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Dietary Zinc and Why You Need It

Since 2020 and the arrival of The-Virus-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named, “zinc” has been a buzz word along with terms like “booster, vaccine, masks, social distancing”… you catch my drift. Zinc supplementation has long been touted as an OTC, easily accessible, immune-boosting superhero, along with its bestie Vitamin C. It’s actually been proven to reduce the duration of cold symptoms*, and we at Charleston Aesthetics love it for its efficacy as a mineral sunscreen. The higher the zinc oxide concentration in your SPF, the better!
Zinc Oxide Crystals

In this part I'm going to pull some science from an article in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology that you can read here, if you're interested. 

In a study from The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 98 participants were followed and evaluated after receiving three different types of neuromodulators (Botox®, Dysport® - both of which are used cosmetically, and Myobloc® - a botulinum toxin used for therapeutic muscular purposes). It was a double-blind study, so not only did the participants not know which type of toxin they were receiving, but they also didn’t know which supplement, if any, they were receiving. The pills they were taking were either a lactulose placebo pill, a zinc gluconate pill, or a zinc citrate and phytase pill (phytase has been shown to aid in zinc absorption).

The participants were each required to meet multiple inclusionary criteria, most noticeably the following:

  1. In the past 3-5 "tox" sessions they had regularly received more than 50 units of neuromodulators (indicating full and appropriate dosing)

  2. The injection patterns and brand of neuromodulators used on them had not changed

  3. Participants must have perceived that their past treatment results were suboptimal, and at least two other physicians had failed (in their opinion) to treat them optimally where the benefits and results ultimately outweighed the cost of treatment

Results were measured subjectively by the patients’ self-reports using daily logs of their treatment effects. Of the group receiving the zinc citrate and phytase supplement, 92% of them reported an average 30% increase in duration of neuromodulator effects (time), and 84% of them reported an increase in efficacy of the effects (strength).

Conversely, between the zinc gluconate and placebo groups, only 29.6% of patients reported any increase whatsoever in duration or efficacy of their treatments.

For one, we as a society just started talking openly about our Botox obsessions in the last few years. Remember The-Virus-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named? Well, when he all but left the chat a lot of us decided that self-care does matter, despite what our husbands keep telling us after seeing the monthly statements, and we have prioritized doing things that make us happy. Botox makes us happy!

Additionally, zinc usage has increased since 2020 in an effort to beef up our immune systems, which is a really good thing considering many of us are at least somewhat deficient in zinc. That percentage only increases as we move past our 60s.

The study mentioned earlier (here) was a small one with only 98 participants, and it was limited by the fact that the results were self-reported. That said, when you look at the big picture of whether or not to take supplemental zinc, you realize that adding it into your daily regimen is inarguably a win-win.

Benefits of Dietary Zinc

Wondering where to start?

Adding 10-15mg of zinc is sufficient for most, according to the National Institute of Health*. This alone will help you with your immune system, skin health, and GI health. Do not surpass 30mg a day without discussing with your provider. For dietary sources of zinc you can add in meats, shellfish, fortified cereals, nuts and seeds.

Beware that too much zinc will interfere with your iron and copper absorption, so it’s best to make small changes. Zinc toxicity can occur from too much supplemental zinc (but interestingly not from dietary additions), so add this in with caution. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches are common signs of too much zinc.

If you’d like to test things out before your next Botox appointment, begin taking Phytase enzymes (also available OTC) in conjunction with your zinc about 4 to 5 days before your appointment. Then sit back and let the liquid gold take effect all throughout your face, and let us know!

We would love to know if you test out this theory how it works for you!

Disclosure: Julia Miller is a Registered Nurse; however, this blog is not intended to substitute for legitimate medical guidance that should occur with your primary care provider or medical specialist when deciding when to alter your diet or nutritional supplements. This blog is intended to be for information only.


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