Zinc to Protect Against Respiratory Infections

Sore throat, runny nose, cough, exhaustion, etc. – Colds are among the most common reasons for sick leave. During the current coronavirus pandemic, there is also fear of serious respiratory infections in COVID-19. An adequate supply of zinc can help prevent and alleviate respiratory diseases.

The immune system is a miracle of nature and protects us against innumerable harmful influences every day. To do this, the organism needs important vital substances to defend itself against viruses, bacteria, free radicals, and the like. An essential trace element that our immune system needs is zinc. However, once the stores are empty, the immune system can no longer perform its tasks properly. The result: You become more susceptible to infections and, above all, are more prone to respiratory infections.

Virus Diseases Particularly Affect People With Weak Immune Defenses

In the colder months of the year, virus infections such as colds and flu are high season. Accordingly, our immune system is also working at full speed. Newer strains of viruses, such as the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus and now also its mutated variants, also put our immune system to a tough test. Because infection with this multi-organ virus, which mainly affects the respiratory tract, can have serious consequences, especially for people with weak immune defenses or chronic pre-existing diseases (such as cardiovascular diseases, lung diseases, or diabetes) as well as for seniors and severe COVID 19 gradients entail.

Zinc Protects Against Virus Diseases

A sufficient supply of the vital trace element zinc can protect against virus diseases. How this works has been shown for various types of viruses. A sufficient supply of zinc prevents, for example, rhinoviruses – the typical pathogens of colds – from sticking to our nasal mucosa1. Cold viruses cannot penetrate our bodies and spread. Even with the currently rampant SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, zinc can prevent viruses from penetrating body cells and inhibit the virus from multiplying2. In the case of coronaviruses, zinc not only shows antivirus effects but can also slow down the excessive inflammatory reaction in COVID-19 and strengthens the airways. There is ample evidence that adequate zinc supplies are beneficial for the prevention and treatment of COVID-192. Current studies also show that an adequate zinc supply can protect against severe COVID-19 courses. The zinc levels of COVID-19 patients are significantly lower compared to healthy volunteers. In an Indian study, COVID-19 patients with a zinc deficiency had a more than the 5-fold increased risk of complications and showed an increased mortality rate3.

Zinc To Protect Against Respiratory Infections

Versatile Effects Of Zinc

The trace element zinc, which is necessary for humans, plays an important role in the defense against pathogens. A zinc deficiency affects the immune system, increases the susceptibility to infectious diseases, delays recovery, and leads to a worse course of infections. In the case of infections, a zinc deficit increases the symptoms, which can lead to excessive inflammation and additional tissue damage. In addition to other immune cells, zinc primarily affects the function of the large phagocytes4,5. The large phagocytes (so-called macrophages) belong to the white blood cells and play an essential role in the elimination of microorganisms such as bacteria etc.

A Polish study indicates that zinc has anti-oxidative as well as anti-inflammatory effects. In addition to standard therapy, the consumption of zinc is said to be able to reduce the mortality rate from pneumonia.

Zinc Reduces The Duration Of The Cold

Around two to four times a year, adults in this country are affected by colds. Usually, the disease will be over in about a week. Fresh air, rest, sufficient humidity in the rooms, and hydration in the form of mineral water and tea as well as enough sleep generally promote recovery. This also applies to a diet rich in vital substances. Hot spices such as ginger, chili, curry, horseradish, and mustard not only heat things up, they also have an antimicrobial effect. Freshly cooked chicken soup is also helpful.

Zinc is currently recommended again and again for flu-like infections. Because by adding zinc you can shorten the duration of colds by around 33 percent. Patients with a cold should use zinc within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms8.

Strengthen The Immune System With The Right Substances

There are many remedies for colds. Since most colds are caused by viruses, but antibiotics only work against bacteria, they are usually not suitable. With the so-called CRP rapid test, the doctor can determine within a few minutes whether viruses or bacteria are responsible for the disease and accordingly initiate the right treatment and select the right drug. A few drops of blood and a few minutes waiting time are sufficient for the rapid test. The rapid test can prevent patients suffering from a virus disease from receiving antibiotics unnecessarily.

Zinc is the basic element for a healthy immune system, as it has a positive effect on the body’s own production of important defense cells (T cells). Since it is an essential trace element, the body cannot produce zinc itself and is dependent on it to be supplied through food. This is certainly one reason why zinc deficiency is relatively widespread. The results of the National Consumption Study II show that up to 44 percent of adults in Germany are undersupplied with zinc 10.