COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has infected more than 13 million people worldwide. Identifying strategies to prevent or treat the disease is a priority for disease specialists. Findings from a new study indicate that zinc might be beneficial against COVID-19.
Zinc is a mineral, first recognized for its influence on growth and development and now widely understood to play critical roles in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Deficiency of this essential nutrient can cause growth and cognitive defects, poor immune function, and impaired wound healing. A recent review describes the benefits and mechanisms of action associated with zinc in COVID-19 prevention and treatment.
The authors of the review presented data regarding zinc’s role in COVID-19, respiratory viruses, pneumonia, pediatric respiratory infections, and lung inflammation. They describe robust data demonstrating that zinc adequacy supports immune function. Conversely, they point out that zinc deficiency impairs the body’s immune response and may increase a person’s risk of developing respiratory tract infections.
Zinc exerts potent anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial qualities. In light of these qualities, the authors of the review suggested that zinc repletion via supplementation may be a viable means of combating pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, via zinc’s capacity to reduce lung inflammation, improve airway clearance, and prevent ventilator-induced lung injury.
Interestingly, zinc concentrations drop during sepsis, a life-threatening inflammatory condition that can arise due to the body’s response to a bacterial or viral infection, including SARS-CoV-2. This drop may be a result of nutritional immunity – a biological phenomenon wherein a host organism sequesters minerals such as zinc or iron in an effort to reduce a pathogen’s virulence. Some researchers have suggested that zinc supplementation during sepsis could render a potentially harmless dose of zinc into a toxic one. Read more about zinc and its role in immunity and protection against respiratory infections in our comprehensive overview article.](https://www.foundmyfitness.com/topics/zinc).
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