Updated: Apr 26, 2021
The immune system is our body’s number one defense against viruses and harmful bacteria. In order for our immune system to protect us, however, we need to give our body the right nutrients to strengthen it as much as possible.
Most of us know that Vitamin C is an important support for our immune system. We can find high levels of this vitamin in citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons.
But there is a mineral that is perhaps even more essential to prevent and fight infection, and that is ZINC.
Research has shown that zinc acts in many important ways to protect our bodies against infection. It supports various types of immune cells and also directly harms viruses, making it harder for them to get into our cells and to increase in numbers. Thus, adequate zinc levels throughout your body are essential to help prevent infection and decrease the severity and duration of symptoms if you do get sick.
Zinc is a mineral that our body is unable to produce on its own. We need to get it from food or a supplement. Over the years, the levels of zinc in our soil has decreased, resulting in lower levels of zinc in our foods. Thus, zinc deficiency is common in the USA.
It is difficult to determine deficiency with blood tests, however, since the level of zinc in the bloodstream does not indicate levels inside our organs and cells. So, even if zinc levels are adequate in our blood, they may not be adequate elsewhere in our body. Deficiency puts you at risk when you encounter a virus or harmful bacteria. The lower your zinc levels, the higher your risk.
One sign of very advanced zinc deficiency is loss of taste and/or smell. The reason this is listed as a sign of COVID-19 is because the immune system is using up the body's zinc as it battles the virus, which causes a significant zinc deficiency, resulting in loss of taste and/or smell.
I believe in using food as much as possible to meet the body’s needs. Foods with higher levels of zinc include potatoes (highest in the skin, so eat the skin), sprouts and microgreens, pumpkin seeds, nuts, shellfish especially oysters, and legumes like lentils and beans.
While including foods high in zinc in your diet is helpful, it likely won’t prevent zinc deficiency. So, I recommend also taking a daily high quality zinc supplement, preferably in the form of liquid zinc sulfate. This type of zinc is especially supportive of the immune system and the liquid form is easy to digest. Also, if you hold it in your mouth for 30-60 seconds before swallowing, it can absorb in the back of the throat where many infections begin.
It is especially important during the current pandemic to take necessary steps to support your immune system in order to protect yourself and your family from the corona virus.
Physicians from the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) include this position statement regarding use of zinc for COVID-19 illness:
Zinc deficiency is common, especially in those populations most at risk for severe COVID-19 infections, and it is challenging to accurately diagnosis with laboratory measures. Supplementation with zinc is supported by evidence that it both prevents viral infections and reduces their severity and duration. Moreover, it has been shown to reduce the risk of lower respiratory infection, which may be of particular significance in the context of COVID-19.”
See the Institute for Functional Medicine website for more information: https://info.ifm.org/covid-19
Zinc comes in different forms, and the type of zinc and the brand matters. I recommend liquid Zinc Sulfate from Vimergy (www.vimergy.com). I like that it is organic, non-GMO, free from artificial preservatives and additives, does not include alcohol or gluten and is easily absorbed. *Please see note at bottom.
I take 1-2 dropperfuls of Vimergy's liquid Zinc Sulfate 1-2 times a day.
This means as much liquid as fills the dropper when I squeeze the bulb completely and put it in the liquid, NOT 1-2 drops.
Note: this dosage is for adults; children should take lower levels, with young children only taking drops per day based on age, not dropperfuls.
Dose for Signs or Symptoms of Illness
If I feel symptoms of an illness coming on, such as sore throat or cough, I increase the dose to 2 dropperfuls every 3 hours while awake up to 6 doses for 2 days. I hold the liquid in my mouth for 1-2 minutes before swallowing to increase absorption. After 2 days, I resume my regular dose.
Since loss of taste and/or smell is a sign of severe zinc deficiency, as explained earlier, this is a sign to not only contact your doctor for a COVID test, but also to increase your zinc supplement dose for 2 days as described above, and then continue with a regular daily dose after that point.
You need a strong immune system to minimize symptom severity and duration and in some cases to even save your life, and your immune system needs zinc to do this.
Knowledge is power when organized and directed towards a goal. Here’s to empowering your health.
Karen M. Gutierrez, RN, PhD, Advanced Holistic Nurse (board certified)
* Please note: I do not receive any financial or other incentives from Vimergy. I use this brand personally and recommend it due to its high quality and because I know that it works.