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What Is Zinc Picolinate?

author image Allison Adams
Allison Adams has worked as a registered dietitian since 1996. She began writing professionally in 2000, with work featured in a variety of medical publications such as "Women's Health Magazine" and the "New England Journal of Medicine." Adams holds a Master of Science in nutrition and food sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
What Is Zinc Picolinate?
Dietary supplements in a glass. Photo Credit: thelefty/iStock/Getty Images

Zinc is one of the trace minerals that your body requires to maintain optimal health. Even though zinc is an abundant mineral, you can suffer from a zinc deficiency. If you have a zinc deficiency, doctors will typically recommend zinc supplements that support absorption by your body. Zinc picolinate is a type of zinc supplement that supports absorption. However, you should consult a medical professional prior to taking any zinc picolinate supplement.

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Picolinic Acid and Absorption

Zinc picolinate is an acid form of zinc that your human body can more easily absorb than other forms of zinc. Absorption of zinc in your body is a complex process that involves the zinc passing through your intestinal membranes, into your blood stream and into your individual cells. Your body also requires zinc as a primary component to support metabolism in your body.

Comparing Absorption Rates

In a study designed to measure the comparative absorption rates of different forms of zinc, scientists measured zinc levels in test subjects hair, skin and urine since these areas contain the largest concentrations of zinc in the human body. The study published in the June 1987 Agents Actions found that zinc picolinate had better absorption in test subjects than either zinc citrate or zinc gluconate. In fact, the study found a five fold increase of zinc levels after a four week period in test subjects given a zinc picolinate supplement compared to the test subjects receiving other types of zinc supplements.

What It’s Good For

According to “The Doctor’s Complete Guide to Vitamins and Minerals,” Zinc picolinate supplementation can help to control acne and also functions as a general immune booster. Zinc picolinate can also help your body to rid itself of many types of toxins and doctors commonly recommend this supplement to treat exposure to lead. Doctors also commonly recommend zinc picolinate to pregnant women, since pregnancy can result in a zinc deficiency for many women and a pregnant woman’s body requires zinc for the proper development of her fetus. Additionally, zinc picolinate can help prevent and treat prostate enlargement, liver disease and cirrhosis.

No Side Effects for the Right Amount

Zinc picolinate does not have any known side effects associated with taking a normal dose of this supplement. However, you should never exceed the amount of zinc picolinate recommended by a medical professional. According to “Handbook of Minerals as Nutritional Supplements,” the recommended dose of zinc picolinate is 11 mg per day. Exceeding this amount, unless under doctor supervision, risks exposing your body to zinc toxicity which can prevent iron and copper absorption, causing a deficiency of those minerals.

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