Do you remember back when the pandemic first began (I know, it seems like forever ago now)?
You probably remember an email that went viral that was supposedly written by a pathologist named James Robb. In it, he suggested zinc lozenges could effectively block the coronavirus.
As with anything that circulates online, there was a lot of skepticism. But it turns out that James Robb was one of the first virologists in the world to work with coronaviruses — and he knew what he was talking about, as one of my colleagues wrote here.
Months after, here we are presented with facts from a study that looked at the zinc levels of those infected with COVID-19 — the survivors as well as those that lost their lives to the virus. And it looks like if there’s one thing you can do to guard against a severe bout of coronavirus, it’s a safe, natural trace mineral that people have been taking for years to help fight off other viruses, like the common cold.
Inflammation and mortality
Zinc is a mineral that past research has shown can actually block the replication and reproduction of multiple viruses in your blood — hence why your doctor may have told you to reach for it when you have that cold or even the flu.
Yet, how the mineral acted against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) was still largely a mystery, an oversight researchers from Hospital Del Mar in Barcelona in Spain decided to correct.
The team conducted a retrospective study on 611 patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 between March and April of 2020. They delved into everything from demography and pre-existing chronic conditions, to laboratory results (including baseline zinc levels) and the treatments the patients received.
They compared these factors to the “clinical severity” of each patient’s COVID-19 infection and their risk of death.
And what it all came down to was that if you get COVID, zinc could be among the deciding factors between whether you live or die.
In fact, while the average baseline level of zinc for all patients rang in at 61 mcg/dl, for the patients that didn’t survive the virus, that level was drastically lower at only 43 mcg/dl. For comparison, the average zinc level among survivors was higher than the overall patient average at 63 mcg/dl.
Based on their findings, the researchers say that plasma zinc levels lower than 50mcg/dl increase the risk of death from Covid by 2.3 times.
Conversely, for each unit increase of plasma zinc the risk of death drops by a full seven percent.
And if that doesn’t make you want to add more zinc to your diet, there’s more…
The research also showed that higher zinc levels correlated with lower levels of interleukin-6 — the proteins that indicate systemic inflammation caused by the virus.
Considering that systemic inflammation, and the cytokine storm that goes with it, is thought to be responsible for much of the destruction (including liver damage) Covid wreaks on the body, this means that zinc could guard against long-term effects of the virus as well as death.
Getting more zinc
So the question isn’t whether you should include zinc in your Covid protection plan, but how.
And while there’s no hard and fast rule, the Mayo Clinic does offer some answers saying, “The recommended daily amount of zinc is 8 milligrams (mg) for women and 11 mg for adult men.”
You can find zinc in shellfish, legumes, dairy, eggs and of course, an easy daily supplement. The choice is yours.
COVID-19 and the role of chronic inflammation in patients with obesity — International Journal of Obesity
Systemic Inflammation in COVID-19 Could Be Responsible for Liver Damage – Gastroenterology Advisor
Zinc– Mayo Clinic