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Zinc is a mineral that is necessary for a strong immune system. Because of this reason this mineral is commonly added to supplements and other healthcare products that are meant for boosting immunity. Zinc deficiency can make you more susceptible to disease and illness. In fact, a major study has found an association between lower levels of zinc in the blood with a poorer outcome in COVID-19 patients. Lower zinc levels may even increase the risk of death in people infected with the novel coronavirus, the study suggested.
The researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of symptomatic COVID-19 patients admitted to a tertiary university hospital in Barcelona, Spain during the period between March 15, 2020 and April 30, 2020.
Lower plasma zinc levels at admission were found to be associated with higher inflammation in the course of infection and greater risk of mortality, said study author Roberto G erri-Fern ndez, Hospital Del Mar, Spain.
According to the statistical analysis, among those who died due to COVID-19, the baseline zinc levels were significantly lower at 43 mcg/dl compared to 63.1 mcg/dl in survivors. Overall, having a plasma zinc level lower than 50mcg/dl at admission was found to be associated with a 2.3 times increased risk of in-hospital death compared with a plasma zinc level of 50mcg/dl or higher.
The researchers are not clear about the effect of plasma zinc levels on SARS-COV-2, the virus the causes COVID-19. However, they found that patients with higher zinc levels had lower maximum levels of interleukin-6 (proteins that indicate systemic inflammation) during the period of active infection.
Each unit increase of plasma zinc at admission to hospital was found to be associated with a seven per cent reduced risk of in-hospital mortality.
The authors called for further research to assess the therapeutic impact of this association.
The human body needs zinc to activate T lymphocytes (T cells) that help the body in controlling and regulating immune responses and attacking infected cells. A lack of zinc can severely impair your immune system function. The recommended intake of zinc per day as per age and sex is as follow:
Zinc is naturally found in many different foods. Some of the best sources of zinc are beans, animal meats, nuts, fish and other seafood, whole grain cereals, and dairy products. This mineral is also added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods. It is also available as supplements in the form of capsules and tablets. While taking zinc supplements, keep in mind the tolerable upper limit, which is 40 milligrams for males and females over 18 years.
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