Zinc is vital for skin repair and maintenance. It inhibits histamine release so it can help to reverse histamine intolerance, along with vitamin B6, copper and vitamin C. During teenage years, rapid development requires zinc and these growth spurts can lead to zinc deficiency, and as the skin’s oil gland activity is regulated by zinc, acne can result. Zinc deficiency can lead to skin lesions, dry and rough skin and delayed wound healing. Severe zinc deficiency can induce blister-like dermatitis, eczema and hair loss.
Zinc: dosages and food sources
|Zinc (also known as)||
Supplement dosages (milligrams per day)
Eczema-friendly food sources
Zinc gluconate (best form, absorbed well)
2–3 mg from breastmilk or hypoallergenic (dairy-free) infant formula
Children + teens
1–4 years: 3–5 mg
Women: 8–15 mg
|6 oysters: 27 mg**
150 g (5 oz) lamb shank: 14.5 mg
150 g (5 oz) beef: 7.7 mg
150 g (5 oz) lamb: 6.4 mg
100 g (31⁄2 oz) dried beans: 3 mg
1 cup cooked spelt: 2.4 mg
100 g (31⁄2 oz) raw brown rice: 2.1 mg
60 g (21⁄2 oz) wholegrain oats: 1.1 mg
100 g (31⁄2 oz) raw white rice: 1.1 mg
1 fillet (127 g) flathead/flounder: 0.8 mg
1⁄2 fillet (180 g) cooked salmon: 0.8 mg**
1 cup mashed potato: 0.6 mg
1 cup sweet potato: 0.6 mg^
AI: Adequate Intake as per Australian Government guidelines.
RDI: Recommended Daily Intake as per Australian Government guidelines, shown on the table as the lowest dose. The higher range is the therapeutic range.
^Contains salicylates (not suitable during weeks 1–3 of the FID Program). **Contains amines (not suitable for weeks 1–2 of the FID Program).
*Note: I no longer recommend zinc picolinate. It is highly absorbable and as a result it can lead to zinc toxicity symptoms including vomiting, nausea, metallic taste in mouth and copper deficiency.
- Salt, calcium, iron and phosphorus can prevent zinc supplements from being absorbed, so have your zinc-containing supplement more than 2 hours apart from these substances.
- Take zinc with vitamin B6, biotin and magnesium to help reduce skin inflammation.