Zinc may galvanize body against COVID-19
Studies show mineral fights coronaviruses on two fronts Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – March 25, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:37am
Can zinc lozenges and syrups galvanize our bodies' defenses against COVID-19? Research and clinical trials have demonstrated its ability to lessen the severity and duration of similar severe acute respiratory (SARS) coronaviruses and would likely help your body put up a stronger fight against this latest strain.
Inside your body, zinc galvanizes your immune system on two fronts – it has natural antimicrobial properties and it boosts the white blood cells that fight off coronaviruses.
In 1996, a group of 100 workers at a clinic in Cleveland, Ohio who had caught colds were divided into two groups to test zinc lozenges against the upper respiratory infection. Half the clinic workers were givien lozenges with the same zinc dosage as common over-the-counter lozenges such as Cold-Eeze every two hours as long as they had cold symptoms, the other half were given a placebo lozenge. The group that took the zinc lozenges got over their symptoms in 4.4 days, which is more than three days faster than the 7.6 days for the placebo group.
Since the Cleveland clinic experiment, numerous other studies have confirmed that zinc containing lozenges and syrups do indeed lessen the length and severity of viruses. And, the way it works suggests that a person taking zinc supplements could fend off coronaviruses such as COVID-19 before they can really get established in the body.
This gets back to how zinc bolsters the body's viral defenses.
Taking zinc supplements increases lymphocytes, white blood cells that are part of our bodies' frontline defenses against viruses and other diseases. While zinc supplementation is most effective on those with a deficiency of the mineral, even those with healthy levels seem to benefit from having an extra dose.
Zinc also really does not get along too well with the corona family of viruses. A 2010 study led by researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands showed that zinc stops coronaviruses from replicating by blocking a key enzyme needed for the process.
While the Leiden study does not definitely show that zinc would attack COVID-19 with the same ferocity, it did inhibit the replication of a very close relative, the SARS coronavirus of 2003.
While it will likely be years before we have clinical evidence of zinc's COVID-19 fighting abilities, ensuring your body has plenty of this mineral the body needs anyway may very well be another way to help yourself and the spread of coronavirus.
Or as Dr. Ian Tullberg from UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital put it, "zinc is something that will not hurt you, and there may be some benefit."
Dr. James Robb, a University of Colorado School of Medicine MD, pathologist, and molecular virologist was more direct in an email he sent to friends and family.
"Stock up now with zinc lozenges," he penned in a letter to friends and family. "These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY 'cold-like' symptoms beginning."
Like all supplements, it is possible to overdo it with zinc. Research suggests that up to 150 milligrams of zinc is considered safe for adults, or about 11 lozenges for most brands.
For individuals not under physician monitored zinc treatment, the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommends the following upper daily dosages – 40mg for adults; 34mg for adolescents age 14-18; 23mg for children ages 9-13; 12mg for 4-8 years; 7mg for 1-3 years; 5mg for 7-12 months; and 4mg for 0-6 months.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Metal Tech News would like to recognize Todd Neff, a UCHealth journalist that wrote the May 23 article Coronavirus: To zinc or not to zinc, which provided sources for some of the material used in this article.