Blogging about vitamins, it doesn’t sound very exciting. But we’re living in an era were health is more in focus. In my 40s now, I’m not taking health for granted. That said, this is just my opinion and you should do your own research.
Zinc wasn’t on my radar until 2020 when many doctors started extolling the benefits of zinc. By now you heard that zinc slows the reproduction of viruses. And Zinc is not super hard to find. Back in 2020, seems like most people focused on the tricky “ionophore” aspect of killing viruses. Here’s a random video I pulled out of DuckDuckGo on that topic. This doctor is not out on a limb, there’s 100s of doctors saying the same thing.
Like a lot of people in 2020, I went down the HCQ rabbit hole, which led me down the “tree bark” rabbit hole. I won’t go into specifics, because I don’t think it’s that important. To be clear, I’m not talking about a cure for any particular virus. I’m talking about overall health. To say it simply, zinc probably works better with an ionophore. And it turns out, ionophores (via quercetin) aren’t super hard to find in food.
As the above doctor mentions, you can use red onions as an ionophore. By chance, I cook and eat onions almost every day, and recently added them to my garden. And now that I know red onions have more ionophores, I’m always buying red onions instead of white onions. They taste and cost almost the same. Why not buy or grow red ones? Of course there are other sources of ionophores, but for me onions and citrus seem the best way to go, at least for my palate.
As far as eating red onions, I often cook them in the morning with my eggs. And they go well with just about any kind of meat. In fact, right now I’m eating some soup with red onions, vegetables and seafood.
Regardless, I think this new and exotic “hunt for ionophores” led us astray from the importance of getting zinc right. Maybe you checked your multivitamin and it said “100% DV Zinc.” No problem, right? Well, it seems most multivitamins use zinc oxide, and every expert I find on this topic says zinc oxide is not very effective. Personally, I have been taking zinc gluconate since 2020, which leads us to another tricky topic.
Elemental Zinc & Absorption
Let’s say you’re taking a 50mg zinc gluconate vitamin. From what I can tell, this is a common, affordable serving. Is that enough? If you’re reading random online comments, people will warn you, “That’s more than recommended! You’re taking too much!” Personally, I ignore those people. The “daily value %” is confusing and misleading because:
1. I believe it’s a minimum recommendation. Surviving versus thriving. The FDA website doesn’t mention sex, height, weight or age in the “daily value” calculation.
2. I believe the recommended value is based on an “elemental” measurement. So 50mg of zinc gluconate is not the same as 50mg of elemental zinc. It’s an apples to oranges comparison. Deliberately misleading? I’m not sure, but annoying nonetheless.
How much zinc gluconate do you need, or want? From what I can gather from various experts, it sounds like your body can only absorb about around 7mg of zinc at a time. In other words, I’m not fussing over the math too much, because the end result of the calculation is just going to be the amount of zinc your body can absorb. Is that enough? It’s probably enough to survive. But what if you want more than 7mg? Two ideas…
1. Wait some hours. From what I’m hearing, sounds like you can wait some hours (5 hours?) and then your body can absorb more zinc. Is an empty stomach better? Supposedly that’s beneficial, but I’m skeptical. The first time I took zinc gluconate, I felt queasy. So I cut my dose in half. In retrospect, I think that was unnecessary because the queasy feeling went away. Now I take the same 50mg zinc gluconate daily without a problem. What happened? Was my stomach upset due to a copper deficiency? Or was my body not familiar with so much zinc? What do you think?
2. Choose a zinc that absorbs better. I recently purchased some bottles of zinc citrate. Supposedly zinc citrate absorbs a little better than zinc gluconate. I’m not complaining about zinc gluconate, but I figure why not try the zinc citrate? Variety is the spice of life. Maybe I’ll take a zinc citrate in the morning and a zinc gluconate at night? (If there’s any interest, I’ll do a comparison video.)
Looking back, maybe I spent too much time thinking about ionophores and missed the more important thing: getting enough zinc. Zinc is not just for viruses, it’s critically important for all kinds of bodily functions.
What else is tricky about zinc? For zinc to work better, you probably need other vitamins present (watch the video below) like Vitamins C, D and Magnesium. And there are zinc inhibitors. Coffee and foods with phytates? That might be worth some further research too.
Questions or comments?
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