Can zinc help against the novel coronavirus?
The threat of the novel coronavirus is showing how important it is to take care of our health. In fact, in addition to scrupulously following the social distancing and hygiene measures, it is also important to follow a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet in order to support our immune system to put it in the best conditions to face any external threat. In particular, especially in recent days, we are talking about the role of some nutrients. A few weeks ago a study performed by a team from the Universities of Melbourne, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates on the effectiveness of zinc in strengthening the immune system was published online in the journal Maturitas (Shakoor et al, Maturitas, 2020).
Zinc is known to have an antioxidant action and to be able to modulate the immune system. It plays a key role in the body's response to viral infections. A deficiency of this mineral increases pro-inflammatory cytokines and can cause an alteration of the function of the cell barrier in the epithelial tissue of the lungs. Zinc is considered an essential mineral in the fight against the new coronavirus since it exhibits antiviral properties, also able to support the immune system by directly interfering with viral replication. Studies have shown that the administration of zinc in people with COVID-19 has led to an improvement in symptoms, including lower respiratory tract infection.
Research on the benefits of zinc in the fight against the new coronavirus has been carried out with high doses of zinc that can hardly be reached with food. However, especially in this case, do-it-yourself should be avoided. In fact, thinking about taking high doses of zinc independently to prevent or fight the illness could lead to serious consequences. It is always good to ask your doctor for advice and to include zinc in a varied and balanced diet in order to make a synergy of substances, not only zinc but also selenium, omega 3, vitamins D, C and E, which can help strengthen the immune system. Zinc is contained in nuts and dried fruits, whole grains, beans, seafood and dairy products.