I’ve recently talked about the impact of vitamins C (ascorbic acid), vitamin D and green tea in supporting our immune system against COVID-19, next up is zinc. Zinc is known for its antiviral properties and it supports a number of cellular functions of the innate and adaptive immune response. Studies have shown that it can alleviate acute and chronic viral infection and can significantly reduce symptoms, severity and the duration of illness. If taken within 24 hours it can reduce the longevity of cold symptoms by half. There is evidence that zinc blocks viral attachment and replication and zinc has shown to reduce the risk of respiratory infection, highly relevant in relation to the COVID-19 virus.
Zinc is commonly deficient in the elderly, vegans and vegetarians. Zinc deficiency manifests in loss of taste and smell. It is safe to supplement 20-40mg per day for immune support, over 50mg is not recommended as it may have the opposite effect on immunity. Zinc picolinate is considered the most absorbable. Ideally take zinc in a supplement with copper, otherwise zinc can deplete your copper stores. Always check with your doctor or NT if you are taking medications, this is your responsibility. Some foods with the most zinc in include beef, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils and Garbanzo beans.