Your immune system is your first line of defense against all disease, especially infectious disease, 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 ward off viral infections is zinc.
Zinc gluconate,1 zinc acetate2 and zinc sulphate3 have all 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 treatment protocols using hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).
The reason for this is because HCQ is a zinc ionophore (zinc transport molecule),4,5 meaning it’s a drug that improves your cells’ uptake of zinc. Once inside your cells, zinc prevents viral replication.6 This is also why zinc and zinc ionophores need to be taken very early in the illness, or as a prophylactic.
The problem is that zinc is largely insoluble and cannot easily enter through the fatty wall of your cells. Getting all the way into the cell is crucial, as this is where the viral replication occurs. This is why zinc ionophores are so important.
Aside from hydroxychloroquine, other natural, and safer, zinc ionophores include quercetin and epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG). If given early, zinc along with a zinc ionophore should, at least theoretically, help lower the viral load and prevent the immune system from becoming overloaded.
Zinc is crucial for healthy immune function7 — like vitamin D, it actually helps regulate your immune function8 — and a combination of zinc with a zinc ionophore was in 2010 shown to inhibit SARS coronavirus in vitro. In cell culture, it also blocked viral replication within minutes.9