Why Zinc Is One of My Favorite Supplements for Women’s Health

zinc for hormonesLooking for a simple solution for period and hormone problems?  Consider the humble mineral zinc.

Zinc is an important nutrient for women’s health and is effective treatment for acne, PCOS, period pain, vaginal dryness, and many other symptoms.

Zinc for women’s health

  • Period pain. Zinc was found in one clinical trial to work as well as the pill for period pain. It works by reducing inflammation and prostaglandins and is also an important part of immune-modulating treatment for endometriosis.
  • Irregular periods. Zinc helps to regulate the menstrual cycle by nourishing healthy ovarian follicles and therefore promoting ovulation.
  • PCOS. Zinc is one of several natural androgen blockers that can reduce testosterone and improve androgen symptoms such as acne and hirsutism (facial hair).
  • Acne. Zinc is effective for acne and works by blocking androgens, killing bacteria, and slowing the production of sebum and keratin.
  • Perimenopause and menopause. Zinc helps to maintain collagen and tissue health and can relieve the vaginal dryness of menopause.
  • Thyroid disease. Together with iodine and selenium, zinc is essential for the synthesis and activation of thyroid hormone and can prevent the hair loss associated with thyroid disease.  Zinc promotes thyroid hormone, which, in turn, promotes the better absorption of zinc.
  • Mood. Zinc supports the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that dials down cortisol and the stress response.

Zinc deficiency

Zinc deficiency affects one in three women and is more common with a plant-based diet because plant foods are low in zinc.

Zinc absorption can be impaired by alcohol, stomach medication, hypothyroidism, and hormonal birth control.

Symptoms of deficiency include:

  • hair loss
  • dermatitis
  • impaired immune function
  • white spots on the fingernails.

The test for zinc deficiency is plasma zinc with a normal reference range of 11-23 umol/L or 70-150 ug/dL).

Dose and safety

A safe and effective dose of zinc is 30 mg per day. The best types include zinc citrate, picolinate, or bisgylcinate and should be taken directly after a large meal because zinc on an empty stomach can cause nausea. More than 80 mg per day can deplete copper.

For more information, see my books Hormone Repair Manual (for women over 35) and Period Repair Manual (for women of any age).

Dr Lara Briden

270 thoughts on “Why Zinc Is One of My Favorite Supplements for Women’s Health”

  1. I couldn’t believe the difference taking zinc made. After years of debilitating cramps this is the single most effective thing I found to help. Simply taking zinc three or four days up to the beginning of my period Makes all the difference in the world in going from non-functional to mild discomfort. It is such an easy thing to try I encourage you to give it a shot if you get horrible cramps.

    Reply
  2. Hi, I am a practicing OBGyn and am eager to learn about non conventional treatments for PCOS. Can you share some of the studies that you mentioned in your book regarding treatment outcomes with Zinc and Magnesium. Thanks Amy

    Reply
  3. I have hypothyroidism and going through menopause. At 53 nearly 54 i have for the last 10 years struggled with constipation, hair loss and facial hair around lower face. I have really struggled with menopause with really poor broken sleep, night sweats and multiple hot flushes up to 30 per day. So recently i started estrogel pro combination gel and prometrium which has largely stopped sweats and flushes, thank god
    On and off over the last 10 years i have taken liquid zinc from metagenics and retested to show only slight improvement in zinc levels so stopped taking it. I have also gained 10 kilos weight mainly around my middle, and it does not seem to matter how much i control my diet or how much i exercise i only seem to loose 1 to 3 kilos and its such hard work. What am im doing wrong it is such a struggle.
    Any advice would be welcome.

    Reply
    • Hi Nicola, I am not an expert or a doctor, but can only tell you what I have read/heard about this. According to many doctors/experts, diet is also an important key of this journey as well exercise. For instance, we should not be doing the same exercise we did when we were in our 20’s or 30’s. Here is a link so you can learn more about it: https://www.flippingfifty.com/

      It would be best if you consult with a Naturopathic Doctor to determine whether you have estrogen dominance or not. Here is the link from Dr. Briden: https://www.larabriden.com/the-ups-and-downs-of-estrogen-part-2-estrogen-excess/

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
    • Dear Nicola, How I can relate how you feel. I totally agree with Jacqueline that nutrition is the key. Mainly insulin sensitivity – this is why seemingly overnight we gain weight around the tummy. Detoxing has been a great help for me in terms of general well being (e.g. a Green Smoothie first thing in the morning can do wonders to kick-start the liver or a Blueberry smoothie). Minerals were a major key in my rebalancing process – I had to take with every sweet food (even an apple) Magnesium Glucanate or herbal Calcium to stabelise blood sugar. And that over time helped a lot. Furthermore, if you have hypothyroidism – check out Lynn Farrows Iodine Crises and Dr. Brownsteins protocol – again this was of major help to stop brain fog and emotional imbalances (after two weeks on this protocol my breast stopped hurting and it never started again). Find a natural stevia which you like for sweet replacement. If you take sugar upgrade to brown demerara sugar (which contains minerals and will not spike blood sugar as much). This helped tremendously to stop gaining weight. In the long run it is important to support the body – depending on your preference – warm food millet/oat is great to balance and give long lasting energy. However, this did not work for me as long as I had candida and histamine issues. I had to go through a major detox and used Natalia Rose/Karen Calabrese, Ann Wigmore and Norman Walker as my sign posts… and it turned my life around. I am fitter now than in my 30ties and feel at ease. No food cravings. Perhaps again this can help you to not give up – find you approach. Wonderful cleansing herbs are as well Ama Clean by Ayurvedic brands – to detox the liver – but all of this works only with a change in nutrition. All the best! Just find your own way… I learned so much and would never look back. Lara’s books were of major help and I wish I knew all this much earlier… but it is never too late and it feels wonderful to be strong and balanced.

      Reply
  4. Hello Lara,

    What about Zinc Forte from Deba Pharma? It’s zinc methionine?

    Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂

    Br,
    Aline

    Reply
  5. Hi Lara! Great post. I take 15mg of zinc carnosine daily for GI health. Is this an adequate form of zinc for the purposes of helping with periods and PCOS symptoms, or should I also be taking another form on top of that?

    Reply
  6. I just got zinc and realized the one I got is zinc gluconate 50mg capsules. You are suggesting 30mg. Should I take half a pill then? Or am I okay with one 50mg pill every other day?

    Reply
  7. Hi Lara

    I have trouble swallowing capsules, so I ordered zinc drops (zinc oxide). Is that also a good supplement?

    Reply
  8. Hello! Great article. Is it possible to use zinc picolinate 22mg for more than three months? Up to 6 months for acne? Thank you!

    Reply
  9. I was searching and wondering if to start taking chasteberry for irregular periods.
    i just found this article on zinc and maybe I could give it a try first. I really don’t know and i noticed high mood swings. could zinc be effective for me ?

    Reply
  10. If Zinc can deplete Copper and we are both carency in Zinc and Copper,
    If we only take Zinc should we take copper in supplement at the same period ? (Not together if I remember well because there antagonist right?)
    And if it the case, what form of copper supplement while you suggest ?
    Thank for you’re response, it will help a lot 😉

    Reply
  11. I have low cortisol issue along with irregular periods, acne and hirsutism but my testosterone is in normal range. I have also taken birth control pills. I am wondering if zinc would be helpful for me? I am afraid that it would lower my cortisol even more.

    Reply
  12. I personally had great results using Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate. It cleared my acne in one week and doesn’t have any fillers or allergens (important to me, at least). I think it’s around $10 on Amazon, iHerb, Vitacost, etc. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  13. I just started taking 30mg zinc gluconate for hirsutism, oily blemish prone face, and insomnia (5 year battle with sleep issues after my 8th pregnancy). For the first two days I was amazed at the results…better energy and sleep along with improved mood right away! But then I started feeling absolutely exhausted. Still sleeping better but I have no energy. I know it’s the zinc but I’m not sure why it would happen and what I should do about it. I thought perhaps cutting the dose in half and starting it a bit slower may help. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this. Many thanks

    Reply
  14. This was the first thing I noticed when I started taking zinc! Prior I had hardly dreamed at all for years.
    Lara I’m wondering why you site citrate as the best supplemental form? I have been taking zinc gluconate- is this going to be less effective?

    Reply
  15. I dream more when I take zinc daily. When I dream “too much” I take a break with the zinc for a while. Anyone else who has noticed more dreams?

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  16. Hi, my testosterone is a bit too high and my blood work showed that I’m slightly deficient in zinc. I’m eating meat every day, though, but mostly chicken (almost no red meat). I was wondering if this could be the cause of my very irregular and long cycles. What do you think? Is it possible that zinc deficiency causes my irregular cycles or you only see this in vegetarians?

    Reply
  17. Zinc deficiency coupled with high copper levels is a different condition called pyroluria. Taking 30mg of zinc could make you dump copper, especially if paired with P5P/B6. If you’ve ever had a copper IUD, or suffer with any anxiety, depression, or mental illness, this dumping is a good thing. But copper dumpling is also highly unpleasant and can cause massive upheaval mentally and physically. In these cases it’s good to go low and slow and monitor copper and zinc serum levels.

    Reply
  18. Dear Dr. Briden,

    In 3 days I am stopping the pill!

    I have been on the pill on and off since as early as 13 (originally for acne) but for the last 8 years have been on it non-stop.

    I am on a brand called Minesse which contains ethinylestradiol and gestodene.

    Recently I have lost my withdrawal bleed, and at most I get one day of spotting (brown blood).

    I now have a very supportive female doctor. I have decided to come off the pill to give my body time to get back to ‘normal.

    I have no idea what my real period will be like, and if I will see a return of my teen acne, I am hoping that my hormones have changed significantly since then 🙂

    I have done quite a bit of prep for the transition to make it as smooth as possible:

    I have started Magnesium Glycinate, 200mg at night, I take Zinc Picolinate (150mg) with a vit-b complex and I also take 1000mg vit c per day (have been for years).

    Only other medication I am on is Fluoxetine (in hindsight my mental health wobble might have been related to the pill all along) but I plan on coming off it by the end of the year.

    I also have started with seed cycling but that is really difficult on the pill so I think I will wait until my real period appears.

    I had an internal scan done a week ago which shows normal ovaries with a normal amount of follicles, as well as a healthy uterus with a VERY thin lining. My blood tests revealed a bit of a magnesium deficiency (i know the blood test is not accurate), I have a partial Vitamin D Deficiency and my Vitamin B12 is borderline.

    Can i add a high potency vitamin D supplement (5000IU) to what I am already taking, and also are the following amounts of Vitamin B’s safe for daily intake:

    Vit B1 – 120mg
    Vit B6 – 225mg
    Vit B12 – 225 ug

    Slightly nervous about the change and terrified about PBCS, but mostly worried about a negative effect, if any, it might have on my mental health.

    Reply
  19. Is there any rebound effect after stopping taking the Zinc? Like hyperandrogenism synptoms?
    I am scared of taking off the pill and starting taking zinc but when stopping zing get again the side effects.

    Reply
  20. I take 22 mg Chelated Zinc Glycinate everyday. Completely cleared up my adult cystic acne and stopped my hair from shedding. It was a miracle for me.

    Reply
  21. M.-

    I read a review on Amazon for a zinc supplement and a menopausal woman was taking it to lower her estrogen levels (her doctor recommended it for that). So I wonder if that’s what is happening to you–the zinc is lowering your estrogen levels. I have read that you can have sore breasts with too much or too little estrogen–the former being more common. But the decreased libido sounds like a low estrogen issue.

    Reply
  22. I read a review on Amazon for a zinc supplement and a menopausal woman was taking it to lower her estrogen levels (her doctor recommended it for that). So I wonder if that’s what is happening to you–the zinc is lowering your estrogen levels. I have read that you can have sore breasts with too much or too little estrogen–the former being more common. But the decreased libido sounds like a low estrogen issue.

    Reply
  23. I had been taking 25mg Zinc daily to help my irregular periods with little effect, and then last year read that you recommend 30mg. I didn’t think an extra 5mg would make any difference, but I ordered a difference batch and almost immediately my periods settled into 28-30 day cycles. They have never been this regular! Thank you!

    Reply
  24. Hi Lara,

    Thank you for all your articles and the Period Repair Manual.

    I started taking 30 mg of Zinc Chelate 2 months ago every evening. I was hoping to help control my acne that would spike right before and during my period. The 2nd month in, my acne was successfully much less with my period; however, I experienced some intense breast soreness and swelling that month when I never have that. Also, I feel that my sex drive has noticeably decreased from what it was before.

    Is this normal or a potential side effect from the Zinc?

    I also have hypothyroidism and I take Synthroid in the morning to avoid interfering that medicine with the Zinc. I also have had a copper IUD for the past two years, so no hormonal birth control.

    Thanks,

    M.

    Reply
  25. Hey Lara,

    I read your book and it really helped me understand everything that’s going on in my body. I have PCOS and I’m trying Magnesium and Zinc Supplements right now.

    But I still got a question: If I still tend to feel a little nausea after taking 30mg zinc after a larger meal, can I split it up and take 15mg after lunch with my 300mg Magnesium and 15mg after dinner?

    Thank you xx

    Sonja

    Reply
    • I felt the same and even became a bit frightened to take them as they could make me very nauseous. I changed to liquid Ionic Zinc – there are various on the market and it is much better. I still need to be diligent taking it right after the meal but if I do I am fine. Somehow the liquid form at least for me works better. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  26. Hi lara,
    I recently had a Kyleena IUD-19.5mg Levonorgestrel inserted. Everything seems great so far, except for the cystic acne along my jaw line that has started to surface. I know this was always a possibility as I have suffered with my skin on and off for years, that’s why I was on the pill originally. I just bought some 50mg Zinc and Vitamin A. Just want to confirm that the Zinc will not interfere with my Kyleena IUD. I saw you commented about the copper IUD and Zinc, but not hormonal IUDs.

    Thank you for your time!

    Reply
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    Reply
  28. Hi Dr. Briden, I started taking 25mg of zinc and noticed shortly after more hair loss. Any idea why my body would react that way? I’m trying to stop the shed or slow it down at least. I had hair loss on a pill that contained levonorgestrel and I have since stopped taking it in the last 2 months but I had tried the zinc while on the pill, so I’m scared to try zinc off the pill!!
    Thanks for your time!

    Reply
  29. Dear Dr Briden! FIrst of thanks a lot for the useful posts and the books! No word to describe the enthusiasm there. I wanted to ask your opinion on the chelate form of zinc glycinate. Thank you so much! Eniko

    Reply
  30. I just finished reading the period repair manual and am hoping to get off the pill (Yaz) in the next few months. In my teens I had normal, easy periods, then went on the pill for a year and when I came off, had six months of terrible cystic acne, weight gain and amenorrhea, so I went back on the pill and have been on for the past 6 years out of fear.

    I plan to take magnesium, zinc and peony-licorice as you have suggested. How long ahead of stopping the pill should I take these? Should I wait to come off the pill to have my LH tested and then decide on peony vs Vitex? Thank you so much for your knowledge and support.

    Reply
  31. Bloating with Zinc?

    Hi Dr Briden,

    Is it normal to have intense BLOATING when starting zinc? For the first time in my life, I can’t remove the rings from my fingers and my shoes don’t fit! I’m petite so this is abnormal.

    I started taking 224% Daily value of zinc as well as CBD oil for endometriosis a couple days ago. I am quite deficient with the zinc, at .51 mcg/ml so doctor has me on a mega dose. No hormonal treatments at this time.

    Any thoughts about the bloating?

    Thanks so much Lara!!
    -Jade

    Reply
  32. Hi Lara,

    I’ve PCOS since I was a teen (I’m 25 now) – irregular periods and hirsitusm.

    A few months ago, I started taking Zinc 25mg per day. Miraciously, I had three periods on time! It’s my fourth month and I’m late for my period and don’t have any pre-period symptoms either…

    In addition, my hirsitum (particually facial hair) is getting worse since taking Zinc!

    Any suggestions/insight?

    Thank you <3

    Reply
  33. Is 6 months to long to take 60mg zinc picolinate?

    In mid-June I decided to follow your recommendation of zinc picolinate to help regulate my cycle (I get a cycle every few months). Still with no period in sight, i decided the last week of August to begin taking 30mg zinc in the morning and 30 mg. A few days ago I started some spotting and I’m hoping I’ve finally found a solution to my irregular cycles (I have endometriosis)

    Reply
  34. Hello Dr. Lara,

    Is 50 mg Zinc safe during pregnancy? I have crazy acne post-pill and 50 mg zinc just controls it to an extent (not even completely) but without it, my skin would go totally nuts. What do you suggest?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  35. I took 50mg of zinc citrate daily for my hormonal cystic acne and hair thinning for about 1.5 months and noticed a huge improvement and was so excited my skin had calmed down and my hair was growing back! HOWEVER, I dropped down to 30mg daily because I was concerned about copper deficiency and have since noticed lots of hair loss over the past 1.5 months, I’m pretty much back to square one with the hair loss but my acne is gone. Is this dose too high for me now or is it not enough? I’m concerned I have some kind of cooper imbalance now and I’m not sure what went wrong and I’d like to stop this hair loss! I was also taking magnesium daily during that time when my hair was growing back but kind of stopped for about 2-3 weeks until just a few days ago when I started taking it daily again. I thought it was the zinc that had helped with my hair the most but maybe it was the magnesium too? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    • Yes, zinc can increase testosterone in men, but it’s very good for skin. And zinc reduces (normalizes) testosterone in women with PCOS.

      Reply
      • So, if you are a female with pcos and have high testosterone and hair loss, it is safe to take zinc?

        Also, what is the best test to measure the ratios of copper and zinc? RBC or serum? How often should you retest to monitor the balance?

        Thank you!!

        Reply
  36. Hello!
    I am battling post pill acne- have been off my pill since March and have had 6 regular (YAY!) periods since- I had been on the pill for 12 years to manage endo.
    I bought some zinc drops by bioceuticals to help with my skin issues but am wondering if they’re ok to take in conjunction with the maca root powder I put in my smoothies?
    I only ask because I noticed in the opening of the post you say “before you reach for the maca”

    Thank you!!

    Reply
    • You can use zinc in combination with the MACA. And just a word about dose of the Bioceuticals drops. I love that product but you have to use way more than they say on the label. It provides 1 mg per drop, so to reach the 30 mg I discuss in the post, you’d need 30 drops. But please check with your practitioner, and don’t take on an empty stomach.

      Reply
  37. Thank you for your posts! I came across your blog as I research to regulate my hormones, suffering from lack of sleep due to middle of the night awakenings, facial hair growth, hair loss, constant spotting throughout the month, profound wetness, and horrendous clotting. I’ve never been on birth control for any significant amount of time, but have taken over-the-counter sleep aids for about 3-4 years nightly, which I recently stopped. I’ve learned so much from you. The information I’ve gained from your blog was the critical factor that caused me to choose the bioidentical progesterone over a low dose birth control that my OB suggested. I also started supplementing with zinc picolinate in the evening (with a very low dose of tryptophan and time release melatonin). I’m happy to report a tremendous improvement in my ability to fall back to sleep in a short amount of time – I’m still awakening a little too early in the morning, however. I’m looking forward to seeing how my body responds, over time, to the progesterone and zinc supplementation. Thank you again!

    Reply
    • In reference to my comment above, I just noticed my OB prescribed 200 mg of progesterone in a capsule. Is that too much? I just read your post on perimenopause/pms and sleep and it indicated 50-100mg.

      Reply
  38. Dr. Briden,

    Thanks for this post. I hadn’t really heard or seen any information about the benefits of zinc. I stopped taking birth control after my wedding in October 2017. Unfortunately, I’ve been struggling to get my period back. I was underweight and have been actively gaining weight, trying to stick to whole foods, and light activity (walks, 20 min work-out classes such as yoga, weight training, etc). I have had blood work performed (Thyroid, FSH, prolactin) at my OBGYN and everything has come back within normal range. Upon my original visit and first blood work results they tried me on Medroxyprogesterone for 10 days. I experienced cramping and spotting only when using the restroom. After informing the results they tried me on a second dose of this medication, which results in no symptoms or bleed.

    I then revisited the OBGYN and had the additional bloodwork and then was prescribed Estradiol for 21 days to be followed up with progesterone the following 7 days after Estradiol was finished. With 4 doses left of the Estradiol I started my period “on my own” if you will. This has lead me to believe that maybe it’s my Estrogen that is low, which was my inital thought as my “drive” has been low and experiencing dryness.

    I currently take a prenatal vitamin and have been for about 2 months now, which does have zinc in it, 15mg. In this case, do you think Vitex may be a good route to pursue?

    Reply
  39. Would DIM be safe to take while breastfeeding a toddler? (She’s 30 mo.) I’ve had a lot of PCOS symptoms since her birth, especially hirsutism, acne, and weight gain. Thanks!!!!

    Reply
  40. Hi Dr. Lara,

    Ive been reading your Period Repair Manual and it is life changing. I’ve been struggling for quite some time and your book is helping to guide me to hormonal repair. According to the recommended daily intake of zinc, I am definitely not getting enough. On a good day, I am probably get 19-22mg.

    It’s been over a year since I have been off of hormonal birth control. I’ve started seeing a naturopathic doctor like yourself and have made a lot of progree. I’ve made about every change one can make and I’ve seen much progress…including my first REAL period since I was a teen (I’m not 25). Although these changes are amazing, I still have lingering acne (not cystic). I don’t eat dairy or anything else you mention in your acne blog post.

    From reading this post and from my calculations, I believe I may be deficient in zinc. Since I’m working to repair the acne, should I still stick to supplementing 20-30mg/day? I plan to purchase Zinc Picolinate (Thorne). Is the specific one they recommend for skin and hair what you recommend?

    Thank you for your help and for your work. I couldn’t be more grateful for you!!

    Blake

    Reply
    • You can go quite a bit higher with the zinc dose under the care of your naturopathic doctor. Please speak to her about it. I like the Thorne brand.

      Reply
  41. To Mary, who felt lethargic after taking Zinc.
    Take minerals at night before bed, so that you get the benefit of the sleepiness that can be induced.
    Good luck.

    Reply
  42. Hello there Mrs Lara ,can you please advise on Prolactin levels if u have any knowledge !!! If Zinc lower it ? I took 50mg for two months ,I read a lot about it ,it was said I take 50mg for 60 days to treat the high levels of prolactin.
    Besides that It was a very good experience even though I took a high dose
    my hair and my skin and my nails And my mood was very good used to take it right after lunch and drink lots of water during the day .

    Reply
    • I forgot to mention the type of Zinc I took was Jamieson 25mg ! Maybe there is another type u would recommend as I got again high levels of prolactin and I don’t know if I should or should not take it again ! It was last year in August 2017

      Reply
  43. I notice you deleted all the comments relating to accutane (including your own reply relating to the gut) after I replied with my own experience last Tuesday. Do you mind me asking why you did that? There was some helpful information there that could really help people. Also it warns others of the dangers and encourages them to things like zinc to help instead. Luckily I took screenshots of the accutane comments but I’m still quite sad they were deleted, especially the helpful info. I guess nobody really wants hear from us, or that’s how it feels anyhow. Kind regards

    Reply
    • I definitely didn’t delete any comments… I never have on this blog. Not sure what happened there. Maybe search again, and I’ll check the spam folder.

      Reply
      • Yes absolutely 100% sure, though your response was only very short about it possibly affecting the gut. The website and many peoples’ comments lead to me buying your period manual. I will try to search again via google instead thanks. Your period manual should be given to every female teenager from the get go, the first chapters in particular are invaluable, in fact I shall be saving it for my own daughter. Girls and women need to know this information before they make mistakes which can cause havoc with their lives. High school education is not enough. (I’m uk)

        Reply
        • I can only agree! Considering that we only see hormones as relevant for reproduction not as sacred transmitters of so much more – health, mood, vibrancy, intuition, emotional sovereignty… But again I think women should rebuild the golden chain of knowledge to pass it on to the next generation – we are borne healers and we should never give up healing knowledge to an ‘institution’ who cannot pass on the essential knowledge (due to rules and regulations)… We are the only ‘animal’ on the planet who lost the know-how to keep ourselves healthy and that became very prevalent when ‘doctors’ pretended to know more than mothers. Before going on about this – there should be a grassroots movement initiated – as the health of future generations can only return when women, mothers regain their knowledge and empower themselves.

          Reply
  44. I began the use of zinc, many years ago for menopause. Had a very bad hormone imbalance and consulted a british person who had done a lot of research into uses for natural remedies to help with many health issues where prescription meds were recommended. My doctor wanted me to take hormones. I said, no! Shortly after, I consulted with the aforementioned person. Told me to take 50mg. Chelated zinc,, daily (already taking b complex w C.) Told my doctor and he rolled his eyes. I didn’t care and began using it. After a few weeks, I began to get less menopausal symptoms, as time went by almost completely free of symptoms. Had my yearly physical and hormone levels were near normal, w/o hormone replacement! Better yet, helped my immune system and had fewer colds. I am almost 70 now and still take my zinc religiously. Also, my B complex w C. Only thing I’ve changed, now I take 25mg instead of 50mg. I am so glad you have this on your site, as, most natural medicine practitioners, don’t appear to know this?! Thanks again, I all sign up for your newsletter, as I always prefer to use natural remedies, when possible and feasible. All the best! Avril

    Reply
  45. I loooove zinc for my acne!! It has been such a blessing in my life. I take 1 zinc supplement 50mg daily and i no longer suffer with hormonal acne.

    Reply
  46. I can only find Zinc Gluconate where I live. Is 30mg of Zinc Gluconate the same as 30mf of Zinc citrate or picolinate ? Also, my 14year old daughter was on Novynette for 4 months to regulate her periods. She stopped in November but her periods have not returned since. How long should i wait before resorting to the Provers her doctor recommended? She was preciously diagnosed with very mild PCOS.

    Reply
    • hey, can anyone answer my question above about gluconate vs. picolinate??? I really need some advice so that I can begin giving my daughter. Thanks

      Reply
      • Hi Alicia, I got Picolinate which I think Lara recommends as well from iherb they ship internationally. I could not get it locally either so this might be an option – it works quite well for me. However, here is a good overview of the different types of Zinc – https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/types-of-zinc/ – Like you I was always confused with the different magnesiums and it took a while to find the one which worked for my body. Unsure if you have the ebook of Lara but it helps quite a bit with different symptoms (when I read those I had flash backs on all the symptoms nobody was able to explain when I was younger and even trying to make me believe that excrutiating period pain was normal! I wish I had her book at that time) and what type of supplements to take. Especially, if you have a young daughter it is an investment to life to have a self-help book to regulate periods. Hope this helps!

        Reply
  47. I just went off the pill yesterday… the intent is to get pregnant in the next year. I bought the zinc supplement you recommend. Can I start taking now to restore periods as quickly as possible or should I wait 3 months before taking any supps to give my body time to regulate on its own first? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • How have you been doing since being off birth control? Mine has been a nightmare but slowly getting better. But still not back to my old self just yet. I also got off in feb. & starting my 2nd period. Hope all is well!

      Reply
  48. Dear Dr. Lara,

    First of all, thank you so much for your book and blog, they are super helpful! I have a question concerning zinc:
    As zinc seemed to be beneficial for many issues, I started taking Thorne zinc piccolinate (30mg). However, after both times I took this, during a few hours after taking it I felt really tired, experienced a sort of ‘brain fog’ and I was in a state of lethargy. I haven’t dared to take it again.

    I was wondering if this reaction could be a clue of any kind for figuring out the root of my problems?

    Some background information: I’m 28, not a vegetarian/vegan, eat enough carbs, BMI of 19.5. My main issues are PMS (anxiety, emotional, sleeping issues, period pain on the first day) and hirsutism (diagnosed with PCOS 10 years ago, though I am ovulating based on temperature and physical signs, and period +- every 35 days). I haven’t eaten cow milk for about 2 years. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • hi Mary, thanks for sharing your story. I’m not sure what to make of the “brain fog from zinc” reaction. I have not encountered that before. Zinc is really good for the brain. If you were my patient, I might interpret it as a temporary adjustment of your brain chemistry and suggest you keep going be maybe every second day.

      Reply
  49. I recently had blood work done because I was feeling off…tired, down, moody, slow weight gain, etc. My blood work shows my testosterone levels are super low- dr said barely detectable. I am trying zinc as a natural way to increase. I work out, eat paleo and live a pretty healthy lifestyle. Do you think that’s a good start? I’m taking 22mg MegaFood brand.

    Reply
  50. I never knew how important zinc was until I went for an Oligoscan. My value is 80.4 (?) Normal is 125 – 155 (No units of measure) on result page. I come from 3 generations of vegetarians/Vegans and am a vegan myself for 43yrs. I’ve lost my appetite and lost 9 kg in the last 6 months: 46.5 kg/ 1.68m tall/ 55 yrs/female.

    How many mg zinc daily would you recommend and for how long before I return to RDI? My copper levels were a bit low but am monitoring all nutrient intake on Cronometer. They gave me 15mg caps / 1 per day. Today managed 21.5 mg Zinc incl. with food.

    If you have time to reply I would be very grateful.
    Thank you

    Reply
  51. Lara, it may be too good to be true, but I have been sick now for three years. I stopped birth control and got worse, I stopped an anti seizure med I was on, and got worse. I had SURGERY on my parathyroid glands, and got even worse. Then I started taking zinc. It’s been less than a month. I’m not by any means perfect, but I have HOPE for the first time in AGES. like I can see a light at the end of the dark tunnel, and my thoughts are getting lighter. Thank you thank you for all that you do.

    Reply
  52. I read the newest update of your book and 2 months ago I started on 300 mg, 20 zinc piccolate and 25 B6. My next period was great. I had almost zero bloating, mood was fairly stable, less cravings and I didn’t even realize my period was starting until maybe 24 hours before. I had a lighter flow and my period ended after 4 days. Month 2 I had pretty much the same as last month as far as reduced pms, only realizing about 24 hours prior that my period was starting but my actual period was much different. I had much more bloating when it started and the bloating lasted almost 4 days and it was much heavier than last month. Day 5 it started to dissipate and then I took my zinc in the evening on day 5 (like I always do) and within a few hours I was getting moody, emotional and started bleeding all over again. I woke up with a headache this morning and I’m still having a light bleed day 6. So it was like my period was ending and then restarted itself after I consumed zinc. I am 47 and my period has been changing the last 2 years. I’m wondering if B6 or zinc or them together can cause this? I have tried to take these vitamins in the past in an adrenal blend and some other menstrual support blends and even if I’m nowhere near my cycle they will cause an irregular bleed within 48 hours with bloating and mood changes. This time I cut out all the other stuff and just stuck strictly with mg, B6 and zinc. Any ideas? My naturopath here has no idea why I have a hormonal response and my regular M.D. just looks at me like I am nuts. My body tends to overreact to a lot of things…even caffeine. Thanks for any advice you might have on why this happens.

    Reply
  53. Hi Dr Briden,

    I’m confused about how to supplement (and possibly take a break from) zinc.

    I currently take 30mg/day of Thorne Picolinate to help manage the symptoms of suspected endometriosis and confirmed gut dysbiosis, as well as lower overall inflammation. I see that you recommend taking at least a month break after supplementing for around 3 months. Is this still the case if supplementing to address period pain or is it ok to take indefinitely? My current regiment (zinc, b6, tumeric, mangesium, and very low doese micronized progesterone) is just working so well that I’m afraid to mess with it.

    And just to fan girl for a moment: thank you so much for changing my life for the better. Before implementing your recommendations, I was bleeding heavily for about 11 days every month and completely debilitated for about 2-3 of those days. I was completely exhausted and found it hard to engage with my 3 energetic kids. I feel like not only did you give me my life back, but you equipped me with the knowledge to guide my own daughter if she inherits my hormonal issues. I was put on hormonal birth control at a young age to manage my painful periods and “regulate” my hormones. Now I know there are other options and I feel prepared to give my daughter the pros and cons of those options so that she can make educated decisions concerning her body. You truly are impacting future generations!

    Reply
    • Hi Leah,
      thanks so much for your feedback. So glad the treatment ideas are working for you.
      Zinc is fine to take every day. I don’t think I’ve ever said to take a break from zinc? (if I have, I need to correct that.) The supplement I say that about is berberine.

      Reply
      • Thank you, Dr Briden! Just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, I scanned the comments again. On Jan 18, your reply to a comment about zinc supplementation mentioned taking a month break after 3-4 months. That advice could have been tailored to the specific comment you were replying to, but that’s why I wanted to double check 🙂 Thank you again for all the wonderful information you provide!

        Reply
          • Ooh, I found the comment. I was responding to what does “long-term” mean as in “Long-term supplementation of more than 80 mg.” It’s fine to take 30 mg long-term

  54. Hi Lara. I notice whenever I’m run down I get white spots in my top front teeth for a couple of days. Is this a sign of zinc deficiency in your experience?

    Reply
  55. I work in an area where a number of integrative doctors are prescribing formulas that include 200mg of elemental zinc (piccolinate) and recommending 2 capsules per day… that’s 400mg of zinc/day!! In my naturopathic book, I’m thinking thats not a great long term plan. Plus, they are not following up with regular pathology to monitor zinc levels, let alone copper and iron. Frustrating 🙁

    Reply
  56. Dear doctor what supplements do you recommend for copper and manganese? My mineral levels were low in oligo scan…
    And also what are the best probiotics supplements?

    Reply
  57. I have been taking 30mg of absorbable zinc every day for the last 2 years or so. My zinc levels are still very low, under the reference range. I’m wondering if there’s any minerals that can inhibit zinc uptake? My copper to zinc ratio is high (17:10). I don’t eat many foods with phytic acid so I don’t think this would be manipulating absorption. Trying to heal acne naturally.

    Reply
  58. Hi Lara,

    I’ve been battling acne, hair loss, and terrible scalp sebum since quitting Ortho Tri in December 2015 (symptoms began 2 months later). I’m ovulating, regular periods, have been off gluten dairy sugar alcohol and coffee for several months……thyroid normal, hormones normal. But still the scalp issues and oil rebound persist.

    I started an even more intense elimination diet about 6 weeks ago to really cleanse my system (no eggs, dark chocolate, potentially inflammatory foods like eggplants and peppers.) It kept my skin pretty clear, though there was no impact on the stubborn sebum patch on my scalp. I decided to add in some supplementation, since the diet seemed to have had a positive detox effect for my skin – I started taking zinc, magnesium, biotin, and fish oil capsules. Sure enough, within a few days, breakouts on my forehead worse than they’d been for the 6 weeks of the elimination diet. What gives? Should I dial back on the supplements, or introduce them one at a time? Is this an indication that my system is still fragile and recovering from birth control, and perhaps my liver isn’t detoxing well?

    Reply
  59. Hello. Could excess zinc supplementation delay one’s period? I’ve never missed a period and I’m currently 16 days late and haven’t yet ovulated. The only change that was made over the last one month was the introduction of a Zinc supplement (22mg).

    Reply
  60. Can Zinc increase Testosterone levels as certain articles claim? In this case, are PCOS patients better off not supplementing Zinc in order to not aggravate Androgen excess?

    Reply
  61. I have been taking 30mg of absorbable zinc every day for the last 2 years or so. My zinc levels are still very low, under the reference range. I’m wondering if there’s any minerals that can inhibit zinc uptake? My copper to zinc ratio is high. Trying to heal acne naturally.

    Reply
  62. Hi Lara

    I have been suffering rapid hair loss for the past 3 months and after investigating all other causes (iron, thyroid, inflammation etc) i have had a blood test for zinc and it is 10!! In addition to the hair loss i have stubborn acne, white spots on fingernails and have noticed easy bruising which is unusual for me – my neutrophils (WBC) on a blood test were low. I also have significant fatigue in the afternoons. Could these all be caused by low zinc?

    This is so odd to me though because i have supplemented zinc on & off for the last 1 1/2 years. I’ve been using 15-30mg zinc sulfate in liquid form because i thought that was a good way to increase zinc levels fast but perhaps this wasn’t working and i need zinc picolinate?

    Is it that some people just have a higher requirement for some minerals than other people? I think I just burn through it faster than other people – i am naturally slim and usually have a lot of energy. I am cautious of over supplementing though. How often should i have blood tests if i want to start taking something like 45mg zinc?

    Thank you in advance for any insights! 🙂
    Lauren

    Reply
    • Hi there, i’m considering supplementing too. How’s it going on the zinc? and did you find a dose that works for you? My main problem since coming off dinette is cystic acne ( which was awful but calmed with a stricter diet) but still i am sooooo oily. I hate it. On my face and scalp. Desperately looking for a solution.

      Reply
  63. Hi Dr. Lara.. I started taking Zn, Mg and B6 and noticed a lot of breakouts on my face – painfull pimples. Should I stop taking them? Is this a purging phase? How much should my daily water consumption be when I am taking all these supplements?

    Reply
  64. I’m a little late for this conversation but here I go..
    I stopped the pill back in May 2017 and my only and biggest complaint since then Is my hair is falling out. I can visibly see it thinning ( very upsetting) so far I seem to have regular periods, light but they are still coming. I’m 35, and I was on the pill for a long time on and off, for the most part on.

    I am currently taking zinc 50mg, magnesium, Vitamin D3, chromium picolinate, Vitamin B and probiotics. I gained 30lbs in the past 2 years, do you think this is whats causing the hair loss?

    Please help!

    Reply
  65. Hi
    I traveled to Italy and my period started. It lasted about 9days
    and then I was taking zinc and the it started all over again?
    does that mean it didn’t finish or my hormones are out of whack
    I have had problems with them all my life but now am trying to conceive and its not working out cause am on my periods long and cant track properly.
    my diet is pretty stable and I have cut processed sugar (pastry and chocolate) out.

    What can I do to keep me constant to be able to get pregnant.

    Reply
  66. Hi Lara! Do you have a certain brand you recommend for a good zinc supplement? I’ve been looking at Garden of Life or Thorne..

    Reply
      • Dr. Briden,
        Having an adult acne, it’s been a quite journey for me as I never experienced acne during my teen years (now i am 36) and sometimes I feel very disappointed as my doctors do not find anything wrong with my body, so that’s why I started looking for other natural resources and came across your blog and this article. Thank you for this!

        I’ve been on acne medications for last 15 years, the last two medications (my dermatologist prescribed) are: tazorac and benzoyl peroxide, which I have been putting on my face for the last 7 years. It does control my acne but I do keep getting cystic pimples around my cheeks, chin, mouth and close to my ears & all happens before my period and the week during ovulation. I eat healthy, exercise now at least 30 minutes every day, drink tons of water, etc. but it does not seem to improve my acne. A few months ago, I purchased zinc picolinate and was taking one tablet of 22 mg everyday and saw just small improvement and decided to stopped using the two medications (tazorac and benzoyl peroxide) for three months and my face was all clear and had a nice glow! Unfortunately, this did not last and suddenly I started breaking out again, but this time it was so much worse than ever before and that’s when I decided to go back again to the prescribed creams.

        Now, I am trying the zinc gluconate as I was told this might help! Although this type of zinc gluconate (50mg) seems to upset my stomach. Would you please explain the difference between these two type of zinc (picolinate and gluconate) and which one would you suggest to start taking and for how long?

        I am looking forward to your answer and appreciate your time!

        Regards,
        Jacqueline

        Reply
  67. Hey Lara! I have a question… You said that “Zinc has powerful anti-inflammatory properties”. Can it interfere with an IUD’s inflammation, causing it to lose efficacy? Like, if I use zinc for the cramps caused by an IUD, can I still rely on the IUD’s 99,4% protection against pregnancy? Are there any studies on it?

    Reply
  68. Dr. Lara,

    I just don’t understand what is happening with my hormones, it has been a year and a half nightmare. I have been suffering hair loss/thinning, sebum upregulation, depression, fatigue, mood swings, and acne since stopping the pill in December 2015. My periods are normal and relatively painless, but these other physical and emotional symptoms have persisted. I supplemented with zinc, copper, and iron for 3 months through the guidance of my naturopath, and saw zero results. No sign of thyroid disorder, autoimmune, Celiac, nothing.

    I was already eating healthy throughout this process, but decided to double down on my efforts and cut out anything potentially inflammatory—-for the past three weeks I completely removed dairy, gluten, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. With the exception of a slice of pizza and a glass of wine, I’ve stuck to this diet and am eating more cruciferous veggies, cooked and raw, eggs, nuts, and fish/meat than I probably ever have in my life. I am sleeping more, exercising more, and doing other self-care things like yoga.

    Today, after 3 weeks of near-perfect green living, I noticed two painful papules like acne cysts on my back. They are hard and tender to the touch. I have been struggling with acne for the past year, but never in my life have I experienced something like this on my back. Even with perfect diet, could it almost be so healthy that my body is re-calibrating and getting worse before it gets better? I just don’t understand how it can be getting worse when I am literally avoiding all potential triggers.

    Help!

    Reply
    • 3 weeks is too soon for your skin to see any benefit from dairy-free. There’s a bit of a lag-time with skin so your current breakouts could still be a reflection of dairy and sugar you were having a couple of months back.
      As for PMS, do you take magnesium and vitamin B6? Those are the absolute best treatments for PMS. They work best if they’re taken throughout the cycle. Please see my post The PMS Solution.
      Finally, you’re not restricted carbs, are you?

      Reply
      • I dont yet take magnesium or B6, I saw that my body overreacted a bit when I tried Vitex so I am avoiding over supplementation. But I will see if that helps. And no, I’m not totally restricted carbs – I have been eating white potatoes, some jasmine/brown rice, and lots of sweet potatoes, also quite a bit of quinoa.

        Can my hormonal system be permanently, fundamentally compromised or thrown out of whack? I feel like the birth control has caused permanent perturbations to the overall structure and communication between my hormones. Just wondering if this can cause irreversible damage.

        Thank you for any additional guidance.

        Reply
      • Hi Dr. Lara,

        Just wanted to follow up and see if you had any thoughts on the questions above. Can birth control fundamentally compromise internal hormone structure, or thyroid production?

        Also, do you know of any naturopaths or bloggers that specifically focus on hormonal hair loss? Just wondering if you have a recommendation. I appreciated your posts on this topic and would love to learn more.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • I wouldn’t say the pill causes permanent damage to the hormonal system, but it can take a couple of years to recover.

          Reply
        • Dr. Andrew Goldstein definitely thinks the pill damages some people. Besides sex-hormone binding globulin it triggers, some people have a receptor type that is damaged by the progesterone.

          Reply
  69. Hi Dr. Briden,

    Thanks for all of your hard work and for supporting women around the world!

    A quick question about zinc dosage: you mention that long-term supplementation of 80+ mg of zinc can possibly interfere with the hippocampus. What about long-term supplementation of 50 mg? Would you consider that a safe, long-term dosage? I take 50 mg daily because that is the dosage sold at my local natural foods store, and I never thought twice about it until I read this post. Obviously, 50 mg is not the same as 80 mg, but since 50 mg is around two times the amount you prescribe, I thought I would ask.

    Thanks,

    Sidney

    Reply
    • 50 mg of zinc every day is possibly too much. Best to check with your doctor and maybe have a blood test for zinc and copper.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your quick response! As to changing the dosage: would you recommend taking a lower dosage (20-30 mg) every day over taking a higher dosage (50 mg) every other day? I would guess the former, but I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Thanks again!

        Reply
  70. Dr. Briden – my naturopath prescribed Cytozyme-O, Evening Primrose Oil, and BioFem PMS to take (I also take zinc picollinate once daily 25mg after reading this post and I have been on it for 2 months now and have noticed my cycles becoming more short as they were in the 40s (days) prior to zinc and now in the 30s). I researched about these medications and I don’t feel comfortable about taking them. I came my my ND with concerns of irregular cycles (about 9 average periods a year with no other abnormalities) and also increased male pattern hair growth. So she put me on these, which I haven’t started. I am currently taking 1000units of vitamin D, simple b complex vitamin, and zinc pic. 25mg once daily. I am considering starting primrose oil because it seems beneficial. I don’t see why I need to take bioFem PSM when I do not have any PMS symptoms as well as Cytozyme-O being a concentrate of a bovine ovary seems really scary! What are your thoughts on all this? Thank you so much in advance!

    Reply
  71. One more question…I see you said in the comments the supplementation shouldn’t need to continue forever as long as one is eating red meat. Does this apply to chronic conditions such as PCOS?

    Reply
  72. Dr. Lara, how do we know Zinc is doing anything for us? 30mg daily hasn’t done anything that makes me believe I am benefitting. I know I need it, because I have PCOS and was on daily Antacids for my entire childhood and young adult life. I just wish I’d know it was helping.

    Reply
  73. Hi Dr. Lara,
    Thanks for your book and all your wonderful thorough research. You’ve been a huge resource for me. I recently decided to get the copper IUD and I’m very happy with it, however I currently have BV which it seems may partly be triggered by that. I also took antibiotics for years as a teen for my acne (before i realized how horrible that was for me).

    My question is, I think part of the BV is caused excess sugar in my diet…and I presume I may have candida from the antibiotics killing off good bacteria..what are your thoughts on a candida cleanse? Or should I just cut out sugar completely?

    And is dark chocolate ok?

    Thank you!!

    Reply
  74. I suspect myself to be deficient to zinc, however when I’m trying to supplement (I’ve tried Zinc chelate and picolinate), my body react to it in an interesting way. The next day I get fogy head, muscles aches, nausea and bloating in git track, this last 1-3 days depending of the dosage. I could tolerate no more than 5 mg, but this is not therapeutic dosage. I suspect copper being displaced from metalo-enzymes and causing this reactions, but I could be wrong. Id be interested to hear if anyone had similar issues.

    Reply
  75. Hi:)
    I took zinc and my cycle is regular now, but…I can’t understand one thing : my fertile mucus occure 7 days befor my period. What does it mean ? That I don’t ovulate ?
    I ‘ve read your book, but I’m not sure how to explain this.
    Thank dr Lara for shering knowlage with us:)

    Reply
    • Fertile mucus in the luteal phase usually means that 1) you did not ovulate, or 2) you ovulated but did not make enough progesterone. Are you tracking your temperatures?

      Reply
  76. Hi Dr. Briden! Thank you for this post, it has helped me immensely. Do you have a recommendation for a test to determine if a woman is deficient in zinc?

    My full story–and the reason I ask–is this: I’ve had intermittent secondary amenorrhea since I first got my period at age 14, mostly due to being an athlete and disordered eating. Most recently (I’m 34) I went 6 months without my period. I finally got it again after two months of following your guidance (Vitex, vitamin D, reducing my exercise, and gaining a bit of weight). The funny thing was that I’m not even sure if any/all of those things helped, because it was really the moment I added zinc that my cycle returned (within 2 days!). Then, after a mild panic attack at work this month, I cut out ALL of my vitamins (including zinc) and for the last two weeks have been on a vitamin fast. During that time, I reached the 21 day-mark after my last period (the first after 6 months), and I felt intense ovulation pain on my right side. This was new to me, and only by researching it a bit did I figure out that’s what it was. Then, at around the 26 day mark I felt very intense cramps and I figured my period would start any day. But then 27 and 28 passed, and nothing. Then day 29, and nothing. Then day 30, and nothing again. So, that morning around 10am I figured, why not just take a zinc pill today and see if that works. So, I did. And that same day at 7pm, my period started.

    Long story short, I’m convinced zinc is some magic elixir but I’m also aware of how nutty that sounds. Do you have any recommendation on a test I could request of my doctor to determine if I’m deficient in zinc? Thanks in advance for your help!

    Reply
    • I usually recommend a simple “serum zinc” blood tests. But you’ll need to stop the zinc supplement for a week or so, and not have zinc-containing foods (red meat) for 24 hours.

      Reply
  77. Hi Lara, I have off the Pill now for 2 years after being on it for 5 and I am still not dealing well with Acne on chin/Cheeks/Neck + oily skin. I have been seeing a naturpath locally and have tackled gut health first. Now that I have reduced that inflammation I am trying to tackle my hormones. I had a ultrasound that picked up cysts 2 years ago but I did not confirm with Blood test if I was actually PCOS. I have had two children no issues, Regular cycles. It’s just my skin a major issue and a little anxiety. I am currently taking Magnesium, Zinc, Activated B, Primrose Oil and a supplement called Femi-nan (By Eagle) she has also said to take Indolplex. MY question is. Am I doing too much? I know that you specialize in this field so I am very interested to know. I also eat to a blood type diet – A so this is no meat/wheat/Dairy/Gluten. I basically live on rice/Miso/Peanut butter/Gluten free bread. I do find it challenging to eat a variety on a restricted eating plan but I have felt this is what cured my IBS. Please help! Thanks JH

    Reply
  78. Thank you so much Laura for this article on zinc deficiency. I have recently figured out that I am zinc deficient (white spots on fingernails plus a load of symptoms including depression and hypothyroidism) and have been taking 30mg of zinc supplement for the past fortnight and have been feeling better . I was just wondering if I you would recommend taking this dosage indefinitely or should that be enough or should I take a reduced dose after a while? Thanks for your fabulously informative newsletter and voice of reason in this field! Valerie

    Reply
  79. Could white spots on fingernails indicate other deficiencys? I take zinc picolinate supplements 30mg every day. I’ve done it for some months now because of my acne. My acne is better. but I still have the white spots on my fingernails.

    Reply
      • I have taken Magnesium and those spots went away. I had those white spots on my wedding fingers my entire life prior to taking magnesium supplements. A friend told me magnesium helps calcium get into the cells instead of floating around. She was a very unscientific friend but since magnesium is deficient in most of us, it wouldn’t harm to take.

        Reply
  80. Hi Lara,

    I wondered what the normal range for testosterone is? Free and total? And are my LH and FSH good for day 3? I find all the ranges vary so much at different labs I have no clue if they are really high or low? My hormones results are..

    Prolactin 7.6 ng/mL
    SHBG 89.0 nmol/l
    Testosterone % free + weakly bound 6.7%
    Testosterone free+w bound 3.6 ng/dl
    Testosterone total LC/MS 54.0ng/dL
    LH (day 3) 5.5
    FSH (day 3) 5.5

    Thanks so so much!

    Reply
  81. Hello Dr. Lara…I have read that you should not take anything that alters the brain for too long, even natural herbs such as Ashwagandha and have read anectodal reports that people have had withdrawal effects coming off of Ashwagandha. How long do you recommend one takes this herb when treating Adrenal Androgen Excess and is there anything non-herbal that would give the energy effect that Rhodiola seems to give? Thanks

    Reply
  82. I just came off birth control, which I took for a variety of reasons from irregularity, painful cramps, and excessive bleeding and acne. I have acne read a multitude of your posts on it and resolving acne through natural methods like this.

    I’m curious if for acne, do you recommend it in a creme that I would apply directly to my face or a tablet? Same for berberine.

    Also, off topic, but might you know of a natural herb that could help alleviate, or lessen the intensity of, anxiety?

    Reply
    • Interesting question about topical zinc. I haven’t used it that way, but it could help. I usually ask patients to take a liquid zinc with food (it’s most absorbable). Magnesium can be very helpful for anxiety.

      Reply
      • Dr. Briden, how long can I take chelated magnesium for anxiety and sleep problems? It’s safe taking it for 6 months? Thank you!

        Reply
  83. So here I sit with a bottle of Berberine, zinc, a probiotic, turmeric, and magnesium… I have PCOS and I bought your book, and am trying to take it on. But I am uncertain when to take these through the day. So far I have been taking zinc and a probiotic in the a.m. and Mag and Berb at night…

    Reply
  84. Dr. Lara, I have low Estrogen and High 5a-Reductase. I am 24. Don’t ovulate, but trying to. Have high Cortisol, High Adrenal Androgens, PCOS. Question: i want to take Curcumin, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola and Evening Primrose Oil. Do you know if any of these will lower my Estrogen further? I don’t want that. I know they will help with Adrenal Androgens, 5a, Cortisol, but I don’t know if they will lower my Estrogen. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  85. Hi Lara,

    How long do you suggest taking Zinc? My naturo prescribed me 30mg twice a day. I’ve been struggling with acne, hair loss, the whole bit. I have now been taking for two months exactly. When do you suggest stopping?

    Reply
    • that’s a lower dose than I’d normally recommend, but zinc should improve skin within 3-4 weeks. Hair will take a minimum of 2 months to show improvement.

      Reply
  86. Dear dr Lara !

    I want to thank you with all my heart and soul:)
    I lost my period for almost two years after comming off birth control pills . I tried a few things to get it back, but finally I gave up, went to ginecologist and got prescription for birth control pills due to regulate my periods ( !!!) . I was so desperated that I decided to do what doctor told me;/
    BUT I found your blog , started read everything and I didn’t refill my presription for bcp ! I just promised to my self that I ‘ll try again to get my period naturally with advices from this blog and your book 🙂 And I did it ! A few weeks ago I got my period back :)))

    Dr Briden , you are wonderful person, you can’t even imagine how much your blog means to me 🙂 Really thank you for for being here for us !

    Best wishes !
    Ola

    Ps. Girls, if you are in a similar situation , just belive that our bodies are smarter than we 🙂 Don’t take , no matter what:)

    Reply
      • Hi Ola!

        I am in the same position as you were. Stopped with the pill in august last year (2016), and still have not got my period back, 7 months later. I am taking zink, magnesium D3 av B vitamin, as well as selen. I have now been taking this since January 16th. (soon two months). Was there anything else you did differently, that you would like to recommend to me? 🙂

        Best,
        Amra

        Reply
      • Hi Ola!

        I am in the same position as you were. Stopped with the pill in august last year (2016), and still have not got my period back, 7 months later. I am taking zink, magnesium D3 av B vitamin, as well as selen. I have now been taking this since January 16th. (soon two months). Was there anything else you did differently, that you would like to recommend to me? 🙂

        Best,
        Amra

        Reply
  87. Lara, why is berberine combined with zinc such a good treatment for acne? I’ve been using it for months now with real good results. I found this treatment option from your book. But I’ve also read online that berberine can be dangerous taking for too long, is this true? There are to little information on this herb. When I’m Skipping berberine for too many days my skin starts breaking out again. But I always skip berberine one day a week. Would love to hear from you.

    Reply
    • I have some patients who need to take berberine for longer. So we take breaks. Stop 2 days per week, and after 4-8 weeks, stop for 1 week. But over time, as long as you’re avoiding sugar and dairy, you should find that you don’t need it.

      Reply
  88. Hi Lara, I have not had a period for 3 months since going off the pill. I have read your wonderful book and have just started taking Vitex to help encourage it to return. I have a question regarding this. I have been taking a food based pre natal (Pure Synergy) along with a magnesium supplement. Should I discontinue with the pre natal until my period returns and just take zinc, magnesium and vitex instead for now? (the prenatal has 30mg of zinc) and If my period does return and I conceive should I stop taking Vitex or should I wait until the end of the first trimester before stopping?

    Your book has given me so much hope in getting my period back naturally, I cannot thank you enough for writing it!

    Reply
  89. Dr. Lara,

    I know you say it takes 3 months to ovulate, but I just started taking 15mg of zinc 3 days ago and suddenly I am having fertile, ovulation like mucus. It’s like a miracle! My vaginal area used to burn, because it was so dry, but now it feels lubricated and I have egg white discharge. Can this happen without ovulation? 3 months ago, I tried D-Chiro-Inositol for about 5 weeks and never had this effect. In fact, I gained 15 lbs on it (no change in diet) and had headaches from it. I took a multivitamin when I remembered the last 3 months (which probably anounted to 2-3 weeks over all) and have been taking a Probiotic the last 3 months daily. But there was no egg white mucos and my vaginal did not feel lubricated, it felt very dry. What do you think? Can Zinc work this fast?

    Reply
  90. Dear Lara Briden,

    Amino acids seem to be deficient and also a treatment in a lot of people, what is your opinion on protein powders? Thann you very much!

    Reply
  91. Hello Lara:) Do you know of any DIM supplement brands without the indole 3 carbinol? I would value your expert opinion:) thanks in advance!

    Reply
  92. Dr. Lara,

    I was reading that inserting a tampon soaked in chilled (plain, of course) yogurt into the vagina can treat or cure vaginal infection. Have you ever heard of this? I am thinking about trying it. Is it okay if the yogurt stays inside?

    Reply
      • Thank you!! Have you ever cured an infection and completely gotten rid of it this way, though? Or did it just help? I get both bacterial and yeast.

        Reply
        • My grandmother and mother have been using yogurt for about 1/2 a century. They recommended it for the below and it worked every single time with no problems. The symptoms didn’t return like they do with antibiotics.

          1. I had a cottage cheese looking discharge – it worked.
          2. Excruciating pain as a result of sex in sea water and it was so dry and sandpaper like – it worked.
          3. A burning sensation when I urinated – it worked even though our exits are two different points but probably because I also smeared the yogurt on the the labia aswell.
          4. One time it smelt unfresh down there – it worked.

          It took a few days.

          I have heard that some infections down there can be caused by too much sugar so I eliminated sugar.

          The vagina is self cleaning so it will expel the yogurt.

          Reply
        • Yes, I agree with Lil Chicka. Women have been doing it for generations. I also often recommend inserting probiotic powder. There are some probiotic products designed for intravaginal administration.

          Reply
          • Hello Lara and Lil Chicka,
            I have been doing douches with bicabonate + mineral water for the past week, 3 times per day, recommended by my naturalist doctor, to cure my vaginal infection (not sure if yeast or bacteria). I am feeling better in the whole (like the infection was draining a bit of me), and as the days pass it gets easier to insert the douch (didn’t realise how sensitive I was before..), and also my sex drive is increasing (maybe be the time month! Very interesting. Have you heard of it or used it? Would be nice to read more about, since there’s not o much on the internet.
            Thank you for all wonderful and very importante information about our body!
            Much appreciated,
            J.

  93. Dr. Lara,

    Should one continue taking vitamins when there are no noticable improvements in energy or symptoms? I have taken a multivitamin for about 2 months with 12 mg zinc picolinate, 100 mg magnesium citrate, plus 120 mg magnesium glycinate, 500 iu vitamin d…all minerals, vitamin k1 & k2, good amounts of b complex. I have pcos with high dheas and normal testosterone, also hypothyroidism and high cortisol at night.

    Reply
    • I’ve found multivitamins to be quite ineffective for changing symptoms.

      I generally prescribe single nutrients at higher, therapeutic doses. And preferably a good quality zinc like a liquid or a low excipient capsule.

      Reply
      • Thank you for the extremely interesting article – and well written content on your webpage. I wish I would have found this 10 years earlier!
        Could you name a brand of zinc you think is easily absorbable? I tried Zinc and the first day I felt great, the second it made me extremely unwell – I was for two days so out of order that I did not dare to take it again. It might have been my brand? Therefore I resorted to multivitamins – but reading your post I think Zinc could be a game changer for me, yet, I definitely do not want to feel that ‘sea-sick/nauseated’ again.

        Reply
        • The trick with zinc is to take it directly after food (within 10 minutes). And then maybe eat a bit more after.
          If you still have problems, then it can be a sign of low stomach acid.

          Reply
          • Thank you so much for your reply! I have purchased your Kindle book yesterday and take exactely the Zinc type your recommend. Have now ordered a liquid zinc to see if I can tolerate that better. But what you mentioned that my intolerance to Zinc might point to low stomach acid makes total sense – I was assuming this for a long time but was never sure how to resolve this 100%. The information in the book is very hands-on and well written – so I have now ordered one missing the supplements and will take them consistently for a while (I can vouch for some of your content already that it works – as some of it I integrated already such as the Omegas which make a huge difference).

          • THANK YOU AGAIN! I have to give this feedback so that other women are empowered. This simple regime is so remarkable – I follow your advice in your book and reading the articles and comments on your blog here! What a wealth of information and most of all IT WORKS! I had some years fatigue even though I ate clean (took all the offenders out dairy, gluten etc.) – but I still had this nagging fatigue which only slightly shifted – Zinc made all the difference. This is simply unbelivable – as it literally worked within 2 days. I feel more energised and aware. I will give your book to any young girl coming of age. What I could have saved myself hours of pain and fatigue if I had this knowledge earlier. THANK you for your dedication and the free sharing of this work!

  94. Dr. Lara,

    I never feel better after taking my multivitamin, even after extra magnesium. I have pcos with high dheas and hypoyhroidism plus cortisol is high at night. Shouldn’t I feel better? I think there is 12 mg of zinc picolinate in my multi, plus 100 mg magnesium citrate, 500 iu d3, plus i add 100 mg magnesium glycinate. I have no energy, no symptom improvement at all. Should one take vitamins even when there are no noticable improvements? I have taken them for 2 months now. Please, help

    Reply
  95. Dr. Lara, I have been told by Dr. Prior I can try Prometrium to increase the glandular tissue in my breasts prior to pregnancy (I don’t have enough due to IGT and cannot breastfeed) and I was wondering what your opinion is on taking this, would you hesitate? The recommended amount was 3 pills a day during a certain phase of the cycle and I can’t recall how much 3 pills amounts to at this moment. I am 24 and I have PCOS in the adrenal form. Anyway, I do not ovulate, but I am doing what I can to ovulate without the Prometrium and will continue to ovulate aside from Prometrium indefinitely. I know you recommend ovulation first, but in this situation, whether I ovulate on my own or not, factoring in that I am young, what is your opinion on me starting the Prometrium?

    Reply
    • Sorry, that’s supposed to read, I will continue to TRY to ovulate aside from the Prometrium indefinitely. Ie: I’m not relying on it to ovulate, just to help with other things!

      Reply
  96. Dr. Lara,

    For Adrenal Androgens and Hypothyroid may you take vitamins, phosphatidylserine, rhodiola, ashwagandha? Do you think this is too many things together?

    Reply
  97. Thank you so much for this! I have been on Yaz for only 2 months, but want to come off of it. I feel like I’m just using it as a “band aid” to get my cycle regular, when what I really need to do is fix the root of the problem. I know that coming off of hormonal pills like Yaz can cause a big acne problem, so I want to start taking zinc to help with that. Do you recommend going with a higher dose since Yaz has such high androgen properties? Thank you again!

    Reply
  98. Hi Lara

    Zinc has been wonderful for improving my skin quality – do you ever use the zinc taste test to assess deficiency in your patients? Before supplementing the zinc solution tasted like water and after 6 months I taste a definite sweetness. I think its a great way of checking whether your zinc dose is working as well as blood tests.

    Thanks for another great post!

    Reply
  99. Hello,

    I find that zinc makes my acne worse unfortunately 🙁
    May I ask how do you know if you have pcos? I’ve been having period problems since my son was born and I never previously had them. Does my testosterone seem high to you? I had my hormones tested and here are the results…

    Prolactin 7.6 no/mL
    SHBG 89.0 nail/l
    Testosterone % free + weakly bound 6.7%
    Testosterone free+w bound 3.6 ng/dl
    Testosterone total LC/MS 54.0ng/dL
    LH 2.6
    FSH 8

    All of the results are in range (according to my doctor) but the testosterone total is at the very top of the in range results.

    Thanks love your page!

    Reply
  100. Hi Lara, this blog is fantastic! I’ve always struggled with acne on my chin area and have taken zinc on and off for years to try help. I now have the copper iud and have heard this can deplete zinc (my acne has been worse) – should I maintain keeping a high dose (60mg a day) to balance this? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Good question. 60 mg per day is quite a lot. Even with a copper IUD, I would be reluctant to stay that high.
      A blood test will help you to decide. Stop the zinc for at least 24 hours before the test.

      Reply
  101. I believe zinc has helped somewhat with my horrible perimenopausal pms. It’s hard to tell because I’m also taking a lot of other vitamins and supplements, so who knows. I haven’t noticed any difference in my hair loss, but hair loss can be caused by so many things. My concern with zinc lies in its tendency to deplete copper. Dr. Briden, you stated in this post that continuously supplementation at 80 mg causes problems. So I don’t need to be concerned with continuous supplementation at 30 mg, or do you recommend taking a break? My hormones are all over the place now, and I am a little paranoid about throwing them out of balance even more. Again, many thanks for your thoughtful and informative posts.

    Reply
  102. Hi Lara, thank you for another great post and informing us so well. In your book you mention that taking zinc for a few days prior to our period helps with PMS (which works for me). Is it ok to take zinc long term throughout the cycle? Last year I was treated with (strong) antibiotics for H. Pylori, and my cycles have been getting shorter since, with all signs of low progesterone (spotting, blood clots, breast pain etc.). I researched and started taking Zinc Carnosine to help restore my gut lining and it seems to help. Is it ok to keep supplementing with zinc and zinc carnosine throughout my cycles or will this cause issues (such as copper levels or other things)? And is it possible to get “too used” to zinc supplements that they stop working? Thank you.

    Reply
    • It should be ok to take 30 or so mg zinc every day for a few months. And then maybe take a break.
      No, your body won’t “get used to it”, but excess zinc can cause other problems (as I mention briefly in the post).

      Reply
  103. Is there a specific type of zinc that you recommend or is better than another? I am getting 10mg in my daily vitamin but it look like that’s not enough.

    Reply
  104. Thank you for your blog and your ebook your knowledge has truly been a blessing in my life! I have been working with a naturopath to get to the bottom of a myriad of symptoms that have left me unable to work. I also have been dealing with endometriosis and a hormone imbalance for some time now. I had been suspecting I wasn’t ovulating and I remembered reading in your book about my Hpa axis dysfunction and my corpus luteum needing zinc. Well my zinc was deficient. I told my naturopath I suspect that if I haven’t been ovulating after supplementing with zinc I would in about three months hopefully. I have been charting my cycles and low and behold this month, three months later i had my first sustained temperature rise and return of libido. We tested my progesterone and I had ovulated! My progesterone was a 7, Which is higher than it’s been on any of my past tests. Although it should be higher I am grateful I got to the first step of ovulation all thanks to your book and blog because that is why I asked to have my zinc levels checked. Now to get my progesterone up. My question to you is if it took three months of supplementation for me to ovulate in three more months will I possibly see a rise in my Progesterone production? as I am intolerant to vitex and my body did not agree with progesterone cream. If you have time to answer that would be great if not just THANK YOU! I am so grateful.

    Sincerely,
    Karly

    Reply
    • Hi Karly, Now that zinc is in place, you should hopefully observe a steady increase in progesterone. Keep in mind that progesterone is tricky to test, so be careful not to read too much into a simple progesterone result. A temperature chart will give a clearer picture.
      Please see The Right Way to Test Progesterone.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your reply. My naturopath has me taking Thorne citramins with Copper and iron as we are suspecting a histamine issue they said the trace minerals will provide me with cofactors to help clear histamine if that is a problem. Also my past tests showed low ferritin and deficient iodine so the citramins had everything I need. There is 21 mg of zinc in supplement. Being that I was deficient does the break after 3-4 months of supplementation not apply to me since I’m trying to get my levels up? How long does it usually take to correct a zinc deficiency in your experience? Hope to hear back and again thank you.

        Reply
        • 21 mg is a pretty low dose, so it should be fine to take for longer. It might take quite a while to get your levels up at that dose. Please speak to your naturopath.

          Reply
  105. Are zinc supplements safe to take with licorice and peony? I just started taking licorice and peony so not sure if I should wait and see what that does to help me before trying zinc. I currently get 15mg of zinc a day from my multivitamins.

    Reply
  106. Thank you so much Laura. My 17 year old daughter is bad at taking her daily zinc to ward off the colds she’s prone to. But now she’s read this post she’s more likely take it for the spots and period pain and regularity 😀. Vegetarians who don’t eat nuts or seeds NEED supplements!

    Reply
  107. Dear Dr. Lara,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for writing this blog and each of your blogs every month! You are a life line and I admire you so much! I love what you do and are doing for women. You are a beautiful person, Dr. Lara, it shows through in your compassionate work for women. You have a way of making the reader feel safe, comfortable and important, because you feel trustworthy, genuine and kind. Unfortunately, those qualities are lacking in the bulk of healthcare today. I wish you could blog twice a month. It is the highlight of my month to read a new blog post from you! I’m so happy you are here on this earth doing what you do. Bless you, Lara. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Sweetheart. Thank you so much for your comment and your encouragement. Yes, I do genuinely want to help you all. I’m glad my posts are useful.

      Reply
      • So many of us feel the same way but Anna said it best!

        At my darkest place, you were there for me. A “Natural Doctor” on the internet saved me from inner turmoil due to hormones (and not because I was going crazy) and that’s why I called you the Queen of Hormones. I hope it catches on.

        Everyone, the best way to make sure she can keep doing this is buy her book. We need to get behind those who help us.

        Reply

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