Zinc is efficient in opposition to COVID-19, examine exhibits

Immunity supplements are becoming the new multivitamin supplement among today’s consumers in a COVID-19 world. Given the explosion in new immunity SKUs flooding the market, what should retailers look for and talk about in the Supplements Facts panels?

A new published study shows that zinc picolinate at 10 mg, 25 mg and 50 mg per day all help “prevent and attenuate” the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Study participants were generally obese, diabetic Hispanic women who lived in Florida.

The 104 patients who did not take the zinc were more than seven times more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19 infection than those who took the zinc. The researchers also found that for each additional comorbidity, the likelihood of developing symptomatic COVID-19 infection increased 1.57-fold.

Comorbidity is an underlying medical condition that goes beyond COVID-19 – in this case, the leading health conditions that lead to worse COVID-19 outcomes are obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

“Despite the lack of official recognition of the role of diet in the fight against COVID-19 infection,” researchers from two universities in Florida concluded, “several groups suggested zinc supplementation as an aid to managing participants.”

A total of 29 studies involving more than 50,000 patients in 16 countries were conducted using zinc in COVID-19 patients. In summary, the studies show a statistically significant improvement in hospitalization, ventilation, and death outcomes.

In the current study, the group taking the zinc may have previously taken zinc supplements, including as part of multivitamin supplements, while the control group had not taken any extra zinc at all. This could be why all three zinc dosages have been shown to be effective.

No participant who received 10 mg of zinc picolinate developed COVID-19 symptoms, while one of 25 and 50 mg of zinc reported symptoms. The reported symptoms in the zinc group were cough, sore throat, mild fever, and general fatigue.

In the control group, there were nine cases of symptomatic COVID-19 infection, three of which required hospitalization and one of which died.

Refinement of the zinc dosage

Researchers hypothesized that zinc could reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms by directly inhibiting rhinovirus binding and replication in the nasal mucosa, and by suppressing inflammation. In studies examining the effects of zinc on colds, zinc is usually given in the form of a lozenge or syrup that temporarily “sticks” to the mouth and throat, causing the zinc in these areas to come into contact with the rhinovirus. Lozenge or syrup zinc appears to reduce the duration, but not the severity, of symptoms when taken shortly after a cold.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 50 adults took a zinc acetate lozenge (13.3 mg zinc) or placebo every two to three waking hours within 24 hours of the onset of the common cold for as long as they were experiencing symptoms of the cold. Compared to placebo, the zinc lozenges reduced the duration of colds by 3 days and the severity of cold symptoms (cough, nasal discharge and muscle pain) significantly.

A systematic review and meta-analysis in 2021 included 28 randomized controlled trials (including the three described above) involving a total of 5,446 participants (mostly adults under 65 years of age) who had a community-acquired respiratory viral infection or were vaccinated with a rhinovirus.

Most studies provided zinc in the form of zinc acetate or gluconate lozenges in total daily doses of 45 mg to 300 mg for up to 2 weeks, but some studies used nasal sprays or gels. In participants who took zinc supplements, symptoms resolved an average of two days earlier than in those who received a placebo. Symptoms on day three were also milder in participants taking zinc, but the average daily severity of symptoms did not differ between those treated with zinc supplements and those not treated.

The official daily value of zinc is 11 mg per day. The amount typically formulated in multivitamins ranges from 5 mg to 15 mg per serving.

Zinc poisoning can cause nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. The officially tolerable upper intake level of zinc for adults is 40 mg per day.

In the AREDS study of 3,640 patients, it was found that taking 80 mg of zinc per day increased urological problems.

This study suggests that an immunity supplement could get by with as little as 10 mg of zinc per serving for potential effectiveness, provided zinc is taken elsewhere in a multivitamin supplement. It also suggests probably not using more than 30 mg per serving to avoid any risk of toxicity issues – especially if a product is advised to be taken regularly rather than just acutely, which in these COVID-19 times is considered de rigeur is viewed.

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