Shell fish, beef, and other red meats are rich sources of zinc. Nuts (e.g., cashews and almonds) and legumes (e.g., beans) are relatively good plant sources of zinc.
Because of the relative absence of compounds that inhibit zinc absorption and the presence of certain amino acids (cysteine and methionine) that improve zinc absorption, zinc bioavailability is relatively high in meat, eggs, and seafood.
The zinc in whole grain products and plant proteins is less bioavailable due to their relatively high content of phytic acid, a compound that inhibits zinc absorption (4).
A number of zinc supplements are available, including zinc acetate, zinc gluconate, zinc picolinate, and zinc sulfate. Zinc picolinate has been promoted as a more absorbable form of zinc, but there are few data to support this idea in humans (3).
Authored by Dr Peter Engel in 2010, reviewed by Giorgio La Fata on 29.09.2017