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  • Writer's pictureJeff Matrician, Lic. Ac.

Tips for a Better Immune System: Take Zinc

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Daily Zinc Intake:

Research has shown that Zinc is associated with a better immune response to the common cold, reducing the duration of nasal congestion, sore throat and cough.

Low levels of zinc have been associated with lower immunity and susceptibility to pneumonia in the elderly. If your absorption of nutrients is poor, if you consume large quantities of alcohol, or if you are vegetarian/follow a restricted diet, consider supplementing to about 15mg a day. 25% of the population has been shown to not get adequate amounts from their regular diet.

Using Zinc to limit the duration of acute upper respiratory viral infections:

A statistically significant number of studies have shown that taking lozenges or liquid zinc is beneficial to shortening the viral infections that cause common cold symptoms. Coating the throat may interfere somehow with the virus entering the body. The protocol used in these studies is to coat the throat every 2-3 hours with a zinc lozenge at the earliest sign of infection. A Cochrane meta review concluded that “zinc (lozenges or syrup) is beneficial in reducing the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people, when taken within 24 hours of onset of symptoms”.

It is important to note that the common cold is caused by various types of coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, RSV and parainfluenza.

Zinc can cause mild nausea for some people. The upper amount that is considered safe for "almost all" adults to take everyday is 40mg according to the Institute of Medicine.

So the takeaway here is:

  • If you are not getting enough Zinc in your diet, or to be certain that you are, increase your intake of Zinc rich foods or take 15 mg a day in pill form.

  • If you are coming down with a cold, start the lozenge or liquid zinc protocol. But keep in mind that the lozenge protocol is not something that is intended to be taken long term. Daily doses at or over 150mg-450mg will start to have adverse effects. Nasal sprays that contain high doses of Zinc have also been associated with olfactory reduction in rare cases, so I do not recommend using them.

For complete information including a list of Zinc rich foods go to:

If you would like to order herbs or supplements, I have an account with Wellevate, an online dispensary that carries the complete Emerson Ecologics line of wellness products and supplements. 
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Please contact me if you have any questions about any of my posts.

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