In the past, I’ve written about zinc and the importance of it for proper body functioning. Zinc is the second most common trace mineral found in the human body. It’s a micronutrient that is critical for proper functioning of all organs and cells. It’s also needed to properly smell and taste.
Specifically, zinc also plays a key role regulating metabolism and the immune system. Several studies have shown that people with low levels of zinc are more likely to develop infections and certain health conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, pneumonia, and recurring sepsis.
The NIH has advised that severe zinc deficiency “depresses immune function”—and “[e]ven mild to moderate degrees of zinc deficiency can impair macrophage and neutrophil functions, natural killer cell activity, and complement activity.” Further, the NIH has advised that “[t]he body requires zinc to develop and activate T-lymphocytes.” The good thing about zinc deficiency, as the NIH as explained, is that it “can be corrected by zinc supplementation.”
Now with COVID-19, some research indicates that there is a positive correlation between zinc deficiency and COVID-19. A Spanish study recently reported that there is an association between low zinc levels in the blood and poor health outcomes among patients with Covid-19.
The researchers examined data on 611 patients who were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and were admitted to a tertiary university hospital in Barcelona, Spain, from March 15 to April 30. According to the researchers, 249 of those patients died in the hospitals. The researchers found that, among the group of patients who died, the patients’ average zinc-blood level was 43 micrograms per deciliter. In comparison, among the group of patients who survived, the patients’ average zinc-blood level was 63 micrograms per deciliter, which is close to the level considered to be normal. After the researchers adjusted for age, sex, illness severity, and treatments among the patient groups, they found that each unit increase in zinc-blood level was associated with a 7% lower risk of in-hospital death.
The researchers concluded that their findings showed “[l]ower zinc levels at admission correlate with higher inflammation in the course of infection and poorer outcome,” and “[p]lasma zinc levels at admission are associated with mortality in Covid-19.” However, they added, “[f]urther studies are needed to assess the therapeutic impact of this association.”
In a separate article in the Journal of Medical Virology theorized that zinc—which may inhibit RNA viruses, including coronaviruses—could have an antiviral effect against the novel coronavirus.
With regard to COVID-19, it’s important to recognize that the studies/articles show hope with zinc; however, much follow up and experience with the virus is needed. However, make sure, in the meantime, that you make sure you’re getting enough zinc to remain healthy. I have written about zinc and its positive impact on fighting the common cold.
However, with anything that’s good too much can have a negative impact on you. Too much zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. Further, high levels of zinc can also lead to low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). Therefore, make sure you don’t overdo it with zinc.