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A couple of weeks ago I read an article that said several people who had successfully battled the Coronavirus (CoVid19) had lost their senses of smell and taste. The article went on to say some people reported this as the only symptom they had. When I read this I immediately thought of Zinc. Zinc is required for our senses of smell and taste to work properly. Zinc is an essential mineral. It is a component of over 200 enzymes in our bodies. That’s more than any other mineral.

When we consider the most common comorbidities seen with CoVid19, diabetes, pre-diabetes, or a BMI over 30 (overweight/obese), we see a possible connection with zinc. Zinc is needed for the production of insulin. Zinc decreases as we age.

Severe zinc deficiency is rare in developed countries, but marginal zinc deficiency is common. This is particularly true in the elderly (another CoVid19 risk factor). The loss of the sense of taste and smell is a common complaint in the elderly.

Zinc regulates the activity of our genes. It helps to maintain the integrity of membranes resulting in the protection against oxidative injury. Zinc is required for a number of immune functions, including T-lymphocyte activity. Zinc deficiency is associated with atrophy of the thymus gland.  Zinc has been found to reduce the incidence of childhood pneumonia by 41%. That’s more effective than any other treatment studied. Zinc is present in high concentrations in red blood cells. Zinc is an integral part of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase. This enzyme is responsible for rapid release of carbon dioxide in the lungs. In double-blind studies, zinc supplementation has shown to decrease the duration of colds by 7 days. This is why zinc is found in throat lozenges and many OTC cold and flu medicines. Zinc’s antiviral properties are well established in the research literature.

Zinc is critical in the production of male hormones and prostate function. Zinc is highly concentrated in the prostate gland and deficiency contributes to the enlargement of the prostate. Zinc supplementation has been shown to reduce the size of the prostate in the majority of patients. Zinc deficiency decreases male sperm count, motility and increases infertility. During puberty there is an increased requirement for zinc due to increased hormone production. Some researchers believes this is why we see the emergence of acne during puberty.

The need for zinc is well established. We cannot be healthy without adequate zinc. The very best way to get any nutrient is through our food. The zinc content of selected foods in milligrams/3.5 oz. serving are as follows:

Oysters, fresh 148.7
Pumpkin seeds 7.5
Ginger root  6.8
Pecans  4.5
Split peas, dry  4.2
Brazil nuts  4.2
Whole wheat  3.2
Rye  3.2
Oats  3.2
Peanuts  3.2
Lima beans  3.1
Almonds  3.1
Buckwheat 2.5
Hazelnuts  2.4
Green peas  1.6
Turnips  1.2
Parsley  0.9
Garlic 0.6
Carrots  0.5
Whole wheat bread  0.5
Black beans  0.4

I hope you’re eating several of these foods several times each week. If not, you might want to strongly consider supplementing your diet with a food based nutritional supplement. I use a quick Zinc taste test in the office and find most people are deficient. The RDA for men is 11mg/day, and 8mg/day for women. Taking more than the RDA is needed to overcome a deficiency. Once the deficiency is satisfied it’s important to take zinc in a balanced formula so as not to throw off the balance of minerals with Copper and Iron.

Consider the following products from Standard Process that I use frequently:

  • Zinc Liver Chelate 10mg Zn, contains liver, beet root, carrot and oat flour.
  • Chezyn, a balanced source of zinc (10mg), Iron (5mg), and Copper (0.2mg).
  • Immuplex, which I have previously strongly recommended contains 4.5mg of zinc per capsule and a ton of other good stuff.
  • Trace Minerals B12  Zinc 2.7mg, Iron 1.4mg, Copper 0.3mg, and Iodine 145mcg per tablet and other whole foods.

It will be interesting to see in the years to come if Zinc deficiency is a common finding in the people who have had the hardest time handling the Coronavirus. I am not suggesting zinc deficiency is the sole answer, but I believe it should be seriously considered as a contributing factor.

Nutritional deficiencies are rarely isolated. If we find ourselves deficient in one mineral or vitamin there are probably several deficiencies. Taking a whole food based multivitamin/mineral is a reasonable thing to do. I wish the health care establishment would spend just 1% of their money and effort researching the fundamentals of human health rather than looking for the exotic cure-all medicine or vaccine. Unfortunately, vitamins, minerals and whole, natural foods cannot be patented so there is no financial incentive for companies to invest in the research. It’s up to us to use common sense, good judgement and the obeyance of the laws of nature to protect ourselves. If an individual’s zinc level is low, it will make them more susceptible to viral infection. They’ll use up any available zinc as the immune system ramps up. This would leave them with an even more significant zinc deficiency, and thus the loss of smell and taste.

I hope you have found this information helpful and thought provoking.  Please let me know if there are any topics you’d like me to research and address. Please feel free to share this information with any healthcare providers you know who are treating CoVid19 patients.

Dr. David Pence

P.S. Here’s some food for thought…

Is CoVid19 caused by a deficiency of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin?

Does everyone who is exposed to the CoVid19 virus react the same way?

If a vaccine is developed will those people who choose to take it all react the same way?