurrent large-bowel tumors by about 40%.
  • Common cold. Although some conflicting results exist, most research shows that taking lozenges containing zinc gluconate or zinc acetate by mouth helps reduce the duration of a cold in adults. However, side effects such as bad taste and nausea might limit its usefulness. It is unclear if zinc helps prevent common colds. In adults, taking zinc supplements by mouth does not seem to prevent common colds. However, zinc gluconate lozenges might help prevent colds in children and adolescents. Using zinc as a nose spray does not seem to help prevent colds.
  • Depression. Early research suggests that zinc levels are lower in people with depression. Ingesting more zinc is associated with less risk of depression. Some research suggests that taking zinc along with antidepressants improves depression in people with major depression. However, other research shows that it improves depression in only people who do not respond to treatment with antidepressants alone. It doesn't seem to improve depression in people who respond to antidepressant treatment.
  • Diabetes. Taking zinc seems to reduce blood sugar, increase insulin levels, improve the way the body uses insulin, and decrease cholesterol and other fats (lipids) in the blood in people with type 2 diabetes. Zinc also seems to decrease body weight in people with diabetes who are overweight or obese. Taking zinc might also help to lower blood sugar in women who develop diabetes during pregnancy. But it doesn't seem to reduce the need for a caesarean section during labor in these women.
  • Foot sores in people with diabetes. Research suggests that applying zinc hyaluronate gel can help foot ulcers heal faster than conventional treatment in people with diabetes.
  • Diaper rash. Giving zinc gluconate by mouth to infants seems to speed up the healing of diaper rash. Applying zinc oxide paste also seems to improve the healing of diaper rash. However, it doesn't seem to work as well as applying 2% eosin solution.
  • A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Using toothpastes containing zinc, with or without an antibacterial agent, appears to prevent plaque and gingivitis. Some evidence also shows that zinc-containing toothpaste can reduce existing plaque. However, other conventional treatments may be more effective. Also, most studies that showed benefit used zinc citrate in combination with triclosan, which is not available in the US.
  • Bad breath. Research suggests that chewing gum, sucking on a candy, or using a mouth rinse containing zinc reduces bad breath.
  • Cold sores (herpes labialis). Applying zinc sulfate or zinc oxide to the skin, alone or with other ingredients, seems to reduce the duration and severity of oral and genital herpes. However, zinc might not be beneficial for recurrent herpes infections.
  • Reduced ability to taste (hypogeusia). Some early research suggests that taking zinc by mouth does not improve taste disorders in children with zinc deficiency. But most evidence suggests that taking zinc by mouth is effective for people with a reduced ability to taste foods due to zinc deficiency or some other conditions.
  • Skin infection caused by Leishmania parasites (Leishmania lesions). Research suggests that taking zinc sulfate by mouth or injecting as a solution into lesions helps heal lesions in people with Leishmaniasis. However, injecting zinc solutions into lesions does not seem to be more effective than conventional treatments.
  • Leprosy. Taking zinc by mouth in combination with anti-leprosy drugs seems to help treat leprosy.
  • Muscle cramps. Taking zinc by mouth seems to help treat muscle cramps in people with cirrhosis and zinc deficiency.
  • Weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis). Low zinc intake seems to be linked to lower bone mass. Taking a zinc supplement in combination with copper, manganese, and calcium might decrease bone loss in women who have passed menopause.
  • Stomach ulcers. Taking zinc acexamate by mouth seems to help treat and prevent peptic ulcers. However, this form of zinc is not available in the US.
  • Sore throat (pharyngitis). Using a zinc lozenge before surgery that involves having a tube placed into the windpipe seems to reduce the chance of having a sore throat after surgery.
  • Pneumonia. Most research suggests that taking zinc might help PREVENT pneumonia in undernourished children. However, research assessing the effects of zinc for TREATING pneumonia once it develops shows conflicting.
  • Preterm birth. Taking zinc by mouth during pregnancy appears to reduce the risk for early delivery. But zinc supplementation doesn't seem to reduce the risk for stillbirths, miscarriage, or infant deaths.
  • Bed sores (pressure ulcers). Applying zinc paste appears to help improve the healing of bed sores in elderly people. Also, increasing zinc intake in the diet seems to improve bed sore healing in hospitalized patients with bed sore.
  • Illness from a Shigella bacteria infection (shigellosis). Research shows that taking a multivitamin syrup containing zinc along with conventional treatment can improve recovery time and reduce diarrhea in undernourished children with food poisoning.
  • Sickle cell disease. Taking zinc by mouth seems to help reduce symptoms of sickle cell disease in people with zinc deficiency. Taking zinc supplements also appears to decrease the risk for complications and infections related to sickle cell disease.
  • Leg sores caused by weak blood circulation (venous leg ulcer). Taking zinc sulfate by mouth appears to help some types of leg ulcers heal faster. The effects seem to be greater in people with low levels of zinc before treatment. Applying zinc paste to leg ulcers also appears to improve healing.
  • Vitamin A deficiency. Taking zinc by mouth together with vitamin A seems to improve vitamin A levels in undernourished children better than vitamin A or zinc alone.
  • Warts. Early research suggests that applying a zinc sulfate solution improves plane warts but not common warts. Applying zinc oxide ointment appears to be as effective as conventional treatments for curing warts. Taking zinc sulfate by mouth also appears to be effective.

How it works

Zinc is needed for the proper growth and maintenance of the human body. It is found in several systems and biological reactions, and it is needed for immune function, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function, and much more. Meats, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains offer relatively high levels of zinc.

Zinc deficiency is not uncommon worldwide, but is rare in the US. Symptoms include slowed growth, low insulin levels, loss of appetite, irritability, generalized hair loss, rough and dry skin, slow wound healing, poor sense of taste and smell, diarrhea, and nausea. Moderate zinc deficiency is associated with disorders of the intestine which interfere with food absorption (malabsorption syndromes), alcoholism, chronic kidney failure, and chronic debilitating diseases.

Low zinc levels can be associated with male infertility, sickle cell disease, HIV, major depression, and type 2 diabetes, and can be fought by taking a zinc supplement.


Safe for most adults when taken by mouth in amounts not larger than 40 mg daily. Routine zinc supplementation is not recommended without the advice of a healthcare professional. In some people, zinc might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, metallic taste.

Infants and children: Zinc is safe when taken by mouth appropriately in the recommended amounts. Zinc is

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Zinc is likely safe for most pregnant and breast-feeding women when used in the recommended daily amounts (RDA). However, zinc is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in high doses by breast-feeding women and LIKELY UNSAFE when used in high doses by pregnant women. Pregnant women over 18 should not take more than 40 mg of zinc per day; pregnant women age 14 to 18 should not take more than 34 mg per day. Breast-feeding women over 18 should not take more than 40 mg of zinc per day; breast-feeding women age 14 to 18 should not take more than 34 mg per day.

Interactions with medications

Amiloride (Midamor)

Interaction Rating = Minor Be watchful with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Amiloride (Midamor) is used as a "water pill" to help remove excess water from the body. Another effect of amiloride (Midamor) is that it can increase the amount of zinc in the body. Taking zinc supplements with amiloride (Midamor) might cause you to have too much zinc in your body.

Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Zinc might decrease how much antibiotic the body absorbs from the gut. Taking zinc along with some antibiotics might decrease the effectiveness of some antibiotics. To avoid this interaction, take antibiotics at least 2 hours before or 4-6 hours after zinc supplements.Some of these antibiotics that might interact with zinc include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), and others.

Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Zinc can attach to tetracyclines in the stomach. This decreases the amount of tetracyclines that can be absorbed. Taking zinc with tetracyclines might decrease the effectiveness of tetracyclines. To avoid this interaction, take tetracyclines 2 hours before or 4-6 hours after taking zinc supplements.Some tetracyclines include demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline (Achromycin, Sumycin).

Atazanavir (Reyataz)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Atazanavir (Reyataz) is a drug used for HIV infection. Zinc decreases how much atazanavir (Reyataz) the body absorbs. But the body still absorbs enough atazanavir (Reyataz) for atazanavir to work for treating HIV. So this interaction is probably not a big concern. 

Cephalexin (Keflex)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Cephalexin (Keflex) is an antibiotic used to treat infections. Zinc can reduce how much cephalexin (Keflex) the body absorbs if taken at the same time or 3 hours before cephalexin (Keflex). This might decrease how well cephalexin (Keflex) works for treating infections. But taking zinc 3 hours after taking cephalexin (Keflex) doesn't affect how much cephalexin (Keflex) the body absorbs. Therefore, zinc should be taken 3 hours after taking cephalexin (Keflex).

Cisplatin (Platinol-AQ)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Cisplatin (Platinol-AQ) is used to treat cancer. Taking zinc along with EDTA and cisplatin (Platinol-AQ) might inactivate cisplatin (Platinol-AQ) therapy. It is not known for sure, though, if the amount of interference caused by zinc is significant.

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Zinc might decrease blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking zinc along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Medications for HIV/AIDS (Integrase inhibitors)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Taking zinc along with integrase inhibitors might decrease blood levels of integrase inhibitors. This might decrease their effectiveness. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are using integrase inhibitors and want to start taking zinc. Integrase inhibitors include dolutegravir (Tivicay), elvitegravir (Vitekta), and raltegravir (Isentress). 


Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Penicillamine is used for Wilson disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Zinc might decrease how much penicillamine your body absorbs and decrease the effectiveness of penicillamine. Take zinc and penicillamine at least 2 hours apart.

Ritonavir (Norvir)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Ritonavir (Norvir) is a drug used for HIV infection. Zinc can reduce how much ritonavir (Norvir) the body absorbs. But this doesn't seem to decrease the effects of ritonavir very much. So this interaction is probably not a big concern.

Interactions with Herbs, Supplements, and Foods


High doses of zinc can lower beta-carotene blood levels. 


Metals such as zinc might reduce the effects of bromelain. However, there are no reports of this interaction. 


Calcium supplements might decrease dietary zinc absorption. This usually doesn't seem to be much of a problem. However, this interaction can be avoided by taking calcium supplements at bedtime instead of with meals. 


There is early evidence that chromium and zinc could each reduce the absorption of the other. This is probably not a problem when usual supplemental doses of zinc and chromium are taken. 


Large amounts of zinc can reduce copper absorption. Taking zinc in high doses can cause significant copper deficiency and anemia, a condition in which the blood cannot carry enough oxygen. Some signs of copper deficiency have also occurred in people taking 150 mg/day or more of zinc for 2 years. 


EDTA is a chemical compound that is given to people to remove excess metals in their systems, especially lead. EDTA works by binding with (chelating) the metal. Repeated high doses of EDTA, as used in chelation treatment, can reduce blood zinc levels by up to 40%. Symptoms of zinc depletion have been reported, even when supplemental zinc (15mg/day) was given. People receiving chelation therapy should be monitored for zinc depletion. 

Folic acid

Studies on the effects of folic acid supplements on dietary zinc absorption are conflicting. Normal supplemental doses of folic acid are not likely to affect zinc balance in people with adequate dietary zinc intake. 

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar

Large amounts of zinc might lower blood sugar. Using it along with other herbs and supplements that have the same effect might cause blood sugar to drop too low in some people. Some of these alpha-lipoic acid, bitter melon, chromium, devil's claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others. 

IP-6 (Phytic acid)

Phytic acid found naturally in foods can bind zinc and reduce its absorption;. howeverHowever, zinc deficiency due to high dietary phytic acid levels has not been reported in Western populations. Avoid IP-6 supplements, which contain phytic acid, if you have other risk factors for zinc deficiency. 


Under some circumstances, iron and zinc can interfere with each other's absorption. To avoid this effect, take these supplements with food. 


High doses of zinc supplements (142 mg/day), or high dietary zinc intake (53mg/day) seem to decrease magnesium balance. The importance of this isn't known. 


Research suggests zinc supplements can more than double the amount of manganese absorbed from supplements. 

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Research suggests riboflavin can improve zinc absorption. The importance of this isn't known. 

Vitamin A

Research suggests that zinc supplements can increase blood levels of vitamin A. Theoretically, zinc might increase the effects and side effects of vitamin A. 

Vitamin D

Research suggests vitamin D is involved in zinc absorption, but it's not clear whether vitamin D improves zinc absorption. 

Interactions with Foods

Caffeine-containing foods

Taking zinc sulfate with black coffee instead of water reduces zinc absorption by half. Researchers aren't sure why this happens or how important the interaction may be. 

Calcium-containing foods

Calcium can decrease zinc absorption. The risk of losing too much zinc isn't significant unless lots of dairy products are consumed along with calcium supplements. However, the body adapts over the long term, becoming more efficient at absorbing zinc and reducing zinc losses. 

Fiber-containing foods

Eating fiber can reduce zinc absorption. However, over time the body adapts to increased dietary fiber by increasing zinc absorption. 

Phytate-containing foods

Phytate is a molecule found in grains (e.g., maize, corn, sorghum), legumes, seeds (e.g., sunflower, pumpkin), and soy. Phytate can reduce zinc absorption. Some foods with higher phytate contents also have a higher zinc content (for example, whole wheat vs. white bread), canceling out the effect in zinc absorption. Some people in Middle Eastern countries have zinc deficiencies because they eat unleavened bread and maize, which contain phytate. People in Western populations most at risk are those with diets high in unrefined grains, legumes, soy protein, and calcium, and low in animal protein. However, the body adapts over the long term, becoming more efficient at absorbing zinc and reducing zinc losses. 

Protein-containing foods

Zinc binds to proteins, becoming available for absorption as the protein is digested. The type of protein influences how much zinc is absorbed. Animal proteins generally increase zinc absorption, although a protein in cow's milk slows absorption down. Soy proteins also reduce zinc absorption, possibly due to their phytate content. These effects can influence zinc balance in infants; babies get the most zinc from mother's milk, less from cow's milk, and even less from soy-based milk. It isn't known whether high-protein diets influence zinc balance in adults. 


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