(AscendHealthy.com) – Researchers have been working tirelessly to find effective ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, but advances have been slow. A few treatments, including convalescent plasma transfers, do show significant promise; all have yet to be fully approved for use in the general population. In the meantime, new findings show that supplementing with this essential mineral could help you avoid the virus altogether.
Can Zinc Protect You From COVID-19?
Zinc and Immune Health
Zinc is important for numerous functions, one of which is maintaining immune health. Deficiencies are rare in the US, but when they do occur, they can cause immune system dysfunction, slowed healing and a host of disturbing symptoms including hair loss, diarrhea, appetite loss and sores on the eyes and skin. Research has shown zinc, when taken in the form of a lozenge or syrup within the first 24 hours of illness, can reduce the severity and length of the common cold. But that might just be the tip of the iceberg.
Zinc’s Effects on COVID-19
A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine suggests that zinc might have far-reaching benefits in the fight against COVID-19. This multifaceted effect stems from the fact that it plays an essential role in overall health.
- Zinc naturally boosts the immune system, making it more effective against invading viruses and other pathogens — including COVID-19. This could make it harder for the virus to take hold.
- Zinc regulates some inflammatory processes, possibly reducing the severity of some complications by preventing the onset of deadly “cytokine storms.” Studies have indicated that these aggressive immune responses are responsible for many of the most serious issues associated with this virus.
- Zinc reduces the expression of ACE2, an enzyme with numerous functions that’s present on many of the body’s cells. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, uses ACE2 as a window in, so the fewer ACE2 receptors available in the respiratory tract and on the eyes, the less likely the virus will be able to invade and cause illness.
- Zinc may reduce the overall severity of many viral illnesses, helping the immune system clear out infections faster than it might without supplementation. Researchers believe zinc could have similar effects against COVID-19 infections.
What’s most promising about these findings is that zinc is an essential mineral (meaning your body needs it to function properly). So, it’s unlikely to cause any harmful side effects as long as it’s taken in recommended amounts. Zinc is easy to supplement, super cheap to buy and readily available, making it a viable option for most people.
Getting Enough Zinc
Zinc requirements vary depending on age and sex. On average, women need about 8 milligrams and men need 11 milligrams of the mineral each day. Children can require anywhere from 2-11 milligrams daily, depending on age, with a maximum that varies between 4-34 milligrams.
Adults should never consume more than 40 milligrams of zinc in one day.
Zinc is naturally present in most meats, nuts, beans, whole grains, dairy products and many fortified foods. Healthy people who regularly eat these foods are likely to get sufficient amounts through diet alone. For people who do need supplements, zinc is available in pill, lozenge and syrup form.
The COVID-19 battle is far from over, and we all need as many weapons in our arsenal as we can get. Consider adding some to yours if you haven’t already. Just be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting anything new. Zinc can interact with some medications, so an increased daily intake may lead to unwanted effects in a small number of people.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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