How Much Zinc Should I Take? (Considerations for Women) 

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How much zinc you should take varies based on age, overall health, and whether you are pregnant or nursing. Its benefits for immune system health are well-studied, but for women, it’s also vital to hormone regulation, healthy skin, improved mood, and fetal development.

Recommended Daily Dosages of Zinc for Women

The Office of Dietary Supplements from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends the following minimum daily dosages of zinc for infants, adolescents, and adult women:

  • Infants-Children up to 3: 2-3 mg/day
  • Children 4-8: 5 mg/day
  • Children 9-13: 8 mg/day
  • Teenage girls 14-18: 9 mg/day
  • Women 19 and older: 8 mg/day
  • Pregnant teenagers: 12 mg/day
  • Pregnant women: 11 mg/day
  • Breastfeeding teenagers: 13 mg/day
  • Breastfeeding women: 12 mg/day

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adult men is 11 mg/day. RDAs are primarily established to prevent deficiency. Many individuals may benefit from taking a higher amount than the RDA. 

If you’re using zinc lozenges to treat the common cold, starting around 80 mg/day split over several doses at the onset of cold symptoms is a good benchmark for women. Return your zinc intake to recommended levels once symptoms have subsided.

The recommended upper limit of zinc for healthy women is 40 mg/day. That includes zinc supplements, diet-based sources of zinc, and multivitamins with zinc. Excess zinc can cause digestive issues and affect iron and copper levels in the body. 

We should note here that both zinc deficiency and zinc toxicity are linked to anemia in women. Finding the right amount of zinc to meet your needs is important. Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure where to start, especially if you’re on antibiotics, diuretics, or other medications. 

Some forms of zinc, like zinc sulfate, may make medications like penicillamine (for Wilson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis) less effective.

Visit the PrimeHealth store for a medical grade, third-party tested, evidence-based zinc supplement you can trust.

Health Benefits of Zinc

Supplemental zinc is essential to immune system health for anyone lacking zinc. For women, adequate zinc is even more important during pregnancy for healthy fetal growth and development. Let’s take a look at the evidence-based benefits of zinc for women in more detail:

  • Hormonal Health: Zinc plays an important role in your endocrine system, or the glands and tissues that regulate hormones. Zinc supports balanced hormones, a healthy thyroid, and may even reduce symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Fetal Development: Zinc plays a role in healthy ovulation, but it’s even more essential during pregnancy. Zinc deficiency in pregnant women is linked to low birth weight, birth defects, and intrauterine infections. 
  • Skin Health: Antioxidant properties in zinc protect against UV radiation, reduce existing damage, and support skin integrity and collagen synthesis. Oral zinc and zinc oxide topical creams may also offer some protection against skin irritation and acne. 
  • Hair & Nail Health: Adequate levels of zinc are important for strong, healthy hair and nails. Clinical trials and research studies show there is also a correlation between low levels of zinc and conditions like alopecia. 
  • Mood Regulation: Zinc’s link to hormone regulation affects feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Zinc supplementation may support improved outcomes in women with mood disorders and conditions like depression and anxiety.
  • Immune System Support: Zinc is essential to the production of immune cells that fight against infection. Supplementing with vitamin C can support zinc absorption and boost your immune system.
  • Vision Health: Zinc’s anti-inflammatory effects extend to your eyes, too. Zinc supplementation supports retinal health and may reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Bone Density: Low zinc may put postmenopausal women at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Studies show zinc, calcium, and vitamin D are all essential to bone health, particularly as women age. 

Women Who May Most Benefit from Zinc

Zinc deficiencies aren’t very common in the United States, but some groups are at a higher risk. That includes women with a poor diet, the elderly, and women with gut conditions and health issues that limit the absorption of essential nutrients.

Malabsorption can be caused by food intolerances, chronic infections, and inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. 

And while many people don’t have zinc deficiencies, it’s very common for people to not get enough zinc on a daily basis.

Vegans and vegetarians are also at higher risk for low zinc, as the best food sources of zinc are animal proteins like red meat, poultry, and dairy products. Legumes and whole grains are also good sources of zinc, but not as bioavailable as animal-based sources.

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Signs of Zinc Deficiency

Signs of a zinc deficiency include:

  • Inflammation
  • Hair loss
  • Vision loss or blurry vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Slow wound healing
  • Skin issues, e.g., frequent rashes
  • Fatigue and brain fog
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reduced sense of taste and sense of smell
  • Mood changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood sugar fluctuations 

Women with a zinc deficiency may also be at higher risk for urinary tract infections and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Choosing Quality Zinc Supplements

Zinc can come in a few different formulas and types. Zinc acetate, zinc glycinate, zinc gluconate, and zinc citrate are the most common types of elemental zinc available in drugstores. In general, types of zinc have similar properties and effects.

It’s most important to start with the label. Look for supplements with minimal additives. Some combine zinc with nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium for immune system support. Research each ingredient.

Zinc also comes in different forms. If you’re fighting a cold, zinc lozenges are usually the easiest to find and get in your system, but any zinc supplement may help. Topical creams are good for skin concerns. Capsules, liquid drops, syrups, and nose swabs all meet different needs for zinc. 

Exercise extra caution with nasal sprays containing zinc. This form of zinc has been linked to a reduced sense of smell in some.


Is 50mg of zinc too much for a woman?

50 mg of zinc regularly is too much for a woman. The recommended upper limit is 40 mg/day. Higher levels of zinc may be warranted for short-term use at the start of cold symptoms.

What does zinc do for the female body?

Zinc has several positive benefits for the female body. It supports immune function, hormonal balance, and healthy skin and hair. It’s also vital during pregnancy and breastfeeding for fetal growth and development.

What are the side effects of too much zinc?

The side effects of too much zinc include nausea, diarrhea, and a bad taste in your mouth. Long-term high doses of zinc can lead to zinc toxicity and put you at a higher risk for an iron or copper deficiency.  

Do I need to take a zinc supplement?

You may need to take a zinc supplement if you’re not getting enough zinc in your diet or have a health condition that affects zinc absorption. You may also want to use a supplement at the beginning stages of a cold.

What are the symptoms of zinc deficiency?

Symptoms of zinc deficiency include hair and skin changes, vision problems, weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue, and a weakened immune system. 

Is dietary zinc protective for type 2 diabetes?

Some research shows that dietary zinc may be protective against type 2 diabetes, especially in women. Systematic reviews show it positively affects glucose levels, enzyme regulation, blood pressure, and cholesterol in patients with diabetes and cardiovascular concerns.

How much zinc should a woman take daily for optimal health?

A healthy adult woman should get at least 8 mg/day of zinc daily for optimal health. Extra zinc may be necessary, especially if you have a zinc deficiency or want to shorten the duration of cold symptoms.

Discuss Zinc With Your Healthcare Provider

Getting enough zinc is essential to overall wellness. If you’re worried about your levels of zinc or the effects of zinc on existing medications, talk to your doctor. They can help you with the proper form and dosage.

If you’re ready for a high-quality supplement, check out PrimeHealth’s marketplace. Our supplements are medical grade, third-party tested, and research-backed to support your long-term health goals and help you feel your best!


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