When it comes to nutritional supplements, zinc often takes a backseat to more popular options like vitamin C, vitamin D, or omega-3 fatty acids.
However, recent research suggests that the timing of zinc consumption may play a crucial role in maximizing its benefits. In particular, taking zinc on an empty stomach can enhance its absorption and effectiveness in the body.
In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why taking zinc on an empty stomach is more important than you may think, shedding light on its potential health benefits and the best practices for incorporating it into your daily routine.
What is zinc, anyway?
Zinc is a very important mineral that your body needs for several reasons. There are approximately 100 enzymes in your body that rely on zinc to help them function properly. It has a significant role in the creation of DNA, healing in the body, and supporting your immune system.
Why is zinc so important to consume?
Its significant role in so many different fundamental bodily functions means the consequences of not getting enough zinc can be difficult. It would take a textbook to get into all of the roles that zinc serves, but here are some of the things that can happen when someone is zinc deficient:
- Poor appetite
- Loss of taste and smell
- Weakened immune system
- Slower wound healing
- Hair loss
If you’d like to avoid these signs of zinc deficiency, you’ll need to ensure you are consuming zinc daily because your body does not store it. Your body uses what you consume – assuming it’s bioavailable – and then it needs more the next day.
Vegans and women that are pregnant or breast feeding are at an increased risk of zinc deficiency.
We get most of our zinc through meat, so vegans are at a disadvantage with zinc consumption because their diet contains less zinc, and the bioavailability of zinc from plants is lower than zinc from meat.
I know this can be a sensitive topic for folks passionate about a vegan diet, so to be clear, this is not simply my opinion about zinc availability. The smart folks at Harvard are the ones that educated me on the topic – link to the article written by people much smarter than me.
For women that are pregnant or nursing, you are naturally losing nutrients – including zinc – to your baby as it grows. So the demand on your body increases, and you need more of a lot of things, not just zinc. There are also some nutrients competing with each other in some circumstances.
It’s not uncommon for moms to give their kids cow milk. Cow’s milk has higher amounts of calcium and phosphorus that actually reduce zinc absorption. This is why it can be less than straight forward to get all of your daily nutrients from a good balanced diet. Also why it’s important to not lose sight of zinc as an essential nutrient.
Fortunately, zinc is found in a lot of the foods we eat, and our bodies don’t need a large amount to be sufficient.
What blocks zinc absorption?
To be able to reap the benefits of zinc supplementation, you can’t avoid considering absorption and bioavailability. The bioavailability of a nutrient refers to the extent to which it is absorbed and utilized by the body. You may consume zinc, but if it isn’t absorbed or available to be absorbed, then did you even consume it?
In the case of zinc, its bioavailability can be influenced by several factors, including the presence of certain dietary components and the timing of consumption.
Absorption advantage of taking zinc on an empty stomach
So what happens when you take zinc on an empty stomach?
Taking zinc on an empty stomach offers several advantages when it comes to its absorption. When consumed without other food or supplements, zinc can be more readily absorbed by the small intestine. This is because other nutrients, such as calcium and iron, can hinder zinc absorption when consumed together. By taking zinc on an empty stomach, you minimize the potential interactions with other substances and allow for optimal absorption.
By taking your zinc supplement with other food and supplements, you run the risk of not absorbing ANY of the zinc you just consumed. It can be difficult to know exactly what your body is absorbing, so you’re better off giving yourself more opportunities to absorb nutrients, rather than blocking them.
Recommended Zinc Intake Level
There are daily intake recommendations for different ages and types of people, generally between 10 milligrams and 30 milligrams per day. If you exceed the tolerable upper intake levels, you start to cause deficiencies of other essential nutrients, like copper.
Based on advice from the Linus Pauling Institute, 40 milligrams per day is the general upper threshold for adults. Unlike vitamin C, you don’t want to just take thousands of percent of your daily recommend amount.
You may not even need to supplement with zinc, depending on your diet. Once you’ve consulted with a healthcare professional and decided zinc supplementation is right for you, anywhere between 10 and 30 milligrams per day is probably a good amount to take.
Study Highlight: Zinc for Cold Prevention
A notable study published in the Cochrane Review examined the effects of zinc supplementation on the prevention and treatment of the common cold. The findings indicated that taking zinc within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms can reduce the duration and severity of the illness.
Results get even better with consistent supplementation over an extended period of time. School absenteeism, prescriptions of antibiotics, and cold incidences in general are all reduced.
Why do I feel sick after taking zinc?
Not all vitamins and nutrients come with potential side effects, but zinc actually does. Large doses might cause any of the following, depending on amount consumed:
- Sore throat
Consistent excessive intake can lead to even more serious side effects, so it’s important to pay attention to how much you are consuming if you are supplementing with zinc. If you experience any of these side effects it’s important to discontinue your supplementation and seek guidance from your healthcare professional.
Looking to Add Zinc to Your Routine? Armor Up!
Once you’ve done your homework and made the decision to incorporate zinc into your natural wellness routine, you’ll want to figure out the right supplement for you. Just that simple… right?
*searches “zinc” on popular shopping website*
Yeah… there’s a lot of options out there. Some options are very inexpensive. Some options have other ingredients. So what’s what here?
Excuse my bias, but our Life Leaf Remedies Immune Armor formula that took 4 years of rigorous R&D, is a pretty well-rounded option. Each serving contains a safe 30 milligrams of zinc combined with vitamin C, vitamin D, quercetin complex, cordyceps, bromelain, and 30 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD). What we found through our years of research and development of this formula, is that these specific ingredients have a particular entourage effect that helps them work better together than individually.
Not only are you getting a safe and effective amount of zinc, but you are getting a cocktail of immune supporting nutrients that act as a shield of defense for your body.
Are there other benefits? Absolutely. You can’t consume that much good stuff without doing some other good things for yourself. Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.
Feel better today, y’all!