For some essential vitamins and minerals, the human body normally has the capacity to either store excess quantities or excrete them through urine. The human body unfortunately has no storage mechanism for zinc. Although the benefits of proper zinc intake or supplementation have been shown time and time again, there is such a thing as zinc overdose or zinc poisoning/toxicity. Your whole body contains on average around 2 to 3 grams of zinc, which is very small so we don’t want to go crazy on that mineral. Before popping a couple pills each morning before you go to work, make sure you know the right dosage. Not only will it be beneficial for your health but for your wallet as well!
What is the proper daily dosage of zinc
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc is around 11 mg/day for men and 8 mg/day for women (12 mg/day for breastfeeding women). In other words, that means your digestive system should absorb no more than 12 mg/day, all sources of food, beverages, water and supplement pills and powders confounded. And I really mean absorb because not everything is digested perfectly, depending on dietary factors, the performance of your digestive system and the type of food or supplement containing desired zinc. Certain foods and other supplements can help optimal absorption of zinc in your body so 12 milligrams in your stomach does not equal 12 mg circulating through your body.
***Check out dietandfitnesstoday for more info on recommended Zn intake.
If you eat enough of the natural foods containing zinc (beef, lamb, pork, whole grains, oysters, milk, salmon and many others), you should have sufficient levels of zinc in your body. Considering that mild zinc deficiency is common in north america, that probably means we either :
- Don’t eat natural foods containing high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants;
- Don’t eat the right foods;
- Don’t have a properly functioning digestive system.
There are many ways to check in you are zinc deficient and if such is the case you might want to explore the possibility of zinc supplementation.
The recommended dose of Zn supplement
Ok so you’ve decided you need to take some zinc supplements. Now how much do we need to take daily? Remember what we said about absorption rates and the recommended daily allowance : not all of the elemental zinc going to your stomach will end up in your body. As an example, a popular type of Zn supplement called zinc sulfate only provides a 23% absorption rate. That means if you ingested a 50mg capsule of that supplement, you would only be effectively getting 11.5 mg to your body. Pure coincidence, that would be exactly the amount you need.
Most other forms of this supplement, even the best types, will provide an absorption rate of 25%, so 50mg a day in the pill or capsule form is all you need really. Combined with the natural zinc you will getting from cereal, meat and diary, you should aim for no more than 35g/day coming from a supplements source.
Often times Zn supplements are sold in 50mg or 100mg capsules so make sure you cut them in half or appropriately before ingesting. It is not a good idea to take 100mg every other day thinking you will get the right RDA anyway because higher doses can cause stomach upset and other problems. Also read why your body leaks zinc.
- Recommended daily allowance (RDA) of around 11 mg/day for men and 8 mg/day for women;
- Ideal dosage of 35 mg/day coming from Zn supplements, considering absorption rates around 25%. Combined with natural Zn sources in food you get the optimal amount;
- Zinc dosage must be taken seriously as overdosing causes serious side effects, due to the inability of your body to eliminate excess quantities.