Immunity boosters like Zinc are in the news. Since people with weak immunity are more predisposed to various infections, it makes sense to boost your immunity, particularly if you are more prone to colds, coughs and flu.
Zinc is an important micronutrient that research shows reduces the occurrence of many respiratory infections causes by viruses. As such, it may well be possible that zinc can help armor you against Covid-19 or coronavirus as it is sometimes called.
And since Covid-19 often first attacks the respiratory tract, zinc’s role in helping fight this pandemic is under investigation. According to a study, zinc effectively improves immunity, inhibits the entry of the virus and reduces viral replication in the body.
Immunity Fights Infection
Let us understand how the body’s immunity fights infection. When any pathogen attacks the body, the body produces more white blood cells (of different types) that fight off the viruses and bacteria.
You need a robust immune system, otherwise the pathogens overcome the white blood cells and cause infection. If you are zinc deficient – and more than 30% of the population is – you are at greater risk of getting infected.
How Does Zinc Help?
Zinc is a micronutrient that is not stored in the body. That means you need to take it regularly so that you don’t have a zinc deficiency.
Zinc works since it does not allow the virus to proliferate according to this study. If you do develop any respiratory infection like Covid, zinc can reduce the severity of the cytokine storm that is a factor in many of the terrible symptoms of Covid.
At the cellular level, zinc helps with
- Protein synthesis
- Cell division
- Wound healing
- DNA synthesis
Additionally zinc reduces has a four-fold impact:
- It reduces the severity of infection
- It improves recovery rate
- It shortens the duration of the illness
- It reduces inflammation
All these factors are part of Covid-19. Effective zinc supplementation can protect you from getting Covid or help you fight off the illness if you do get infected.
While you can always take a zinc supplement or a multi-vitamin or multi-mineral supplement that contains zinc, you can also eat foods that are rich in zinc. Many foods like
- whole grains
- fortified cereals
- sea foods
- dairy foods
As vegetarians and vegans are at risk of zinc deficiency, if you are one, it is best to opt for a supplement containing zinc.