Zinc is a well-known mineral, that has been harnessed for good health since ancient times. However if I asked you ‘what is zinc citrate?’ and ‘how does it benefit you?’, I wouldn’t be surprised if you couldn’t exactly spell it out for me.
Maybe you could tell me that zinc is good for the immune system, often in combination with high dose vitamin C. Maybe you know that it can help prevent acne and that it’s popular among male athletes and bodybuilders to help maintain healthy testosterone levels (often alongside selenium, vitamin A and vitamin D).
But did you know it can also help protect the retina in your eye, has shown promise for treating HIV/Aids, and depression too?
Don’t worry, I get it. There’s so much information around, it can be hard to take it all in.
I’m happy to break it down for you, so the next time you’re asked, “what is zinc citrate?” You’ll know why it’s such a good thing for your body.
But first, a little about the history of this amazing mineral.
The benefits of zinc have been known for thousands of years. In fact, zinc supplements have been around since 140 BC when a form of zinc was made into pills and given to people with sore eyes. These rudimentary zinc tablets were found on an ancient Roman shipwreck!
However, it wasn’t until 1961 that scientists made the connection between diets high in phytic acid (a plant chemical that blocks the absorption of zinc) and dwarfism.
This was when it was discovered that zinc is essential for growth, development, healthy immune function and offers a buffet of benefits for the human body.
Zinc is most concentrated in the brain, muscles, bones, kidneys, and liver, with the highest levels found in the prostate and parts of the eye.
Outside the body, for industrial and commercial purposes, zinc is found in everything from sunscreen to nuclear reactors.
What is Zinc Citrate’s Effect On The Body?
Zinc citrate is a type of zinc that is considered more bioavailable compared to other forms.
Studies have found that zinc citrate is equal in effectiveness to zinc gluconate, and more bioavailable and effective than zinc oxide.
Zinc (and zinc citrate) works in the body in three main ways:
1.As a catalyst or cofactor - needed for chemical reactions
2.As a building material - to create proteins and healthy cell membranes
3.As a regulator - ensuring DNA is copied without errors, genes are expressed properly and cells signal to each other correctly
It’s a busy mineral!
Because of this, zinc is linked to a wide range of bodily functions, but is best known for:
✔ Growth and development - for babies, kids and adults.
✔ Immune function
✔ Skin health and tissue healing
✔ Proper senses such as taste, sight and smell
✔ Fertility, pregnancy and the function of reproductive organs
✔ Hormonal and metabolic health
What Is Zinc Citrate’s Therapeutic Role?
Zinc and zinc citrate may be used therapeutically for:
→ Colds and flu
Immune cells rely on zinc to grow, develop and function effectively, especially T cells and natural killer cells. Zinc supplements may reduce the duration of colds and flu, as well as prevent their recurrence - zinc lozenges are famous in this arena!
→ Preventing macular degeneration
Zinc is found in high concentrations in the eye, working with vitamin A to create melanin - a pigment that protects the macula (part of the retina).
Zinc is commonly deficient in diabetics. Supplementation may promote healthy insulin levels, plus provide anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular and immune support.
Thanks to the vital role of zinc in maintaining healthy immunity, it has shown promise for treating and improving the symptoms of HIV/AIDS.
→ Healthy ageing
Zinc has an indirect antioxidant effect, helping to preserve skin, muscle and brain health as we age.
→ Wound healing
Zinc speeds up the healing process after injury.
→ Increased testosterone
Zinc boosts testosterone levels and maintains them, even in the presence of prolonged exercise (which can tend to deplete circulating hormone levels).
→ Male reproductive health
Zinc is vital for the health and function of the prostate gland. It has been shown to increase sperm count and boost male fertility.
→ Treating depression
Zinc deficiency is associated with mood disorders, and supplementation appears to benefit people with depression.
→ Treating and preventing gastrointestinal disease
Zinc has been shown to reduce the duration of, and speed up recovery from, gastrointestinal illness - such as diarrhea and food-borne pathogens.
→ Improving acne
Zinc may help combat acne in a number of different ways including improved immune function, decreased inflammation, tissue repair and an antibiotic-like effect. Studies support this.
→ Reducing inflammation and oxidative damage
Some studies show that zinc can reduce C-Reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), prevent the oxidation of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and other pro-inflammatory chemicals. This may be helpful for those at risk of cardiovascular disease.
→ Thyroid function
Zinc helps maintain healthy levels of thyroid hormone - both T3 and T4.
Other possible benefits of zinc supplementation include improved liver health, for treating tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and reducing body weight (only when people are experiencing zinc deficiency).
So what is the best way to enjoy the benefits of zinc citrate?
The generally accepted dosage for zinc is 50 mg per day (of elemental zinc) for adults. This is equivalent to 146 mg of zinc citrate.
Sometimes, zinc is ‘superloaded’ in cases of deficiency, with higher doses of 100 mg taken in the short term.
However can sometimes cause nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms in sensitive individuals.
Nutrient interactions exist between zinc and iron, calcium and magnesium. Why? They’re all absorbed via the same ‘transporter’ pathway, and compete to get through. Taking these minerals separately, or together in low doses, is best.
What Is Zinc Citrate’s Role In Athletic Greens?
Zinc has been associated with better health since 140 BC, and the body of evidence for its benefits continues to grow.
Strongly associated with improved immunity, skin and tissue repair, fertility, diabetes, healthy growth and development for babies - and beyond - zinc citrate is a reliable, safe and effective supplement.
We’ve included zinc citrate in Athletic Greens because it is such a useful nutrient, and most people do not consume enough. Zinc can be toxic in high doses, so the dose in our Athletic Greens mix is the perfect daily requirement for most people.
On top of all that, zinc citrate works well with a bunch of other ingredients in the mix. It works with vitamins A, C and E as selenium, astragalus, Reishi mushroom and Shiitake mushroom for immune function. It also works well with grapeseed extract and vitamin C for healthy skin and faster wound healing due to enhanced collagen formation.
Now you know all about this incredible mineral, I’m sure you’re in no doubt as to why we’ve included zinc citrate in Athletic Greens. The question should no longer be, “What is zinc citrate,” but “are you getting enough?”