How can zinc support people Long Covid?

COVID-19 has for many created a re-ignited interest in immune system health and support. This could be viewed as a positive consequence of something which has caused huge loss of life, mental health difficulties and economic disruption.

Some individuals who contracted COVID-19 developed Long Covid. The research and scientific data for this corollary are limited as it is in its infancy. However, by examining the symptoms of Long Covid, we are able to implement support structures through diet and lifestyle changes.

Supplementing the diet or improving the diet can introduce anti-inflammatory support and better utilisation of energy.

Zinc is an essential micronutrient utilised for maintaining cellular health and is a key trace element where immune system health is concerned.

The human body requires zinc for sense of taste and smell, healing, DNA synthesis, protein synthesis and is essential for over 300 enzymes in the body. Enzymes are activators or catalysts for chemical processes in the body. So, if Zinc is deficient these reactions’ effectiveness is reduced. Zinc is essential for the production and utilisation of T-Lymphocytes and it is the lymphocytes that contribute to protecting the body against infection.

If zinc is low, the immune system's responses are impaired which can lead to inflammatory processes and even threaten life itself. Zinc is not produced or stored by our bodies so it is essential it is sourced through diet and/or supplementation. The daily requirement for adults is 15mg.

As mentioned above, research is limited relating to Long Covid and micro-nutrients such as zinc. However, there has been research that has proved zinc's anti-viral benefits with particular success against pneumonia, which has been a symptom associated with COVID-19.  Zinc is an essential catalyst enabling a healthy respiratory system and subsequent healing.

Zinc supplementation should therefore be considered if individuals suffer from Long Covid as not only does it act as an anti-inflammatory, but it also supports immune function.

Fatigue is now associated with Long Covid and zinc could have a role in helping reduce this. Zinc facilitates the bonding of insulin with cells, enabling glucose utilisation for fuel. Poor insulin control can lead to fatigue.

Foods high in zinc

  • eggs
  • legumes
  • spinach
  • garlic
  • yoghurt
  • dark chocolate
  • meat
  • shellfish
  • potatoes
  • nuts 

Long Covid patients can fall into a vicious circle: their low energy levels can lead to the inability to create healthy balanced meals, which in turn leads to potential nutrient deficiencies. A zinc supplement could help improve energy levels leading to improved motivation and a better ability to cook.  

Muscle pain and stiffness is also a symptom described by Long Covid patients. The anti-inflammatory properties of zinc could also contribute to alleviating this. Patients’ ability to take gentle exercise is essential to maintain muscle strength and assist in the circulation of lymphocytes. Once again a vicious circle could develop. As patients suffer joint pain they could become more and more sedentary reducing lymphatic movement thereby reducing lymphocyte circulation.

A diet review to ensure zinc is included is therefore essential. If you need assistance with this please feel free to message me or contact a nutritional expert for advice and guidance.

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Faversham ME13 & Hythe CT21

Written by Allergy Testing & Consultant Nutritionist Faversham, Kent, Victoria Shorland

Faversham ME13 & Hythe CT21

Victoria Shorland runs The Therapy Clinic Rooms from Faversham, Kent. The clinic offers integrated services: Long Covid Recovery Programme post-COVID-19,Food intolerance testing with instant results, specialist IBS/IBD clinic, weight loss, candida/FODMAP clinic, consultant nutritionist clinic, hypnotherapy and CBT clinic.

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