What if I told you that this Coronavirus (COVID-19), might be susceptible to one of the most common minerals on planet earth? What if I told you that mineral, is already on the shelves and widely available around the world? What if I told you that mineral was Zinc?
Would you believe me? After all I'm not
epidemiologist, a virologist, or even a medical doctor. I'm just a lonely
statistician, who has been locked in a basement for almost 45 days now....obsessing over what happened to our lives since this
virus changed our world. For me, it's been 45 days of running down a rabbit
hole filled with odd coincidences surrounding a
opportunistic pathogen and it linkage to Zinc. To be specific: Zinc
Upfront, I will state that I wasn't much of a homeopathic guy before I began this research. Admittedly, I've become much more receptive since.
In my occupation, I've made a modest existence
in tying together indicators that explain athletic production, and predicate
future outcomes. When I have a hunch on underlying indicators, I define the
research, determine the variables, design the method, collect the data, and then
statistically analyze the results. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. That said, I
have never been so overwhelmed with the seemingly blatant relationship that this
pathogen has with Zinc deficiency. What I
present below is with a full understanding of confirmation bias.
Yes, I am swimming outside of my profession. Although I can not create a model to test my hypothesis (see request in discussion below), what I present is data and information from Scientific Studies, Field Studies, and an odd collection of "coincidences" linking COVID-19 with Zinc.
Could it turn out that this virus which is extremely virulent, is no match for a healthy immune system? After all, it is well documented that Zinc plays a major role in keeping our immune system robust and healthy.
COVID-19 Mortality Rates and Comorbidities: Linkages to Zinc Deficiency
COVID-19 is leaving the young relatively symptom free. This is very odd and different than other pandemics. Vastly different than the Great Pandemic of 1918, in which almost 50% of those who died were between 20-40.
This COVID-19 Pandemic is targeting our aging population with much higher rates than typical influenzas and pandemics. It is widely known that as we age, we are more prone to being zinc deficient (link). "It has been estimated that people older than 65 have an intake of zinc below the 50% recommended level (2). A recent study in a group of 102 elderly European people revealed that 44% of them had Zn deficiency and 20% had high Zn deficiency (62)."
This COVID-19 Pandemic is targeting comorbidities with much higher rates than typical flus and pandemics.
The top 2 COVID-19 Comorbidities that really stand out from this New York field study are Hypertension and Diabetes:
Hypertension which typically accounts for about a 15% mortality rate in the US, is a contributing factor to 55% of COVID-19 deaths. WOW. Guess what has been linked with High Blood pressure in a recent study? You guessed it, Zinc Deficiency. Abstract: "Over recent years, researchers have noted a relationship between lower zinc levels and hypertension. However, to date, scientists have been unable to pinpoint zinc's exact role in the development of hypertension."
Diabetes which typically accounts for about a 10-15% mortality rate in the US, is a contributing factor to 37% of COVID-19 deaths. WOW. Guess what has been linked with Diabetes in a research studies? You guessed it, Zinc Deficiency. Abstract: "Zinc levels in serum are decreased in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes because of zinc loss due to excessive urination. It has been shown that supplementation of zinc to Type 2 diabetes patients improve the symptoms of diabetes because it decreases the level of cholesterol and HbA1c levels in blood."
Here's some Zinc Deficiency links to some of the other comorbidities listed:
Dementia: Zinc Deficiency
plays a role
Hyperlipidemia - fats Zinc Deficiency may play a role
Coronary Artery Disease
COVID-19 Symptoms: linkages to Zinc Deficiency
Several common signs of COVID-19 are similar to the ordinary flu: Fever 83%-99%, Cough 59%-82%, Fatigue 44%-70%, Lack of appetite 40%-84%, Shortness of breath 31%-40%, Mucus/phlegm 28%-33%, Body aches 11%-35%.
However here is where it gets interesting, with unusual symptoms, not ordinarily related to flu symptoms.
A. Loss of Taste and Smell - While it is not uncommon to lose sense of smell with viral infections (frequently from having a stuffy or blocked airway in the nose), it is very uncommon to lose sense of taste. Odd Coincidence: Loss of Taste and Smell are a common sign of Zinc Deficiency.
B. Diarrhea - Some viral strains have been known to also cause diarrhea, however most do not. Odd Coincidence: Diarrhea is a common sign of Zinc Deficiency.
C. Swollen Toes - known as COVID toes, coronavirus patients both with COVID-19 symptoms and without, are contacting doctors and pediatricians about swollen, discolored toes and odd rashes appearing. Odd Coincidence: Swollen toes/skin ulcers is a common sign of Zinc Deficiency.
D. Hair Loss - There have been anecdotal stories of hair loss among men with COVID-19, and several doctors in Spain made a point of it here. Odd Coincidence: Hair Loss is a common sign of Zinc Deficiency.
Lowest COVID-19 Mortality Rates: linkages to Zinc Sufficiency
So at this point I'm about 3 weeks down the rabbit hole, I am wondering what are the countries that are doing the best during this crisis. What are they doing, and what is their Zinc intake. This is particularly difficult data to attain as there is no study showing Zinc intake of various counties. So the route I decided on, what are: 1. The foods that are highest in Zinc content, 2. What are the countries that have the highest intake of these foods per capita, and 3. What is the COVID-19 mortality rate in that country.
Here's a list of the foods with the highest Zinc concentrations:
As you can see above, it's basically Oysters and then everything else. Oysters have a WHOOPING >10x multiplier more Zinc than every other food. So for simplicity, I decided to limit my search to countries that have the highest production and intake of Oysters in the world.
According to a commercial website reporting on seasonal oyster markets, South Korea and Japan account for a whooping 75% of the oyster production and market in the world. With South Korea almost accounting for 50% (47%) of the worldwide market!
Now get ready for what really blew me away. What two major countries have the lowest mortality rates in the world with relation to COVID-19? Yep South Korea and Japan, who at around a 2% mortality rate are well below the 7% mortality rate seen around the world..
This like the other information cited above could be coincidence. For instance, France which has a pretty high Oyster intake, isn't fairing particularly well. On top of that we need to consider that other factors may be at play here. For instance South Korea was extremely early with it's testing, and social distancing. On the other hand South Korea has also used Hydroxychloroquine (Zinc transporter) since Day 1 in its early treatment protocol. You can find that linked here to a February 13th article.
It turns out that we have known since 2010 that Zinc knocks out Coronavirus in the laboratory. An in vitro study, back in 2010, provided definitively proof that Zinc inhibits the Coronavirus RNA replication in cell culture. By inhibiting RNA replication, the game changes for this virus. Without replication it can not overwhelm our immune system, avoiding the "cytokine storm" that is proving to be so deadly to our respiratory system.
Pictured below is the presence of COVID-19's sister virus SARS-CoV dissipating with the presence and increase of Zinc.
The problem is that Zinc does not easily enter into the red blood cells in our bodies....without a transporter, or a gateway apparatus. Enter in Hydroxychloroquine or Chloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine acts as a Zinc Ionophore (transporter). To better explain this, a COVID-19 front line doctor called Ronald Sehulth MD, has posted this video which explains how Zinc works against COVID-19 on a molecular basis inside our cells. (Fast forward the video to 1:35)
All is well and good except, "in vitro" doesn't always translate to the same results "in vivo" (inside a living person). Thus the need for clinical trials, and double blinded randomized clinical trials. Many are underway, the problem however is time. Many of these clinical studies take 1+ year to complete. We do have a considerable amount of field studies however. Some have shown to be very promising, while others have caused some confusion.
There is a debate raging whether Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is safe and/or effective. A topic that the FDA has left open to interpretation until some additional clinical studies are finished. Without getting too deep into this topic, I will present information written by doctors who present the latest field studies. Some of these trials do not include Zinc in their treatment protocol, but lets keep in mind that even a modest diet will enable Zinc to be present in the patient's plasma (blood).
Whether or not there is sufficient Zinc in the patients plasma, to fight off virulent virus from replicating is of question. It seems that some underlying conditions (more on this ahead) may leave patients with a zinc deficiency, which could render Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) useless. Remember, it appears that the role of HCQ is that of a transporter into the human cell from the patient's own plasma. Think of Hydroxychloroquine as a transportation truck delivering ammunition to the front line troops waging war. If the cargo bay of the transportation does not have any ammunition (Zinc), then the front line troops fighting the battle, will be left exposed in this war.
- French Doctor Dr. Didier Raoult reports outcomes of a cohort of 2600 COVID-19 patients treated with Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin (link)
- Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a board-certified family practitioner in New York, has treated 1,450 coronavirus patients with Zinc, Hydroxychloroquine, and Arithromycin...only 6 required hospitalizations and 2 deaths. (link)
- There are over 45 countries that are experimenting with Hydroxychloroquine, and India recommends using Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylaxis (preventative) medicine for their healthcare workers (link).
- A compilation of evidence on Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc and Azithromycin COVID-19 (link)
- Immediate Treatment for Early Stage SARS-CoV-2 Infections Recommended To Be Supported Nationally Starting Now (link)
The overwhelming theme however, is that treatment must be started early....very early...once the virus goes unabated, the speed of replication, overwhelms those with compromised immune systems. Sadly, many with Zinc deficiencies don't even know they are deficient.
Need for a specific Study on Zinc Intercellular concentration among COVID-19 population
I want to clearly state that I am not saying that Zinc is a cure for COVID-19, rather an early preventative measure to boost our immune system. If the hypothesis is correct...it could be a way to open our society back up without overwhelming our medical establishment. In other words, if intercellular Zinc can in fact slow the replication of the viral RNA, it in theory, should allow for a healthy immune system to make enough antibodies to make more of us asymptomatic. People will still die, as underlying conditions will still have typical mortality rates, regardless of flu/pathogen....but maybe, just maybe, we can deteriorate COVID-19's lethality to be something in the way of an ordinary flu season.
Again it's just a hypothesis using accumulated data and information points. That said, I have a clear understanding of Confirmation Bias. This feels different...
What we need immediately is a study of
intercellular Zinc levels in those that have COVID-19, separated by those
that are 1. asymptomatic, those that have 2. moderate illness symptoms,
and 3. those that are critically ill/perish. These groups need to be
further separated by age with the control group made up of asymptomatic
former COVID-19 patients when comparing groups (2) and (3). This study would not
necessarily prove the theory, as the virus manifestation itself could in theory
be the cause of the Zinc Deficiency. However it will allow us to possibly
dismiss this theory, or take it to the next critical level of trials.
Preventative steps I'm recommending to family and friends
As I mentioned earlier, I'm not offering medical advice here. Rather....can we boost our immunity to fight this pathogen? Possibly...but increasing our Zinc food intake, or taking Zinc supplements alone does not seem to translate immediately to having enough intracellular Zinc. Again what is needed in theory, based on in vitro studies, is to slow down/stop the progression of COVID-19 if we get infected. The transporter identified in lab studies, Hydroxychloroquine is by prescription only, and only available in hospital or Clinical Trial settings in many US states. That said, there are natural products, that have also shown to be Zinc Ionophores (transporters).
They are derived from a natural product called Quinine (the same product that was used for years to treat Malaria, before the synthetic version: Hydroxychloroquine). In the old days, quinine was added to water and it became known as Tonic Water/Seltzer. Before you run out an buy Tonic Water, understand that it no longer is manufactured to contain a sufficient amount of Quinine needed. You would need to literally drink gallons of it to get the same amount of Quinine that was once contained in a cup. That said, there is a natural product called Quercetin (PubMed published study), that is made by many health food manufacturers and is readily available in health food stores (Sprouts, Whole Foods, Amazon, etc). Also included in the above linked study is a Green Tea extract called Epigallocatechin-Gallate (EGCg) which also acts as a Zinc Ionophore.
What is not known is the amount of dosage Quercetin to take with Zinc. In talking with several health experts on the subject, they have recommended taking the same dosage as listed per serving on the label. It's probably not going to have the same strength as Hydroxychloroquine, but based on the studies conducted, its going to increase our intercelluar zinc levels. Our primary goal is to boost our immune system in a preventative scenario. For those wondering, I take 500mg of Quercetin a day w/ 30mg of Zinc Chelate. I also take a multivitamin and Vitamin C tablet every day as well. *Please note: you really don't want to take in more than 30 mg of Zinc a day, as too much Zinc, can lead to anemia.
If you contract COVID-19, taking a stronger Zinc Ionophore (such as Hydroxychloroquine) along with Zinc should be a discussion had with your physician, and a discussion that should be had EARLY upon diagnosis. Once the virus replicates unabated and damages other organs, such as your lungs. Zinc and the ionophore will likely have minimal efficacy. Think of Zinc as a hand held fire extinguisher, probably works pretty well in putting out a small fire, probably ineffective in putting out a 2 story blaze.
In conclusion, I hope you found this at least interesting and something to think about. Like many of you, I am looking forward to having our lives back from this horrible nightmare, and of course the return our beloved sports. Until then, our number one concern should be the heath of those around us, Stay Well!