The last installment of this blog series focusing on supporting your health and wellbeing will discuss Zinc, an essential trace mineral. The previous posts of other key nutrients can be found here: Vitamin D, Vitamin C, NAC, Oil of Oregano and Garlic, Glutathione and Selenium.
The British Nutrition Foundation tells us that Zinc plays a major role in human metabolism, cell division (including growth and repair), normal reproductive development and the effective functioning of our immune system (BNF 2020). Zinc is an element that plays a variety of roles in the immune system and is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating innate immunity, neutrophils, and natural killer cells (Prasad 2008). Zinc deficiency has been proven to reduce our immune function and is described as a gatekeeper of immune system (Wessels, Maywald and Rink 2017).
Zinc in our diet
Readily available in the food we eat. Red meat and poultry provide the majority of Zinc in the standard UK diet. Other good food sources of Zinc include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products (Institute of Medicine 2001). Though shortfalls in Zinc have been reported across UK males and females when relying on food sources alone (Derbyshire 2018).
Of current interest, there are no randomized, controlled trials showing that Zinc can prevent or treat COVID-19, though researchers indicate that Zinc may well be able to slow replication of the virus (Velthuis et al., 2020). With Kar and colleagues (2019) suggesting that the effects of Zinc as an antiviral relate to the impact it has on four stages of the life cycle of a virus.
Supplementation with Zinc oral lozenges may reduce symptom severity for the common cold, due to inhibiting viral replication at the back of your throat (spreading Zinc through the tissues of the nose, mouth and throat; Hemila et al., 2016). Zinc acetate is reported to be the best form of Zinc to be used within a lozenge (ionizing more effectively than other sources), with Life Extension Zinc Acetate lozenges solely designed to be effective.
A number of other zinc supplements are commercially available with varying bioavailability. Through focused effort, Bigvits has been able to source a superior form of Zinc as a bisglycinate chelate. This is important as bisglycinate chelated Zinc has been shown to provide superior absorption (+43%) compared to Zinc absorbed from Zinc gluconate (Gandia et al., 2007). Furthermore, the bisglycinate chelate interferes with phytates (found in many whole foods) that would usually inhibit Zinc absorption (Lönnerdal 2000).
The Take Away
Preferably we should all be ensuring we eat a wide range of nutritious foods including those higher in Zinc, though many people are deficient. If we supplement with Zinc, these should be taken away from food in a spaced manner. Ideally, Zinc should be accompanied by at least 1 mg of copper from food and supplements for every 15 mg of Zinc consumed (Malavolta et al., 2015).
Healthy Origins Zinc Bisglycinate Chelate is the ideal, well researched premium product offering a 50mg dose. Supplementing with Source Naturals Copper Sebacate allows us to ensure we are optimal for both micro nutrients.
This blog series is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.