Like many essential minerals, there are various forms of zinc and zinc picolinate is the most bioavailable and useful for the brain. The zinc is chelated with picolinate, which allows the body to more easily break it down and yield elemental zinc.
Zinc acts as a potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and helps to boost immune health . This is probably where the myth that zinc supplements will help reduce the common cold if you supplement immediately.
Although zinc might not be the magic pill for a cold, it is involved with numerous functions within the brain. It helps to upregulate the body’s production of antioxidants  and can increase brain chemicals, such as serotonin, in certain regions of the brain .
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Editors’ Thoughts on Zinc Picolinate
Besides taking Qualia (which has 15 mg zinc picolinate), my first experience with this essential mineral was to boost my immune system during a bout of illness. My girlfriend’s hairdresser recommended zinc and some brief research only suggested it might help.
While I did get healthier in a short-period, I can’t say with any certainty that it was the zinc picolinate supplement. Either way, zinc is important, but the supplement may not always be. I wouldn’t suggest taking this daily and definitely not an empty stomach.
Some people have tried zinc on an empty stomach and had their day not only ruined, but excruciatingly painful. Take this with a full stomach.
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor
Benefits of Zinc Picolinate
Compared to any other form of zinc, the zinc picolinate version is the most well-absorbed . This is in comparison with zinc citrate and zinc gluconate, both chelated and seemingly useful forms of zinc.
Besides providing more raw zinc by weight, one of the benefits of zinc picolinate is as an immune booster. This is primarily achieved by replenishing certain molecules that fight illness (one such called “tumor necrosis factor alpha”) .
Another benefit of zinc picolinate is for BDNF, which is like fertilizer for the brain to develop new memories and learning. Studies show that zinc can increase BDNF levels depending on the dosage .
Not only does BDNF interact with memory, but also depression. Studies suggest zinc can reduce symptoms of depression through this mechanism, but also through serotonin uptake in certain regions .
Side Effects of Zinc Picolinate
Zinc is an essential nutrient, but shares pathways of other minerals, such as iron. One issue for people who consume zinc consistently is that their iron levels might be lower than average, but this is only when a couple of conditions are met. Primarily, if zinc and iron are both consumed above 10 mg and taken on an empty stomach. Otherwise, there should be few problems.
In higher doses, zinc picolinate (and zinc in general) can cause severe gastrointestinal distress. Many people have complained that taking zinc is one of the most excruciating pains they have ever felt if they do not consume the supplement with food. If you buy zinc picolinate, just make sure you eat it with food to avoid any issues with this.
Otherwise, there are few side effects of zinc picolinate to speak of. Still, it is not recommended to take this daily or go above the tolerable upper limit of intake, which is 40 mg per day.
Zinc Picolinate Dosage
The zinc picolinate dosage is 15 mg, which will provide a sizeable dose of raw zinc without being overkill. You may find products that have higher doses of zinc, but we would not recommend them. Alternatively, you may find this in other nootropic stacks and products as well.
How and Where to Buy Zinc Picolinate
Zinc picolinate will be relatively easy to find at a local grocery or health food store. While it is not the most common form of zinc, it is one of the most bioavailable and useful for nootropic effects and immune boosting properties.
Though in a pinch you can go to a local store, we suggest you stay with a recommended vendor we have vetted in the past. You can buy zinc picolinate from many online vendors via Amazon, though Now Foods tends to be one of the most reliable. You can buy zinc picolinate from them here.
Alternatively, there are other nootropic stacks that include zinc even in the picolinate form. One of these stacks is Qualia, which has 15 mg of zinc picolinate per day, which is the daily recommended value.
Selected Community Experiences
“I used to take zinc regularly a few weeks ago and I had to stop taking it due to vertigo and vomiting, so I decided to take Zinc on a cycle. I started it again today because I’ve been left with no choice due to my mental state. After 15 mins or so, I experienced these effects: Warm body temperature, heightened self-esteem...”  – myepicdemise
“Don’t supplement with more than 50mg daily. It would be wise to only supplement only once or twice a week with a normal zinc supplement. It can cause brain damage with over 200mg per day.”  – sharklasagna
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