Twice-daily zinc for 15 days led to a significant reduction in death rate among people with COVID-19. It also reduced hospital stays and duration of symptoms.

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 — including 190 outpatients and 280 hospitalized patients — received either oral zinc or a placebo twice daily for 15 days
  • Those taking zinc had a nearly 40% lower rate of death and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU)
  • Those in the zinc group had, on average, a 3.5-day shorter hospital stay while their symptoms resolved 1.9 days sooner than those who received a placebo
  • Research published in 2020 demonstrated that zinc is crucial to immune system function and deficiency can raise your risk of severe COVID-19 illness
  • Zinc has antiviral properties and acts as an immunomodulator; it also inhibits RNA synthesis and viral replication, while deficiency is associated with reduced natural killer cell function

It’s estimated that 1 in 3 Americans is deficient in at least 10 minerals, zinc included.1 Not only does this put them at risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes,2 but it may increase risk of death or a hospital stay from COVID-19 if you’re infected.3

Zinc has been acknowledged as an essential mineral for human health since the 1970s.4 It’s the second most abundant trace mineral found in the human body,5 but your body cannot store it very well, so you need to consume foods with zinc every day to meet your body’s needs. More than 300 enzymes in your body require zinc for normal function,6 and it’s well-recognized for its role in immunity and normal immune system development.7

During the pandemic, the late Dr. Vladimir Zelenko treated thousands of COVID-19 patients using a combination of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), azithromycin and zinc sulfate,8 with great success.

However, the use of zinc for SARS-CoV-2 was a topic routinely flagged by COVID fact checkers as “misinformation,” so word didn’t really get out about its potential as an anti-COVID agent. Now, research once again shows zinc’s promise for keeping people healthy if they get COVID.

Zinc Twice a Day Treats COVID-19

A team of researchers with Fattouma Bourguiba University Hospital in Tunisia set out to determine zinc’s efficacy in treating adults with COVID-19. “Like in many other diseases, regulation of white blood cell production using immuno-nutrition is a novel concept that could be applied to COVID-19,” they noted. “Some molecules and nutrients such as zinc play central roles in keeping the function and integrity of the immune system.”9

They conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, during which patients who tested positive for COVID-19 — including 190 outpatients and 280 hospitalized patients10 — received either oral zinc or a placebo twice daily for 15 days. Those taking zinc had a nearly 40% lower rate of death and admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). They also had shorter hospital stays and cut the number of days needed for their symptoms to resolve.11

Specifically, mortality after 30 days was 6.5% in the zinc group compared to 9.2% in the placebo group. ICU admission rate was 5.2% in the zinc group and 11.3% in the placebo group. Further, those in the zinc group had, on average, a 3.5-day shorter hospital stay while their symptoms resolved 1.9 days sooner than those who received a placebo.12

The beneficial effects of zinc were seen even in subgroups of patients, including those under 65, people with comorbidities and those who needed oxygen therapy at the start of the study. No severe adverse effects were seen. In fact, more minor adverse events occurred in the placebo group (7.1%) than in those taking zinc (3.9%).13 The researchers concluded:14

“To our knowledge, this study is the first well powered, placebo-controlled clinical trial to report results of zinc for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

When administered orally to patients hospitalized with COVID-19 without end-organ failure, zinc demonstrated its efficacy to prevent ICU admission and to reduce hospital length of stay; for outpatients, zinc reduced symptom duration. Zinc should be considered for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.”

Zinc Deficiency Linked to Worse COVID Outcomes

Research published in 2020 demonstrated that zinc is crucial to immune system function and deficiency can raise your risk of severe COVID-19 illness.15 “The study data clearly show that a significant number of COVID-19 patients were zinc deficient,” the researchers noted. “These zinc deficient patients developed more complications, and the deficiency was associated with a prolonged hospital stay and increased mortality.”16

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