Zinc has a powerful effect on our body. It’s the 2nd most abundant trace mineral in the body and is essential for synthesizing many of the proteins that make up our cells, tissues, and organs.
It also has an incredible effect on our immune system. It is directly antiviral as well as stimulatory to our antiviral immunity. It also affects our innate and adaptive immune system making it a smart immune modulator.
So how does zinc affect our immune system?
Let’s look at it in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
When the virus enters the body it looks for a cell to bind to. To put it technically, there is a protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus called the ‘S’ protein. This ‘S’ protein binds to a receptor site on our cell called the ACE2 receptor. You may have heard about the ACE2 receptor site in the news.
Once the virus and our cell fuses together, the virus uses our own cell machinery to produce a ‘RNA replisome’ which “replicates” the virus. The virus makes many copies of itself which allows the virus to spread. The virus replisome is crucial for the virus to spread, so what if we could stop it?
Maybe we can! And that solution could be zinc.
What they are finding is that zinc can inhibit the virus replicase from replicating. This is great news! But it’s easier said than done. Zinc may be present in our system, but the tricky part can be getting it into the cell.
So how do we do that? How do we force more zinc into our cells?
We need a special gate that lets zinc into our cells! That gate is called a zinc ionopore. A zinc ionopore attaches to our cell and makes a special gate that rolls out the red carpet for zinc to come in. When these are present on our cells, zinc can get into our cells in higher concentrations, the kind of concentrations that are more conducive to prevent viral replication.
This is part of the reason why hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, and zinc are being used to try to fight covid-19. It’s because it’s a zinc ionspore. Now I know there is a lot of debate going on about this right now, but the mechanism is interesting food for thought.
So there are two things going on here. First off we need to have sufficient zinc levels. This is where zinc supplementation comes in handy. I recommend 25-50mg per day during these susceptible times. The second piece is being able to take the zinc and drive it into the cell. Now you need a zinc ionospore. Before you jump to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, what about natural alternatives? Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are to only be administered by a doctor and can be harmful and dangerous if not used appropriately. So in the sake of supporting your immune system, I like to look for what naturally occurs in nature.
Two naturally zinc ionopores are quercetin and EGCG. Quercetin is a powerful flavonoid and ECGC is the powerful component in green tea. Both these are generally safe to supplement with and are also high in certain foods. My recommendation? Take zinc, start drinking green tea and start eating quercetin rich foods on the daily.
One last note on zinc. While safe, if you take zinc for too long you can become deficient in copper. I would only recommend zinc when there is an increased risk for infection, and if you are on it for a while, make sure to balance out with copper.
Obviously there is not enough research on ANYTHING to lead us in the right direction to battling COVID-19. But once again, using the knowledge we have to be proactive in nourishing our immune system is something we are in control of. I think pairing zinc with a natural zinc ionspore can be a great combo to support your immune system. And if this theory is debunked, you still get these great benefits of zinc, quercetin, and EGCG!
Benefits of Zinc:
Potential Benefits of Quercetin:
Benefits of EGCG:
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