Could zinc protect against COVID-19?

ISLAMABAD, July 18 (online): A review of the evidence on zinc suggests the mineral could have protective effects against COVID-19 by boosting anti-viral immunity and curbing inflammation.

Diet and health have many links, including immune system function. Good nutrition supports the immune system to fight pathogens and helps to avoid chronic inflammation following an infection.

Many people know that vitamin C has significant effects on the immune system. Deficiency in the vitamin has associations with a higher risk of infections, such as pneumonia.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in dietary supplements to support the function of the immune system has intensified. Although no specific food or supplement can prevent a person from contracting COVID-19, certain nutrients can help support the immune system’s function.

Zinc is an essential mineral with a wide range of roles in the human body, including supporting the function of over 300 enzymes. The body needs zinc to carry out normal metabolism and ensure the proper function of the reproductive, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.

Foods high in zinc include animal products, such as meat, shellfish, chicken, and fortified breakfast cereal. However, beans, nuts, and seeds also contain zinc. Phytates in vegetables and grains can reduce the absorption of zinc and, therefore, vegetarians and vegans may need 50% more zinc in their diet.

Deficiency in zinc has associations with delayed growth in children, as well as increased risk of infection. It is also a significant risk factor for the development of pneumonia, which can be a consequence of COVID-19.

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