Zinc and Quercetin: Importance During Pandemic

Zinc provides immune support amongst other functions. However, for zinc to work effectively in the body to boost immune system function, zinc has to be pushed into the cells which would require an ionophore. An ionophore is a substance that transports particles across the cell wall barrier into the center of the cell.

Ionophores are fat-soluble molecules that bind to ions to help move them across cell membranes. Without the right ionophore, elemental zinc is poorly absorbed and will remain stuck in the bloodstream where it cannot be used by the body’s cells. 

Many substances can act as ionophores for zinc, one being the antioxidant quercetin. Thus, taking quercetin along with zinc may provide additional benefits to an immune-boosting protocol.

Therefore, zinc ionophores (e.g. Quercetin) can likely be used with zinc supplement to act as antiviral against many RNA viruses including influenza and COVID-19. In short, the major benefit of taking quercetin with zinc is that quercetin will push zinc into the center of the cell where the zinc can stop the virus from reproducing.

Suggested benefits of zinc supplementation along with zinc ionophores to prevent and treat COVID-19 and other respiratory tract infections are supported by countless studies (ScienceDirect). 

Zinc Deficiency 

Zinc deficiency is very common especially in the elderly, diabetics, cancer patients, asthma, immunosuppressed and obese - all of which have higher levels of mortality for COVID-19. Furthermore, zinc deficiency is associated with increased risk of infectious disease, pneumonia and severity of COVID-19. Conversely, zinc supplementation is associated with a significant decrease in COVID-19 mortality as long as it is delivered with a zinc ionophore (source). 

Zinc is the structural element of many molecules that play a role in immunity. It also helps regulate antioxidant balance, reducing oxidative stress within the cell. This important trace element also has extensive antimicrobial activity within the cell. It can act upon a variety of different viruses, helping the body effectively fight them off.

During times of illness, since zinc plays such an important role in immune function, the body uses up its current stores of zinc, leading to zinc depletion.

A zinc deficiency may result in increased inflammation and oxidative stress, making it more difficult to fight off the original illness. Many of the complications related to severe illness are exacerbated by zinc deficiency.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, weight loss, and poor wound healing. Interestingly, these are many of the symptoms experienced when fighting off a viral infection.

It is critical to consume adequate amounts of zinc from food. Zinc supplements are not recommended for longer than a few weeks because too much zinc may lead to a deficiency in other minerals, such as copper.

Foods high in zinc include:
  • Oysters
  • Red meat
  • Pork
  • Dark-meat chicken
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts
  • Yogurt
The elderly are particularly at risk for zinc deficiency and the immunity problems that can accompany it. Stomach acid decreases as we age, which leads to decreased zinc absorption. Many older adults may also find it challenging to consume zinc-rich meats due to dental or chewing issues, as well as aversions to these foods The increased risk of zinc deficiency in the elderly may be correlated to challenges they experience fighting off common viral illnesses.  

Zinc and COVID-19
 
Some doctors, media channels and fact-checkers argue that there is very little evidence to support the use of dietary supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19. We have included the scientific evidence together with the sources and references in this article below and we leave it up to you, the reader, to separate the facts and science from propaganda and devious agenda.

Zinc inhibits coronavirus replication and is a general stimulant of antiviral immunity (source). Higher levels of intracellular zinc showed to increase intracellular pH; which affect on RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and decreases the replication mechanism of RNA viruses (e.g. COVID-19). 

Zinc ionophores (e.g. Quercetin, Green tea extract) can likely be used with zinc supplement to act as antiviral against many RNA viruses including influenza and COVID-19. Suggested benefits of zinc supplementation along with zinc ionophores to prevent and treat COVID-19 and other respiratory tract infections are supported by countless studies (source). 

If given early, zinc along with a zinc ionophore should, at least theoretically, help lower the viral load and prevent the immune system from becoming overloaded. The problem is that zinc does not readily enter cells, which is why a zinc ionophore is needed.

Evidence of this was presented in a September 2020 study in the Journal of Medical Microbiology. In it, they compared outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients treated with one of three regimens: HCQ alone, Azithromycin alone, or a triplet regimen of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc.

While the addition of zinc had no impact on the length of hospitalization, ICU duration or duration of ventilation, univariate analyses showed it did:
  • Increase hospital discharge frequency
  • Decrease the need for ventilation
  • Decrease ICU admission rates
  • Decrease the rate of transfer to hospice for patients who were never admitted to the ICU
  • Decrease mortality
In most cases, prophylactic and early use of zinc supplementation was more effective than late therapeutic proceedings. Up to 30% of the everyday respiratory infections, briefly named “common cold,” are due to infections with coronaviruses. Studies showed reduced symptom severity, reduced frequency, and duration of the common cold after zinc administration depending on dosage, zinc compound and the start time after initial symptoms (source).

In short, a balanced zinc homeostasis is essential. Zinc supplementation improves the muco-ciliary clearance, strengthens the integrity of the epithelium, decreases viral replication, preserves antiviral immunity, attenuates the risk of hyper-inflammation, supports anti-oxidative effects and thus reduces lung damage and minimizes secondary infections. Especially older subjects, patients with chronic diseases and most of the remaining COVID-19 risk groups would most likely benefit. 

Check out the evidence tracker on zinc and COVID-19 from c19zinc.com (constantly updated). 
As of March 2022, there have been 26 published zinc and COVID-19 studies. Check out the list of studies below:



Taking zinc long term is typically safe for healthy adults, as long as the daily dose is under the set upper limit of 40 mg of elemental zinc (PubMed).

Quercetin

Quercetin, a natural anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-blood clot compound contained in abundance in various fruits and vegetables, is a zinc ionophore. The major benefit of taking quercetin with zinc is that the quercetin will push the zinc into the center of the cell where the zinc can stop the virus from reproducing.

Additionally, Quercetin has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of coronaviruses by inhibiting cellular entry as well as inhibiting proinflammatory cytokines. One of the hallmarks of COVID-19 is an imbalanced immune response cascading to cytokine storms and then hyper inflammation which then can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). 

Quercetin has been shown to inhibit proinflammatory cytokine production as well as inflammation due to its antioxidant properties, amongst others. By inhibiting destructive inflammation and potentially the entire cascade, quercetin may prevent severe damage to the respiratory system amongst other organs (source). 

Recent clinical trial data shows that the combination of Vitamin C and Quercetin provided strong preventative protection against COVID-19 infection of healthcare workers when compared to the control group as shown below (source). Specifically, 1.4% (1 out of 71 healthcare workers) of healthcare workers using Quercetin and Vitamin C combination were infected with COVID-19 vs. 21.4% (9 out of 42 healthcare workers) of healthcare workers in the control group were infected with COVID-19 (Total Subjects, n = 113).


Red onions, white onions, cranberries, green tea, tomatoes, apples and other vegetables are among the richest sources of dietary quercetin.

As of March 2022, there are 8 published studies of quercetin against COVID-19. For the list of studies, check out c19quercetin.com.



Zinc and Quercetin Combo is Much Safer than Hydroxychloroquine Treatment?

Although hydroxychloroquine is a relatively safe drug, it's still a synthetic chemical that can have side effects. Quercetin and Zinc are nutrients that your body require for optimal health. Nutrients are safer alternatives especially if your risk is low e.g. age below 50 and no other chronic illness.

Quercetin works best when taken with vitamin C and Bromelain, as vitamin C helps activate it and bromelain helps with the absorption. Do not forget to combine it with zinc.
 
Quercetin Zinc Immune Support Supplement 
 

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