Question: Are there any solutions to getting nauseated from zinc supplements even at low doses and even when the zinc comes as oysters?
With the zinc, my general recommendation is to take zinc on an empty stomach. The thing that is not controversial is that phytate is the principal inhibitor of zinc absorption. Phytate is found in whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. I think there's a very broad agreement across the zinc research community that taking zinc not with a meal that contains whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes is going to lead to higher zinc absorption.
Then there's some controversy. Does it matter whether the zinc is on an empty stomach compared to a phytate-free meal, which would be a meal that doesn't have any whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes? Because there's a gray area there, I say if you can, take it on an empty stomach. If you can't, take it with a phytate-free meal.
Generally, it's the case that if someone takes 15 milligrams of zinc with a full glass of water, they are very unlikely to get nauseated from it. Whereas if almost anyone takes 50 milligrams of zinc with a full glass of water on an empty stomach, they're almost definitely going to get nauseated from it. I would get nauseated from it.
Taking the low dose should allow you to take it on an empty stomach, but for some people, they do get nauseated even taking only 15 milligrams on an empty stomach. Well, you have two options. The ideal thing would be figure out the lowest amount of food that it takes to.
If you eat the oyster at the end of a phytate-free meal, is it still making you sick? If so, I don't think that's the zinc. I think it's something else. And your digestive system might not be up to the task of eating oysters right now at this moment. But if at the end of a phytate-free meal if you can fit in one or two oysters and it doesn't make you nauseated at all, then I think that's great. Oysters are probably the ideal zinc supplement if you can get them in. A couple of oysters a day goes a long way to getting your zinc in.
This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/09/06/ask-anything-nutrition-march-8-2019
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