It has been known, ever since 1984, that zinc is an effective virus fighter. That year a research study discovered that taking zinc gluconate lozenges early in the course of a common cold could shorten it. After a series of apparently conflicting research studies, a 2012 review of the literature concluded that taking zinc early reduces the duration of a common cold by an average of 1.65 days. Since colds are mild virus infections, it is clear that zinc has anti-virus properties.
Zinc and COVID-19
When the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) virus pandemic began, one of the glaring facts apparent to those who were familiar with the zinc research was that at least two of the three groups in the United States that were known for having zinc deficiencies (elderly people and Black Americans) were contracting and dying from COVID-19 at much greater proportions than the general public. There are no statistics available on the third group (vegans), but there is an anecdotal report of a young and robust vegan getting a severe case of COVID-19.
Correlation is not causation, and there are other reasons why African Americans and elderly people might be the most vulnerable. But medical researchers have long known some of the mechanisms through which zinc fights virus infections within the cell. In an excellent YouTube video from March 6, 2020, Dr. Seheult illustrates and explains the inner workings of COVID-19 within the cell and how zinc within the cell fights it.
On April 7, two Belgian researchers, Amir Noeparast and Gil Verschelden, published a research paper in which they discussed the research results about the relationship between zinc deficiency and COVID-19. The evidence that they marshal is impressive:
- Zinc deficiency is prevalent. “Up to a fifth of the global population is estimated to suffer from different degrees of Zinc deficiency. In the western world, Zinc deficiency is more prevalent among the geriatric population, and vegans/vegetarians as well as among people with certain underlying conditions. Notably, the early reports show that the elderly SARS-CoV-2 patients are among those with a higher fatality rate.”
- Women’s bodies make better use of zinc. “It is reported that among the geriatric female population, a gene polymorphism that leads to an increased immune response-mediated release of Zinc is associated with decreased IL-6 level” and thus reduced incidence of fatal Cytokyne Storms.
- ARDS is more common in people with zinc deficiencies. “Zinc deficiency is associated with an increased risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in humans.”
Thus the evidence shows that ability to utilize the available zinc can explain the lower number of deaths of women from COVID-19-induced Cytokyne Storms. Also zinc-deficiency may directly contribute to another cause of death from COVID-19, ARDS.
The HCQ-Zinc Connection
The problem with zinc taken orally is that it doesn’t always find its way into cells. That’s why Dr. Seheult in his video and the two Belgian researchers in their research paper focused upon a group of chemicals that may serve as zinc ionophores. These chemicals help transport zinc into the cell through the lipid outer wall that protects the cell. Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and its c