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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:
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 close relative chloroquine (CQ) are the zinc ionophores that have been in the news lately.
According to the two Belgian researchers, research is inconclusive as to whether CQ is effective at getting zinc through the cell walls and into the lysosomes within cells where it could prevent virus replication:
The two Belgian researchers conclude that zinc should always be given to patients whenever HCQ is administered, because:
Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a medical doctor in up-state New York, used a cocktail of zinc, HCQ and an antibiotic to successfully treat COVID-19 when it raged through a Hasidic Jewish community that he serves. He didn't prescribe anything to those who were young and healthy, but he treated 200 of the others with his cocktail with excellent results: zero deaths, only four needing hospitalization for pneumonia and only two needing hospitalization for intubation on a respirator.
Despite Zelenko’s success, not a single controlled study has tried out the combo of HCQ with zinc. Instead they have either tried HCQ by itself or paired it with an antibiotic such as azithromycin.
On April 21, Dr. Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) recommended against using the combination of HCQ and azithromycin for treating COVID-19 due to irregular heartbeats that can result. It based its recommendation upon a VA hospital retrospective study conducted without using zinc upon patients who were probably zinc-deficient, being elderly and about 2/3 Black.
In that study, the patients in the HCQ groups died at a significantly higher rate than the patients who had not received HCQ. But the higher death rate in the HCQ groups may have been due to the fact that the VA put sicker patients into the two groups taking HCQ (one of which also took azithromycin), while putting healthier patients into the control group that didn’t take HCQ. The GoodRX blog noticed this flaw. They wrote:
One thing to note is that people who had more severe symptoms, which might partially explain the higher death rates, were also more likely to get medications. People in this study were over 65 years old (on average) and male, which makes it difficult to apply the results to everyone. Randomized studies with a diverse population are needed to better understand the role of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19.
Even worse, Fauci’s NIAID never even considered the fact that the VA was treating a group that is known to be zinc deficient without adding zinc supplements. Nor did they consider the interaction between HCQ and zinc, such that HCQ either works better if combined with zinc, or HCQ can deprive patients of needed zinc if not administered along with zinc supplements to zinc-deficient patients.
The Zinc Dosage
Zinc, if taken at high concentrations over a long period of time, can deprive the body of copper, which is also a valuable nutrient. As a result, 40mg of zinc per day is considered to be the maximum safe amount if zinc is taken continually. As always, people should consult their doctor or pharmacist if they are already taking other medications because zinc could interfere with the effectiveness of those medications.
The American people are figuring it out. Zinc pill makers are barely keeping up with growing demand as evidenced by the 1 to 2 week delay getting zinc pills from Amazon. In contrast, Fauci’s NIAID remains clueless, not even recommending that zinc supplements be given to those COVID-19 patients who are both Black and elderly, and thus