There are plenty of zinc supplements out there, and while many are acceptable, I don’t recommend using zinc oxide or zinc picolinate. People are often surprised that I recommend against picolinate. So, in this episode, I explain why.

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15 Comments

  1. You have created the false premise that a sustained rise in plasma zinc is required to confirm zinc picolinate utilization. Rises in Plasma Zinc are irrelevant. You want to look for changes in metallothionein. Would you promote a calcium supplement based on it’s ability to raise plasma calcium? Plasma metals are tightly controlled and highly regulated by homeostasis.

    It’s hard to imagine that the picolinate form of zinc outperforms the others in RBC and serum status but is somehow under-performing systemically. Hard proof should be required before such an assertion is made. Especially when you have given no evidence that other zinc forms do any better at raising plasma zinc status. Or, that raising plasma zinc is even an important consideration.

    This is how quackery spreads. Someone with influence postulates an unfounded theory and then internet marketers spread the idea as a newly discovered fact.

    Zinc Picolinate is a great supplement if you have problems with your vision, taste and smell, and/or or your sexual functioning and fertility.

  2. Hi Chris, thank you for posting this. I, too, was wondering why you recommend against zinc picolinate.

  3. How do you explain the overwhelmingly positive reviews for zinc picolinate supplements? Mass placebo effect? I hear ya on zinc acetate and gluconate having the clinical backing for preventing colds… I see that from the literature. I’m just wondering for other uses (reproductive health, skin health, testosterone levels, etc etc), do you still favor acetate and gluconate over picolinate? Thx Chris

  4. In all respect, I honestly think you have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about. I see a bunch of “I don’t know’s” in your comments, if you don’t know the answer to simple questions like that then you have absolutely no right to be giving misinformation about zinc. And you say you have a PhD? HA! Okay buddy. Zinc picolinate is FINE. It actually absorbs better than any other zinc supplement. Please stop spreading false statements.

    – From the daughter of a nutritional expert

    1. How rude. Did you even watch/listen to the video? Chris is obviously questioning whether a study that shows an increase in zinc in urine, hair, and red blood cells after supplemental zinc picolinate is sufficient evidence that beneficial zinc absorption (where it counts-plasma) has occurred. He shows another study that indicates that picolinates might bind too tightly with zinc and might actually cause negative net zinc to occur overall.
      Really, someone who doesn’t know the answers to someones questions makes them guilty of misrepresentation? Hey daughter of a nutritional expert, I applaud Chris for realizing he doesn’t know everything and that he’ll probably look into it if it’s worth his time and effort to advance his understanding of the topic.

      1. I wish people would stop defending those who should be defending themselves. That you are offended by a comment addressed to someone else is ludicrous.

  5. The study, published in the journal Agents Actions, found that zinc picolinate had better absorption in test subjects than either zinc citrate or zinc gluconate. In fact, after a four-week period the study found a significant increase in zinc levels in the group that had received a zinc picolinate supplement, compared to no significance chance in zinc levels for the test subjects that received zinc citrate, zinc gluconate or a placebo supplement.

    1. The study mentioned, from the late 80’s, shows increased amounts of zinc in hair, urine and red blood cells, but please note that Chris is examining whether this warrants concluding that there is better absorption of zinc
      in the body where it counts- the plasma, after zinc picolinate supplementation.

  6. When your studies showed excess zinc picolonate coming out in hair and urine do you thing there could be any benefit to being concentrated in those locales? For example: Making hair stronger, regrowing hair, or maybe a decreased chance of urinary tract infections? My understanding of the main benefits of taking zinc is that it can help the body repair itself and also make membrane walls “slippery” in a way so that it’s difficult for common viruses to attach. I lost my sense of taste after a tonsillectomy and over a month after surgery my doc thought it should have returned after two follow up appointments. He said it might be permanent and the only thing I could do was take zinc supplements. When I went to the store all they had was zinc picolinate. I took that daily and my sense of taste returned! I take zinc now (without picolinate) when I feel a cold coming on or feel run down. So for my sense of taste the zinc picolinate worked but I understand you’re saying that it might not be as effective as zinc alone?

    1. I don’t know. It’s conceivable, but I’d want to see some research demonstrating that. It makes little sense to me that zinc, not freed from the picolinate, would have any benefit. I’m not saying zinc picolinate has no benefit at all, just that it’s less effective than other forms of zinc.

  7. What about chromium picolinate, does it bind as hard to chromium as to zinc? Or will it let go of the chromium and instead find some zinc in the body to bind to? I have a bottle of chromium picolinate. Should I just throw it away?

  8. Years back I had an “Organic Acids Test” and it showed low pincolinate and omega 3 dominance. I was eating sardines twice per week and a can of wild salmon per week and taking a high dose liquid fish oil. Now I just eat the fish and a little supplement. It was suggested that low zinc and high O3 caused the pincolinate problem which had brain consequences. It could have been that high O3 reduced zinc and pincolinate. I started taking zin-pincolinate but now the zinc and copper just like you suggest. Think I still have the facts straight and possibly show a reason for supplementing with Z-P.

  9. Is it safe to assume that picolinate may also decrease plasma copper levels as well since it is a mineral that competes with zinc and behaves similarly to zinc?

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