Your immune system is your first line of defense against all diseases, especially infectious diseases, and there are many different ways to boost your immune system and improve its function. One nutrient that plays a very important role in your immune system’s ability to fight off viral infections is zinc.
Zinc gluconate1, zinc acetate2 and zinc sulfate3 have been shown to reduce the severity and duration of viral infections such as the common cold. Zinc also appears to be the key ingredient in hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) treatment protocols.
This is because HCQ is a zinc ionophore (zinc transport molecule)4,5 which means it is a drug that improves zinc uptake by your cells. Once in your cells, zinc prevents viral replication.6 For this reason, zinc and zinc ionophores must be taken very early in the disease process or as prophylaxis.
The problem is that zinc is largely insoluble and can’t easily penetrate through the fat walls of your cells. Getting inside the cell is crucial because that’s where viral replication takes place. This is why zinc ionophores are so important.
Aside from hydroxychloroquine, other natural and safer zinc ionophores are quercetin and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Given early, zinc along with a zinc ionophore should, at least in theory, help lower viral loads and prevent overloading of the immune system.
Zinc is critical for healthy immune function7 — like vitamin D, it actually helps regulate your immune function8 — and in 2010 a combination of zinc with a zinc ionophore was shown to inhibit the SARS coronavirus in vitro. In cell culture, it also blocked viral replication within minutes.9