Zinc Is Key for Covid -19 Treatment and Prevention
Your immune system is your first line of defense against all disease, especially infectious disease, and there are many different ways to boost your immune system and improve its function. One nutrient that plays a very important role in your immune system’s ability to ward off viral infections is zinc.
Zinc gluconate,1 zinc acetate2 and zinc sulphate3 have all been shown to reduce the severity and duration of viral infections such as the common cold. Zinc also appears to be the key ingredient in treatment protocols using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).
The reason for this is because HCQ is a zinc ionophore (zinc transport molecule),4,5 meaning it’s a drug that improves your cells’ uptake of zinc. Once inside your cells, zinc prevents viral replication.6 This is also why zinc and zinc ionophores need to be taken very early in the illness, or as a prophylactic.
The problem is that zinc is largely insoluble and cannot easily enter through the fatty wall of your cells. Getting all the way into the cell is crucial, as this is where the viral replication occurs. This is why zinc ionophores are so important.
Aside from hydroxychloroquine, other natural, and safer, zinc ionophores include quercetin and epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG). If given early, zinc along with a zinc ionophore should, at least theoretically, help lower the viral load and prevent the immune system from becoming overloaded.
Zinc Is Crucial for Healthy Immune Function
Zinc is crucial for healthy immune function7 — like vitamin D, it actually helps regulate your immune function8 — and a combination of zinc with a zinc ionophore was in 2010 shown to inhibit SARS coronavirus in vitro. In cell culture, it also blocked viral replication within minutes.9
Importantly, zinc deficiency has been shown to impair immune function.10 As noted in a 2013 paper on zinc deficiency:11
“Zinc is a second messenger of immune cells, and intracellular free zinc in these cells participate in signaling events. Zinc … is very effective in decreasing the incidence of infection in the elderly. Zinc not only modulates cell-mediated immunity but is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.”
Similarly, the September 2020 paper in Medical Hypotheses, “Does Zinc Supplementation Enhance the Clinical Efficacy of Chloroquine / Hydroxychloroquine to Win Todays Battle Against COVID-19?” points out that:12
“Besides direct antiviral effects, CQ/HCQ [chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine] specifically target extracellular zinc to intracellular lysosomes where it interferes with RNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity and coronavirus replication.
As zinc deficiency frequently occurs in elderly patients and in those with cardiovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, or diabetes, we hypothesize that CQ/HCQ plus zinc supplementation may be more effective in reducing COVID-19 morbidity and mortality than CQ or HCQ in monotherapy. Therefore, CQ/HCQ in combination with zinc should be considered as additional study arm for COVID-19 clinical trials.”
Low Zinc Levels Increase COVID-19 Death Risk
Preliminary data also suggest people with low zinc levels are more likely to die from COVID-19 than those with higher levels. The research13,14,15,16,17 was presented at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ESCMID) Conference on Coronavirus Disease,18 held online September 23 through September 25, 2020, and posted19 on the preprint server medRxiv October 11, 2020.
In the video above, Dr. John Campbell reviews this and other zinc research. As noted by the authors of this study,20 “Zinc balances immune responses and also has a proven direct antiviral action against some viruses.” As mentioned, zinc’s primary antiviral action is to impair viral replication inside the cell.
To evaluate the importance of plasma zinc levels on COVID-19 outcomes, the researchers did a retrospective analysis of 249 COVID-19 patients admitted to a hospital in Barcelona, Spain, between Mach 15 and April 30, 2020, for whom fasting plasma zinc levels were recorded. The average patient age was 63.
Patients who had low zinc levels upon admission were found to have higher levels of inflammation during the course of their illness, and they were also more likely to die from complications related to COVID-19. As reported by Medical Xpress:21
“Mean baseline zinc levels among the 249 patients were 61 mcg/dl. Among those who died, the zinc levels at baseline were significantly lower at 43 mcg/dl vs 63.1 mcg/dl in survivors.
Higher zinc levels were associated with lower maximum levels of interleukin-6 (proteins that indicate systemic inflammation) during the period of active infection.
After adjusting by age, sex, severity and receiving hydroxychloroquine, statistical analysis showed each unit increase of plasma zinc at admission to hospital was associated with a 7% reduced risk of in-hospital mortality.
Having a plasma zinc level lower than 50 mcg/dl at admission was associated with a 2.3 times increased risk of in-hospital death compared with those patients with a plasma zinc level of 50 mcg/dl or higher.”
Zinc Deficiency Linked to Poor COVID-19 Outcomes
Another paper22 reviewed by Campbell was published in the November 2020 issue of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Here, they found that people admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 related symptoms were more likely to be deficient in zinc than healthy controls. The median zinc level among hospitalized COVID-19 patients was 74.5 mcg/dl, compared to 105.8 mcg/dl in the control group. As reported by the authors:23
“Amongst the COVID-19 patients, 27 (57.4%) were found to be zinc deficient. These patients were found to have higher rates of complications, acute respiratory distress syndrome (18.5% vs 0%), corticosteroid therapy, prolonged hospital stay, and increased mortality (18.5% vs 0%). The odds ratio (OR) of developing complications was 5.54 for zinc deficient COVID-19 patients.”
Importantly, while 70.4% of zinc deficient patients developed complications, only 30% of those with sufficient levels developed complications. As noted by Campbell, here we see that healthy controls had far higher zinc levels than patients with milder illness in the Spanish study.
The hospitalized patients also had higher levels on average. This raises the question as to whether the Spanish cutoff level of 50 mcg/dl might be too low still. He points out that “normal” levels of zinc are between 72 mcg/dl and 144 mcg/dl. This seems to support the findings of the Spanish study, seeing how all of the patients were on the low side.
Zinc Is a Key Component of MATH Protocol
Among the most effective treatment protocols for COVID-19 is the MATH Protocol,24 developed by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Working Group25 (FLCCC).
In the interview above, Dr. Paul Marik explains how the COVID-19 critical care protocol grew out of his sepsis treatment (a core ingredient of which is vitamin C), as he and other doctors noticed there were many similarities between sepsi
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