How much zinc in fish & other seafood?

The only fish high in zinc are anchovies & sardines. But, other seafood, such as oysters, carbs, lobster, octopus, and clams are excellent dietary sources of zinc. In fact, oysters are the richest seafood in zinc, containing 37.9 mg of zinc per 100g!

How much zinc in fish?

Actually, most fish contain low to moderate amounts of zinc. Only anchovies and sardines are rich in zinc, providing more than 10% of the Daily Value (DV) per serving!

In fact, anchovies are the richest fish in zinc. They have 1.72 mg of zinc per 100g. A medium serving provides 13% of the DV!

zinc (mg)
per 100g
zinc (mg)
per serving
% DV
Zinc in fish.[1]

Swordfish, mackerel, tuna, herring, mullet, catfish, cod, and salmon have a low zinc content. A serving provides only 3-5% of the DV. Other fish have an even lower zinc content.

What’s the zinc content of seafood?

All mollusks are excellent dietary sources of zinc. Oysters are the richest food in zinc, containing 37.9 mg of zinc per 100g. A serving of oysters provides 3 times the recommended daily intake of zinc!

Other seafood with a high zinc content are carbs, lobster, octopus, and clams. A serving provides more than 20% of the DV.

zinc (mg)
per 100g
zinc (mg)
per serving
% DV
Zinc in seafood.

Seafood with a medium zinc content are squid, scallops, and shrimps. They provide 10-13% of the DV per serving.

Do we absorb zinc in fish & other seafood?

Actually, fish and other seafood have the highest absorption rates of zinc. We absorb approximately 50% of zinc in fish and other seafood.[2]

What inhibits zinc absorption?

First, phytate in plant-based foods significantly inhibits the absorption of zinc. Phytate has a strong negative effect on zinc absorption from composite meals. These anti-nutrient compounds bind to zinc in the intestine and form an insoluble complex that inhibits zinc absorption.[3]

Foods high in phytate are beans, whole grains, herbs, seeds, and nuts. Our bodies absorb only 5-10% of zinc in phytate-rich foods.

Meat, dairy, fish, and other seafood have a positive effect on zinc absorption from plant-based sources, though.[4]

The amount of protein in a meal plays a key role in zinc absorption. Especially, if high-phytate foods are consumed.

Furthermore, high amounts of iron from supplements can have a negative effect on zinc absorption. On the contrary, iron in foods doesn’t negatively affect the absorption of zinc. Even fortified foods with iron have no adverse effect on zinc absorption.[5]

Can we get too much zinc from fish or other seafood?

The zinc in foods is unlikely to cause zinc toxicity. Only by eating too many oysters, you may exceed the maximum safe dose of zinc from food. Other seafood won’t cause zinc overload.

Practically, most people may consume extremely high doses of zinc only by taking zinc supplements.

Should we eat fish or other seafood to get zinc?

Actually, there is no need to consume fish or other seafood in order to get adequate amounts of zinc. There are so many foods high in zinc that can help us meet our daily needs.

Other animal-based foods high in zinc

Certainly, red meat, poultry, pork, fish, and seafood are great dietary sources of zinc. Eggs and dairy products also contain some zinc

Actually, animal-based foods are the main sources of zinc in the standard American diet. In fact, beef contributes 20% of zinc intakes from food in the United States. as it’s commonly consumed.

Plant-based foods high in zinc

Oatmeal, beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains are great plant-based sources of zinc.

Soaking beans, seeds, nuts, and grains increases the bioavailability of zinc, as their phytate content is significantly decreased.

Breakfast cereals are also high in zinc. They’re often fortified with zinc. Actually, fortified breakfast cereals are a major source of zinc in the U.S. diet!

On the contrary, fruits and vegetables contain very little zinc.

But, vegetarians and vegans should consume high amounts of plant-based foods high in zinc, as plants have a low bioavailability of zinc. Mainly due to their high content of anti-nutrient compounds, like phytates and polyphenols. Hence, vegetarians and vegans might benefit from zinc supplementation.[6]

In fact, zinc deficiency is very common worldwide. About 2 billion people are deficient in zinc.[7]

You’ll find a wide variety of zinc supplements on iHerb.

How much zinc do I need a day?

The recommended daily intake of zinc is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men.

Zinc is important for good health. It’s required for the activity of over 100 enzymes! Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in the human body after iron.

For instance, zinc plays a key role in energy metabolism, protein synthesis, sense of taste/smell, immune system, blood sugar levels, digestion, bone health, reproduction, wound healing, and central nervous system.

Also, high concentrations of zinc are found in the retina of the eye. Zinc is important for good vision!

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