Zinc may be a less familiar mineral than iron, calcium or magnesium, but it’s still extremely important to consume in small amounts every day to support metabolism and maintain your health.
Zinc has a variety of important functions such as improved immune, hormone and regeneration capabilities. Deficiency can cause an array of symptoms such as loss of taste or appetite, impaired vision to a lack of energy and inability for wounds to heal.
It is easily sourced from various foods or supplements such as gels or lozenges, with highest concentrations in animal proteins such as meat and dairy.
Beware of any zinc fortified cereals or grains, as they contain high levels of phytates, which are considered to be “Anti-nutrients” as they bind to minerals stopping them from being absorbed.
Unfortunately, the concentration and bioavailability of zinc will also vary between foods, so try and maximise levels with a daily supplement.
Top 5 Zinc Foods
The below information is taken from a study which looks at the effects of zinc to inhibit various RNA viruses and provides the basis for a new antipicornavirus mechanism.
1. Zn2+ Inhibits Coronavirus and Arterivirus RNA Polymerase Activity In Vitro and Zinc Ionophores Block the Replication of these Viruses in Cell Culture.
“Interestingly, in cell culture studies, high Zn2+ concentrations and the addition of compounds that stimulate cellular import of Zn2+, such as hinokitol (HK), pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) and zinc pyrithione (PT), were found to inhibit the replication of various RNA viruses, including influenza virus, , respiratory syncytial virus and several picornaviruses”
2. Zinc and immunity: An essential interrelation.
“Zinc deficiency affects immune cells, resulting in altered host defence, increased risk of inflammation, and even death. The micronutrient zinc is important for maintenance and development of immune cells of both the innate and adaptive immune system. A disrupted zinc homeostasis affects these cells, leading to impaired formation, activation, and maturation of lymphocytes, disturbed intercellular communication via cytokines, and weakened innate host defence via phagocytosis and oxidative burst”
3. Zinc deficiency
“Zinc deficiency results in dysfunction of both humoral and cell‐mediated immunity and increases susceptibility to infectious diseases”
The combination of zinc and pyrithione, which is a coordination complex of zinc inhibits the replication of SARS coronavirus (SARS‐CoV).
Therefore, a zinc supplement may have an effect not only on COVID‐19‐related symptom like diarrhea and lower respiratory tract infection, but also on COVID‐19 itself.