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different forms of zinc

7 of the best zinc supplements 2022

13 Sep 2021 • 6 min read

Have you been recommended to start taking a zinc supplement?

Maybe you’ve heard that zinc can support your immunity and want to make sure you’re getting an adequate daily dose?

Find out all about this essential mineral, its potential health benefits, and discover 7 of the best zinc supplements 2022.

What is zinc?

Zinc is an essential mineral our bodies need to function normally and keep us in good health.

In fact, it is the second most abundant mineral in the body - iron just pips it at the post!

Our bodies can’t make it, so we must get it from our diet or through dietary supplements – which we will get on to later.

What does zinc do?

Zinc has some very important jobs in the body, including:1

  • Helping us process fat, carbohydrates, and protein from the food we eat
  • Maintain healthy bones
  • Aiding immune function
  • Protein synthesis
  • Supporting the health of your hair, skin & nails

These main functions of zinc lead to an array of different health benefits, some of which are outlined below.

What are the benefits of taking zinc?

There are several potential health benefits of getting enough zinc or taking zinc supplements, including:

Immune system function – one of the most researched benefits of zinc is how it supports immune function

Antioxidant-rich – it is believed that zinc contains antioxidant properties which could help protect our cells from oxidative damage.3

Vision – Zinc helps to maintain normal vision

Brain function – Zinc contributes to normal cognitive function


  • Zinc is an essential mineral that is essential to many bodily functions

How much zinc do you need a day?

Men, women, and children of different ages need slightly different amounts of zinc a day. Here are the recommended dietary allowances for zinc:4

Age Male Female  Pregnancy  Lactation
0-6 months 2mg 2mg    
7-12 months 3mg 3mg    
1-3 years  3mg 3mg    
4-8 years  5mg 5mg    
9-13 years  8mg 8mg    
14-18 years 11mg 9mg 12mg 13mg
19 years + 11mg 8mg 11mg 12mg

You should be able to get the zinc you need from a daily diet – discover some of the best food sources of zinc below.

What foods contain zinc?

Some of the most zinc-rich foods include:5

  • Meat, meat is a great source of zinc, especially red meats like beef, lamb and pork
  • Shellfish, oysters in particular are an excellent source of zinc, and smaller shellfish like prawns and mussels are pretty good too
  • Dairy products, like milk and cheese are a good source of zinc
  • Dark chocolate, yes, chocolate contains some zinc too! You are better off sticking to the dark stuff, though (70% + cocoa content) for all the zinc goodness
  • Vegetables, although minimal, some vegetables like regular potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and kale contain zinc
  • Eggs, eggs contain a small amount of zinc
  • Wholegrains, unprocessed grains like wholegrain rice, wheat, quinoa and oats contain some zinc
  • Legumes, lentils, beans and chickpeas contain a decent amount of zinc per serving
  • Seeds, hemp seeds are very high in zinc, and squash, pumpkin and sesame seeds contain some too

Here are some examples of these foods and how much zinc they provide per serving:6

Food Milligrams per serving (mg) Percent DV*
Oysters; cooked, breaded and fried - 3 ounces 74.0 673
Beef chuck; roast and braised - 3 ounces  7.0 64
Crab; Alaska king, cooked - 3 ounces  6.5 59
Beef patty; broiled - 3 ounces 5.3 48
Lobster; cooked - 3 ounces 3.4 31
Pork chop loin; cooked - 3 ounces 2.9 26
Baked beans; canned, plain or vegetarian - 1/2 cup 2.9 26
Breakfast cereal; fortified with 25% of the DV for zinc - 1 serving  2.8 25
Chicken; dark meat, cooked - 3 ounces 2.4 22
Pumpkin seeds; dried - 1 ounce 2.2 20
Yoghurt; fruit, low fat - 8 ounces 1.7 15
Cashews; dry roasted - 1 ounce 1.6 15
Chickpeas; cooked - 1/2 cup 1.3 12
Cheese; swiss - 1 ounce 1.2 11
Oatmeal; instant, plain, prepared with water - 1 packet  1.1 10
Milk; low-fat or non-fat - 1 cup 1.0 9
Almonds; dry roasted - 1 ounce 0.9 8
Kidney beans; cooked, 1/2 cup  0.9 8
Chicken breast; roasted, skin removed, 1/2 breast  0.9 8
Cheese; cheddar or mozzarella - 1 ounce 0.9 8
Peas; green, frozen, cooked  -1/2 cup 0.5 5
Flounder or sole; cooked - 3 ounces 0.3 3



If you eat a diet rich in these food groups, you could be hitting your daily zinc targets already.

However, if you feel like you’ve just read a list of your most avoided foods?

A zinc supplement may be just what you need.


  • Men, women and children need different amounts of zinc per day
  • Red meat, shellfish, beans, fortified foods, dairy and some vegetables are good sources of zinc

Why is zinc important for female health?

Zinc becomes more important for women when they are pregnant and lactating.

This is because the foetus has a high zinc requirement while it’s growing and the same goes for breastfed babies.

See the table above to see how much zinc you need when you are pregnant and breastfeeding.7

Why is zinc important for children’s health?

Growing foetuses and babies need quite a lot of zinc for their development.

Breastmilk can’t always fulfil the requirements, so supplements for the mother, age-appropriate zinc-rich foods and formulas are often recommended.8

When should you take a zinc supplement?

Most people get enough zinc from a healthy balanced diet.

Zinc deficiency is uncommon, but when it does occur it’s usually due to inadequate zinc intake/absorption, increases zinc loss from the body or increased zinc requirements, e.g., during pregnancy.9

With that being said, zinc supplements are sometimes recommended for certain groups of people, including:10

  • Vegetarians and vegans, although vegetarian and vegan food contains zinc, the bioavailability of zinc from these foods is lower. Meat on the other hand is very bioavailable and may even enhance zinc absorption. Vegetarians sometimes need as much as 50% more of the RDA for zinc than people who eat meat and seafood.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women, growing foetuses, and breastfeeding infants need zinc to develop, so mothers need to make sure they are getting enough zinc every day.
  • Exclusively breastfed older infants, breast milk provides enough zinc to an infant for the first 4-6 months of life but does not contain enough for infants 7-12 months old. That’s why foods, formulas, or supplements containing zinc are recommended.

Which form of zinc is best?

There are several forms of zinc, including:

  • Zinc gluconate
  • Zinc acetate
  • Zinc sulphate

The type of zinc you take can affect the recommended dosage.

For example, zinc sulphate is made up of roughly 23% elemental zinc. So, 220mg of zinc sulphate is equivalent to 50mg of zinc.11

Current research has not yet determined whether different types of zinc vary in absorption, tolerability, or bioavailability.

Is it ok to take zinc daily?

Yes, it is essential that you consume zinc in some form every day, as the body cannot store it.


  • Zinc plays a different role in male and female bodies
  • It’s important for children’s growth and development

7 of the best zinc supplements 2022

Now you know what zinc is and why we need this essential mineral, here are 7 of our favourite zinc supplements with the best customer ratings for you to explore:

High strength daily zinc tablets

  1. Holland & Barrett High Strength Zinc 15mg, 250 Tablets

Take just one of these high strength tablets a day to keep your zinc levels topped up.

They’re easy to swallow and totally vegetarian and vegan friendly.

You can also get the same high strength zinc tablets in a 100-tablet size.

Key benefits:

  • All the benefits of zinc in one easy to swallow, one-a-day tablet
  • Contributes to the normal function of the immune system, fertility, vision and cognitive function
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

What our customers think:

AmzyB15 – Great – 5/5 stars

“Always use zinc, can’t be without! Easy to take and good for the immune system etc.”

LovelyLaura – Convenient – 5/5 stars

“Easy to take and what I needed as I have a deficiency. Good to be able to pick them up online.”

Maximum strength zinc tablets

  1. Holland & Barrett Maximum Strength Zinc 25mg, 100 Tablets

If you’re looking for a maximum strength zinc tablet – you’ve found it right here!

Each of these easy-to-absorb zinc tablets provides you with 25mg of zinc gluconate to help support your immune system and other bodily functions.

You can also get these supplements in 250-tablet pack size.

Key benefits:

  • One-a-day high potency 25mg zinc supplement
  • Supports multiple body functions, including immunity, fertility and hair, skin and nail health
  • Vegetarian and vegan friendly

What our customers think:

Aj515 – Good for the price!!! – 5/5 stars

“Does what it says on the bottle! Amazing for hair, skin and nails and just overall wellness.”

Effervescent vitamin C and zinc tablets

  1. Holland & Barrett Vitamin C & Zinc Orange Effervescent 20 Tablets

Like a bit of fizz? Now you can enjoy all the benefits of zinc and vitamin C in a tasty orange-flavour effervescent tablet!

They also come in blackcurrant flavour if you fancy that.

Key benefits:

  • Contains 15mg of zinc and 1000mg of vitamin C with a fresh orange taste
  • Supports the immune system, iron absorption, collagen synthesis and energy-yielding metabolism
  • Easy to take (especially if you hate taking tablets) and suitable for vegans

What our customers think:

Grampian Phil – Just the tonic – 5/5 stars

“Brilliant Vitamin C and Zinc tabs, refreshing and just the tonic.”

Zinc and copper supplements

  1. Holland & Barrett High Strength Chelated Zinc 15mg With Copper, 120 Tablets​​​​​​​

Get two essential minerals for the price of one with these handy tablets!

Each tablet contains 15mg of high strength chelated zinc with an extra dash of copper.

Key benefits:

  • Get all the benefits of zinc and copper in a handy one-a-day tablet
  • They work together to support hair, skin, nails, immunity and more
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

What our customers think:

Onestepahead – A useful addition to my ‘wellness’ toolkit! – 5/5 stars

“I find these easy to take - I do in fact take them every other day, 'leap frogging' with the Vegan multivitamins. Works for me!”

Katie8 – Good value buy – 5/5 stars

“I wanted a new product to replace the zinc tablets I had been using, which were really expensive. These chelated zinc tablets are high quality and just as easy to use as my old ones, but they are much cheaper. I think they are great value and I'm going to stick to buying this brand in future.”

Calcium zinc and magnesium supplement

  1. Holland & Barrett Calcium Magnesium & Zinc, 250 Caplets

Name a better trio of essential minerals for your health!

These handy caplets provide you with the zinc, magnesium and calcium you need to look after your whole body.

This combination of minerals can help you maintain normal bones and muscles, reduce tiredness and fatigue, keep your nervous system functioning healthily, and more.

Key benefits:

  • A combination of three essential minerals – zinc, magnesium, and calcium
  • Contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, muscle function, and more
  • Suitable for vegans and vegetarians

Customer reviews:

Hastoberight – Vegan Calcium Plus Tablets – 5/5 stars

“I bought because they are Vegan. Excellent product everything I need.”

Magnesium and zinc tablets

  1. Holland & Barrett Magnesium with Zinc, 100 Tablets

What a combo! These magnesium and zinc tablets bring two of the most important essential minerals into one easy-to-take supplement.

They work together to help reduce tiredness and fatigue, support the nervous system, immune system, fertility, and more.

Key benefits:

  • High quality magnesium and zinc in one handy tablet
  • Helps support the immune system, bones, muscles, and more.
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

What our customers think:

Tracie01 - Value for money - 5/5 stars

"Great value for money, stocked up on them while the deal was on"

Zinc and magnesium tablets for skin, hair and nails

  1. H&B Expert Multi Action Skin, Hair & Nails

Want to make sure your hair, skin and nails are always in tip-top condition?

This zinc supplement with other nutrients like vitamin C and biotin all come together to help you feel your best, most radiant self!

Key benefits:

  • A high strength essential vitamin and minerals blend plus SkinAx2™ - a clinically Studied multi-nutrient blend
  • Contains SkinAx2™ to improve skin radiance, luminosity, and elasticity
  • Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen production and Zinc contribute to normal skin

The final say

  • Zinc is an essential mineral that is essential to many body functions
  • Men, women and children need different amounts of zinc per day
  • Red meat, shellfish, beans, fortified foods, dairy and some vegetables are good sources of zinc
  • Zinc plays a different role in male and female bodies
  • It’s important for children’s growth and development

Handpicked content: Why take zinc supplements? 

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 13 September 2021



Author: Bhupesh PanchalSenior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: Apr 2019

Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry

Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.

After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.

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