Zinc: Another Natural Supplement for COVID?

zinc reduces risk and severity of COVID

From the very beginning of the pandemic, people have been talking about zinc for COVID. But zinc is not one of the natural supplements that has had a lot of published studies for COVID. Until now.

Zinc is crucial for your immune system. It is required for T cells, thymic hormones and the proper functioning of white blood cells. It also has direct antiviral activity. It is simply one of the most important nutrients for immunity. Having high enough levels of zinc is essential for proper immune function; zinc deficiency results in increased susceptibility to infection. Including, apparently infection with COVID.

In what seems to be the first published study of zinc and COVID, zinc demonstrated preventative effects. The study is small, including 30 people in the control group and 90 people in the COVID group. Zinc levels were significantly lower in the people who got COVID than in the control group, suggesting that zinc may help prevent COVID. In the people who did get COVID, zinc levels were significantly lower in the patients who required oxygen, suggesting that zinc may prevent progression to more severe disease.

This study provides the first published suggestion that having adequate zinc levels helps prevent infection and helps prevent serious symptoms if you do become infected.

This published study builds on an earlier hint presented online by Spanish researchers at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ESCMID) Conference on Coronavirus Disease, which has not yet been peer reviewed. The researchers measured zinc levels and then tracked COVID outcomes in 249 hospitalized COVID patients.

The first finding was that people with lower zinc levels had higher inflammation. The most important finding was that blood levels of zinc were much lower in people who died of COVID. The average zinc level in the people who died from their COVID was 43mcg/dL; the average zinc level in the people who survived COVID was 63mcg/dL.

For general health support, the dose of zinc is around 15-20mg a day. Zinc competes with copper for absorption. You want 10 times as much zinc as copper. So, you might want to take 1-2mg of copper with your zinc if you are supplementing zinc long term.

Mymensingh Med J. 2022 Jan;31(1):216-222

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