Zinc supplement recommendation : A doctor... - Thyroid UK

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Zinc supplement recommendation

AnneEvo profile image

A doctor suggested taking zinc picolinate; which contains copper; at night but it has made me sick quite a few times so I stopped taking it. I do look to see which foods, including seeds and nuts, contain zinc but don't keep details in my mind - I started eating cashew nuts more often but then forgot about it. If we get sufficient zinc in our diet do we still need to take a copper supplement? Can anyone recommend a different zinc supplement for me to try.

40 Replies

What brand are you currently taking?

AnneEvo profile image
AnneEvo in reply to Imaaan

I'm not taking a zinc supplement. I was taking FSC (Food Supplement Company) As well as zinc picolinate, copper gluconate and copper sulphate, It contains a cellulose bulking agent and has a vegetable cellulose shell plus an anti-caking agent which I think is magnesium stearate. I'm trying to ensure I get enough with diet but I'm doing it in fits and starts. As I said I decided to eat more cashew nuts for instance but then fall by the wayside.

Imaaan profile image
Imaaan in reply to AnneEvo

I've been interchangeably using the brands Genestra and Pure encapsulation for zinc picolinate 30mg. Both are well regarded brands. Also use a separate 2mg copper supplement. I always take it after my lunch.

AnneEvo profile image
AnneEvo in reply to Imaaan

I have never tried taking it after a meal as it was recommended to take it at night. I have wondered if that would make a difference.

Imaaan profile image
Imaaan in reply to AnneEvo

Possibly. It's something to try and hopefully it can help. Iv never taken any supplement without a good amount of food in my system.

Was it recommended to take at night so it wouldn't interfere with thyroid meds?

AnneEvo profile image
AnneEvo in reply to Imaaan

Not specifically. He didn't check when I take levo; I take mine at night. I would have thought he would have said to take it x hours away from levo but perhaps not.

Imaaan profile image
Imaaan in reply to AnneEvo

"Zinc supplements are most effective if they are taken at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. However, if zinc supplements cause stomach upset, they may be taken with a meal."

^^^^ mayoclinic.org/drugs-supple...

If you're not vegan, oysters have high levels of zinc and are abundant in copper.My doc never told me either to keep my food and supplements away from my thyroid when I was diagnosed early on. Go figure, not sure what they are learning in medical school.

AnneEvo profile image
AnneEvo in reply to Imaaan

Thanks. I am vegetarian.

radd profile image
radd in reply to AnneEvo


When diagnosed with hashi some years ago I was zinc deficient and told to supplement zinc on an empty stomach before bed because it can help with sleep issues.

AnneEvo profile image
AnneEvo in reply to radd

The one I was taking, at night, makes me vomit.

Noelnoel profile image
Noelnoel in reply to AnneEvo

I thought I read somewhere that zinc is highly corrosive so it’s advisable to take it with food but don’t quote me because I can’t remember where/when or even if I ever read that but it’s worth a check especially if stomach ulcers are present

radd profile image
radd in reply to Noelnoel

Noelnoel & AnneEvo

Zinc deficiencies are common in hypothyroidism as become low in line with a high TSH. This can induce damage to the gut membrane barrier which makes supplementing zinc tricky.

I supplemented aqueous zinc which was gentler on the stomach & absorbed much quicker. I took it on an empty stomach for better absorption without any problems, even though I was completely deficient having been left with undiagnosed hypothyroidism for many years.

If supplementing zinc makes you feel sick it must be taken with food, which although risks inhibiting the absorption of a small proportion, it allows you to take it more safely. Taking zinc if it makes you feel nauseous risks stomach bleeding and it may be you need to change to a gentler form, ie aqueous zinc.

AnneEvo profile image
AnneEvo in reply to radd

Thanks for that.

If I've understood you correctly, you were taking a pill that contaied both zinc and copper in their normal ratio, is that correct? Zinc and copper do need to be kept balanced. But, the problem is that hypos often have a deficit in one, and too much of the other. You would need to have them both tested to know which was which. Did your doctor do any testing?

If you are low in zinc, and high in copper, taking more copper will make you feel bad. In that case, you would need to take the zinc by itself.

As for zinc and copper in food, yes, in a perfect world it would be ideal to get more from what you eat. But, the problem with being hypo is that you have low stomach acid, so digestion and absorption of nutrients is difficult. Which is why you became deficient in the first place. Until you manage to raise stomach acid levels, you will need supplements, which will give you a larger quantity of the nutrient than you would find in food, which means that you have a better chance of absorbing enough to make up the deficit and optimise your levels. :)

AnneEvo profile image
AnneEvo in reply to greygoose

Thanks. That's what I was thinking - we usually need more than recommended daily amount. From what I've read the dosage seems ok, 30mg zinc, 2mg copper. I wonder if it was the zinc or copper that made me sick, though with the low dose of copper you wouldn't think it was that. I think the best thing is to get zinc and copper levels tested first. Then either try a different brand or try taking it with food.

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to AnneEvo

Getting it tested is the best thing to do, yes.

The dose of copper is low because you don't need much copper, but an over-dose remains an overdose, all the same.

If your copper was high, and your zinc low, then taking more copper will make you ill. Even if it is only a small dose.

If your copper was low, and your zinc high, taking more zinc will make you feel bad. It's not about how big the dose is, it's about how much there already is in your system.

That dosage may be perfectly fine for someone in good health. But, as I explained, you are hypo, and hypos usually have either zinc or copper too low, which means the other one is too high. It's like a seesaw, one goes down, the other goes up. So, you don't want to take both, you want to take the one you are deficient in.

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to greygoose

And it's nothing to do with the brand, either, it's about taking something you don't need. :)

AnneEvo profile image
AnneEvo in reply to greygoose

"It's like a seesaw, one goes down, the other goes up". Oh, I didn't realise that. Thank you.

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to AnneEvo

You're welcome. :)

If you want to increase your stomach acid, then you can get BetaineHCL with Pepsin, aka stomach acid, plus If that's low your probably low in digestive enzymes as well. I use Solgar brand off Amazon there's 3 nutrients needed to make stomach acid Vitamin B1/thiamine, Zinc, and the amino acid Histidine. If you've got high nighttime cortisol. It's best to take the zinc 2-3hrs before bed, zinc lowers cortisol,,helps balance cortisol and thyroid hormones

I did start taking HCL with pepsin but not consistently. I've started taking it more consistently now. I did have cortisol tested once but just a blood test taken once; along with thyroid tests. I think maybe I should do one that tests cortisol throughout the day.

Phil865 profile image
Phil865 in reply to greygoose

I did not know that hypo causes low stomach acid. Thanks for that info. It helps to explain a lot.

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to Phil865

I'm sure it does! :)

jgelliss profile image
jgelliss in reply to greygoose

Thank You Greygoose . Great Information as usual.

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to jgelliss

You're welcome. :)

It definitely makes me nauseous unless I take it with food so I eat something with it.

I am deficient in Zinc. My doctor prescribes Solvazinc 45mg Effervescent tablets. The instructions are to take it after food. This deficiency has been going on for several years. I have various symptoms which include a really dry sore tongue and mouth and various little skin problems. If I take the supplement (and we had to increase it to the maximum of 4 times daily to raise my levels) my Zinc levels eventually climb to the normal range. If I stopped the levels went down again. After advice on here I asked to be tested for Copper. It came back above the normal range. My doctor's reaction was that the test was wrong. In his opinion it was not possible to get too much copper from our diet. After a while I asked for another test for my Zinc levels and, while there, asked for Copper to be tested too. Zinc came back normal but Copper was, again, above the normal range. No one has contacted me from my surgery to discuss those results. I cannot find any thyroid tests among my results. The reason I joined this group is because it often crops up, in research, that my symptoms might be related to thyroid (mostly tiredness). I am under a lot of stress at the moment (serious family illness, self building a bungalow, selling family home) and cannot find it in me to do battle with doctors over getting tested for thyroid. Sorry to hijack this thread but it is, sort of relevant?

Poniesrfun profile image
Poniesrfun in reply to Leaney

You can do self testing with Medichecks (I forget the name of the others) so you don't have to do battle with a doc right now. They are listed here thyroiduk.org/help-and-supp...

based on the copper and dry sore tongue i'd say your iron is low, you can either test it, the ideal, or try some iron for a dew days

Iron deficiency anemia signs and symptoms may include:

Extreme fatigue


Pale skin

Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath

Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness

Cold hands and feet Inflammation or soreness of your tongue

Brittle nails

Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch

Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia

When to see a doctor

If you or your child develops signs and symptoms that suggest iron deficiency anemia, see your doctor. Iron deficiency anemia isn't something to self-diagnose or treat. So see your doctor for a diagnosis rather than taking iron supplements on your own. Overloading the body with iron can be dangerous because excess iron accumulation can damage your liver and cause other complications.

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I take Oxford Vitality brand, a zinc and selenium combo.

I take supplements with both in.Excuse me saying but Dr Stephen Gundry says cashews are toxic to our body and workers must wear gloves and breathing ppe to pick them.

Also peanuts are not a nut they’re a legume and not good for our stomachs.

He says all diseases start in the stomach, even autoimmune and even dementia. Has diet book The Plant Paradox which explains what not/what to eat.

Partner20 profile image
Partner20 in reply to Steve88

Raw cashew nuts contain a toxic substance, which is why those working with them need protection. When they have been cooked, they are safe to eat.

TSH110 profile image
TSH110 in reply to Partner20

I thought they had to be cooked to get them out of their shells so all of them are heat processed

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Steve88

Also peanuts are not a nut they’re a legume and not good for our stomachs.

Yes, agreed that peanuts are legumes. But is that saying all legumes are not good for our stomachs? Or only peanuts?

Also important that people realise things like runner beans are toxic until cooked. (A great pity as their flavour and aroma when raw is far nicer than cooked.)

BrynGlas profile image
BrynGlas in reply to Steve88

Steve88 I am Gundry convert too. He makes a lot of sense.

Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc.

Thanks for all the responses.I only eat roasted cashew nuts.

I didn't know that about runner beans but have never eaten them raw.

I do eat pumpkin seeds.

If it upsets your stomach you simply need to take it with food. Taking anything before bed can cause upset stomach while trying to sleep.

For many years, I have taken a broad based nutritional supplement containing Zinc, Copper, Vit D, B12, and many other nutrients. It does not make nauseous, whereas a Zinc supplement does, even when taken with food as advised. I am not game to try it on an empty stomach.

This is the nutritional panel


It is available in UK - Reliv.co.uk

AnneEvo profile image
AnneEvo in reply to Karele

Thank you.

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