Why Should I Take Zinc?

When it comes to immune health, zinc couldn’t be more important. Zinc is a "gatekeeper" of your immune function. It’s a key player in the signaling between your body’s immune tolerance and defense systems, aka when it should signal for help or can handle the load. 

We typically find zinc lozenges in the cold and flu aisle at our local grocery store, and for good reason. Zinc is a nutrient found throughout our bodies that helps our immune system and metabolism function. It is also important to wound healing and our sense of taste and smell.

The importance of zinc

When it comes to immune health, it couldn’t be more important. Evidence suggests that if zinc lozenges or syrup is taken within 24 hours after cold symptoms start, the supplement can help shorten the length of colds (1).

Zinc is a “gatekeeper” of your immune function. It’s a key player in the signaling between your body’s immune tolerance and defense systems, aka when it should signal for help or can handle the load. It also has antioxidant properties, and it’s essential in the development of T-cells, your body’s guards against antigens (2).

It supports the function of mucous membranes and skin tissue cells. It’s involved in every step in wound healing, from repairing cell membranes to managing oxidative stress, tissue generation and scar formation (3).

Zinc isn’t necessarily the easiest nutrient to get a hold of. Since our bodies don’t have a way to store or make zinc, we need to get enough zinc in our diet each day. For many of us, a high-quality zinc supplement really comes in handy. It’s recommended that men need 11mg per day, and women need 8mg (4).

What foods contain zinc?

Many foods contain zinc, and meat is the most convenient source of this essential mineral.

Here’s a list of the top zinc-containing foods: (5)

● Oysters: 74mg per serving

● Beef: 7mg in 3oz

● Crab: 6.5mgin 3oz

● Baked beans: 5.8mg per cup

● Lentils: 3mg per cup

● Chicken, dark meat: 2.4mg in 3oz

● Pumpkin seeds: 2.2mg in 1 oz

● Black beans: 2mg per cup

● Yogurt: 1.7mg in 8oz

● Cashews: 1.6mg in 1oz

Oysters are super high in zinc. One oyster contains over six times the daily requirement for men and nine times the recommendation for women. If you love oysters and enjoy them often – you’re good to go. Most of us aren’t eating oysters on a daily basis, so check out our Lentil Burger recipe for another zinc-packed option.


Our new zinc formula, Shield, is a highly absorbable, Gi-friendly zinc. It features zinc as an amino acid chelate with arginine and glycine designed to be easily absorbed and well-tolerated, so it won’t upset your stomach. This is a great way to get in your daily dose, especially if you aren’t eating any of the foods listed above. As we’ve covered, it is especially important for immune and tissue health. It is also a component of numerous enzymes in the body related to energy metabolism, bone mineralization, and protein synthesis. It also plays a part in reproductive health.

Make sure to support your immune system holistically by eating a nutrient-dense diet, practicing stress management, taking supportive supplements, moving regularly, sleeping well, and connecting to joy daily.

Sources: 1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-zinc/art-20366112 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748737/ 3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793244/ 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11073753?dopt=Abstract 5. https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-facts.php

Written by Hannah Aylward

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