Would Zinc Lozenges Help with COVID-19?

Would Zinc Lozenges Help with COVID-19?
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Zinc may help slow the replication of other coronaviruses, but what about SARS-CoV-2?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Given the current pandemic, “the search for potential [preventive] and therapeutic antiviral strategies is of particular and urgent interest.” So, what about zinc, which is known in some cases to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits? I looked into it as a potential treatment after the fact-checking site Snopes validated that a noted virologist did indeed make a recommendation back in February to “Stock up now with zinc lozenges.” He based his supposition on the efficacy of zinc for common colds, up to 29 percent of which are caused by coronaviruses.

There’s actually a sweet backstory to that: a three-year-old girl undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia (a disease marked by low zinc levels) refused to swallow a zinc supplement. Immunosuppressed, she had just started getting a cold. Instead of swallowing the supplement, she just let it dissolve in her mouth and the cold seemed to disappear within hours. Okay, cute little anecdote, but this observation led her father—her own father—to conduct the first randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial on zinc lozenges for the common cold.

That’s how it all started/ But there have since been more than a dozen randomized controlled trials published, and, overall, researchers have found that zinc is indeed beneficial in reducing both duration and severity of the common cold when taken within the first twenty-four hours of symptom onset. Zinc lozenges…appear to shorten colds, by about three days…with significant reductions…in nasal discharge and congestion and hoarseness, and cough.

The common cold results for zinc are often described as “mixed,” but that appears to be because some studies used zinc lozenges containing added ingredients like citric acid that strongly sequester zinc; so, little or no free zinc is actually released. They taste better, but what’s the point if you don’t actually get the zinc?

So, what’s the best way to take zinc for the common cold? Lozenges containing around 10 to 15 milligrams of zinc taken every two waking hours for a few days, starting immediately upon symptom onset, as either zinc acetate or zinc gluconate without zinc binders such as citric acid, tartaric acid, glycine, sorbitol, or mannitol may work best. Best…for the common cold, but what about for COVID-19?

There are a number of purported mechanisms for the potential protection afforded by zinc. The first is that it interferes with the attachment of rhinoviruses, the most common cause of the common cold, to our cells. This presumably wouldn’t help us in the case of COVID-19, since our new coronavirus utilizes a different docking receptor.

Zinc also appears to slow rhinovirus replication, at least in a petri dish. What about coronaviruses? Zinc inhibits the coronavirus that causes SARS, by interfering with the virus’s ability to replicate its genetic code, but that was in conjunction with a chemical that ferried zinc inside the cells. There are natural dietary compounds that may play a similar function, but even if viral replication were able to be slowed in your throat where the lozenge is, what we care about most is stopping replication of the COVID-19 virus in the lungs.

But a third mechanism by which zinc may help seems more promising: boosting our antiviral immunity. For example, giving zinc pills to children with severe regular pneumonia has been shown to be effective in reducing mortality as much as three-fold over placebo. Three times higher death rates in the sugar pill group. But these studies were done in countries like Uganda, India…, and Ecuador, where there may have been pre-existing zinc deficiencies. So yeah, taking zinc if you’re zinc deficient; no wonder that helps, but it’s unclear if similar benefits could be had in higher-income countries with better population-wide micronutrient status.

Some have suggested that despite the lack of clinical data—no one has yet put zinc to the test for COVID-19—maybe it could help. I’m skeptical it would be helpful in well-nourished individuals, but, if taken as directed, it shouldn’t hurt, though zinc supplements and lozenges can cause nausea, especially when taken on an empty stomach, and some other gastrointestinal symptoms. And one should never put zinc in their nose. In the drug store you’ll find all sorts of intranasal zinc gels, sprays, and swabs that have been linked to the potentially permanent loss of one’s sense of smell.

(Oh, and happy ending: That three-year-old girl beat the cancer, never relapsed, and grew up to become a scientist herself.)

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by AvoMedia

Image credit: danleap via istockphoto. Image has been modified.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Given the current pandemic, “the search for potential [preventive] and therapeutic antiviral strategies is of particular and urgent interest.” So, what about zinc, which is known in some cases to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits? I looked into it as a potential treatment after the fact-checking site Snopes validated that a noted virologist did indeed make a recommendation back in February to “Stock up now with zinc lozenges.” He based his supposition on the efficacy of zinc for common colds, up to 29 percent of which are caused by coronaviruses.

There’s actually a sweet backstory to that: a three-year-old girl undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia (a disease marked by low zinc levels) refused to swallow a zinc supplement. Immunosuppressed, she had just started getting a cold. Instead of swallowing the supplement, she just let it dissolve in her mouth and the cold seemed to disappear within hours. Okay, cute little anecdote, but this observation led her father—her own father—to conduct the first randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial on zinc lozenges for the common cold.

That’s how it all started/ But there have since been more than a dozen randomized controlled trials published, and, overall, researchers have found that zinc is indeed beneficial in reducing both duration and severity of the common cold when taken within the first twenty-four hours of symptom onset. Zinc lozenges…appear to shorten colds, by about three days…with significant reductions…in nasal discharge and congestion and hoarseness, and cough.

The common cold results for zinc are often described as “mixed,” but that appears to be because some studies used zinc lozenges containing added ingredients like citric acid that strongly sequester zinc; so, little or no free zinc is actually released. They taste better, but what’s the point if you don’t actually get the zinc?

So, what’s the best way to take zinc for the common cold? Lozenges containing around 10 to 15 milligrams of zinc taken every two waking hours for a few days, starting immediately upon symptom onset, as either zinc acetate or zinc gluconate without zinc binders such as citric acid, tartaric acid, glycine, sorbitol, or mannitol may work best. Best…for the common cold, but what about for COVID-19?

There are a number of purported mechanisms for the potential protection afforded by zinc. The first is that it interferes with the attachment of rhinoviruses, the most common cause of the common cold, to our cells. This presumably wouldn’t help us in the case of COVID-19, since our new coronavirus utilizes a different docking receptor.

Zinc also appears to slow rhinovirus replication, at least in a petri dish. What about coronaviruses? Zinc inhibits the coronavirus that causes SARS, by interfering with the virus’s ability to replicate its genetic code, but that was in conjunction with a chemical that ferried zinc inside the cells. There are natural dietary compounds that may play a similar function, but even if viral replication were able to be slowed in your throat where the lozenge is, what we care about most is stopping replication of the COVID-19 virus in the lungs.

But a third mechanism by which zinc may help seems more promising: boosting our antiviral immunity. For example, giving zinc pills to children with severe regular pneumonia has been shown to be effective in reducing mortality as much as three-fold over placebo. Three times higher death rates in the sugar pill group. But these studies were done in countries like Uganda, India…, and Ecuador, where there may have been pre-existing zinc deficiencies. So yeah, taking zinc if you’re zinc deficient; no wonder that helps, but it’s unclear if similar benefits could be had in higher-income countries with better population-wide micronutrient status.

Some have suggested that despite the lack of clinical data—no one has yet put zinc to the test for COVID-19—maybe it could help. I’m skeptical it would be helpful in well-nourished individuals, but, if taken as directed, it shouldn’t hurt, though zinc supplements and lozenges can cause nausea, especially when taken on an empty stomach, and some other gastrointestinal symptoms. And one should never put zinc in their nose. In the drug store you’ll find all sorts of intranasal zinc gels, sprays, and swabs that have been linked to the potentially permanent loss of one’s sense of smell.

(Oh, and happy ending: That three-year-old girl beat the cancer, never relapsed, and grew up to become a scientist herself.)

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by AvoMedia

Image credit: danleap via istockphoto. Image has been modified.

183 responses to “Would Zinc Lozenges Help with COVID-19?

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      1. I’m not talking about for Covid, I’m referring to the excellent info on how to choose the right zinc lozenge, with the right forms of zinc and without the fillers that bind it…..for colds.

              1. Caroline,

                There are distinct differences between the use of zinc lozenges and zinc dietarily.

                I’d direct you to this older study that clearly shows efficacy: https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/40/4/483/746799. My clinical and personal experience with a host of different zinc lozenges is that they are efficacious., inexpensive and the responses are often time very quick to respond.

                You’ll also find this 2015 study of interest, with a different approach, gluconates: https://aac.asm.org/content/25/1/20.short

                As to the zinc absorption and food see: https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/130/5/1378S/4686381. There are many more factors to consider when your evaluating adequate zinc in terms of both intake and competitive minerals, etc. It’s far from just a question of phytates.

                Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

            1. Percy-
              That is a dismissive and all-encompassing statement. Not very empirical. That may be true for some. Zinc is hard to get, and many such vegans test low for zinc anyway. Most Americans have been checked to be low in zinc.

        1. Please please please, if you know of a zinc lozenge that doesn’t have any of the binders please post it here! For the life of me I can’t find one that’s suitable in this regard! Thanks!

    1. Is it really useful? ‘Might work’ is what I expect from Dr Oz, not someone who allegedly bases his information on research and fact. This is just another article adding to the useless covid chatter that buries the covid messages that people actually need to hear to stay healthy. I would prefer this lifestyle doctor go back to talking about healthy living and leave public health to the public health professionals.

      1. If you check out the good doctors background I think he ran or he taught disease and infectious disease control for years

        1. Reality Bites knows this. He just chooses to ignore it.

          After all. he appears to work in or with some local public health office somewhere so perhaps we are supposed to think that he is the real expert here

      2. Well he wrote the original version of “How not to die from a pandemic” before he did this site or became known, so it’s the other way around. Plus he’s got – what? – 10-12 videos on this now? Face masks, gloves social distancing are all covered. So saying what we know, suspect and don’t know is helpful. It’s a large subject, and people have hear many things. Also, he has talked about his philosophy of ‘might help’ for ‘no-downside foods’ in the past: If there is some indication but nothing definitive, low cost and no downside – well “why not? Until we put it to the test.” Being overweight is an independent risk factor for Covid related death. If people follow how not to diet, that is actually directly and indirectly helpful.

        Anyway, I appreciate it.

    2. Thanks too from me, Dr. Greger, for actionable information again. Yes, its possibly more related to the the cold of course, but actionable it is, and we appreciate you pushing that information out even if only a potential help for this pandemic. You are evidenced based, but together with your vast knowledge, you offer perspective based on the intelligent connections you make. Some would call that tinfoil hat thinking since there is no current evidence – yet. I call it smart, and again I thank you for all your efforts..

      I’m not sure why anyone would feel the need to recap of your words since both the video and the transcript are readily available. What you have said is clear.

      In other news, here in the US were apparently all good now at least concerning Covid complications treatment – once you have contracted the disease.

      Hold on ….I’m forming my tinfoil hat to fit my head well…. ok there it is. Perfect! Looks good actually. :)

      So.

      Like our greedy hoarders of toilet paper, the US has just purchased every bit of the drug Redemsivir which is “apparently” showing positive results against the complications occurring from Covid. Apparently, like the ugly toilet paper scenario, no other country will have this drug for the next 3 months.

      1. ‘Some would call that tinfoil hat thinking ‘

        Hardly. Dr Greger is entirely rational. It’s naughty of you to try to conscript him into the army of poor souls with weird and wonderful alternative health beliefs who claim that the reason the scientific evidence doesn’t support their opinions is because of a worldwide conspiracy to suppress and distort that evidence.

        1. Im not naughty, and once again you are off.

          And just checking here: Regarding global suppression of evidence, are you actually saying that governments/corporations categorically do not participate in the activity of evidence suppression, and that there is no history of same, no unearthing of same – after the fact, and that any allusions to this idea constitutes a conspiracy theory from an army of poor souls?

          Perhaps there is rather an army of poor sheep, eating the tranquilizing grass of preapproved information release? Could it be that the number one perceived global asset is information (rather than the public good), and therefore would be sought for purposes of shepherding?

            1. YR,

              It looks like the Lamestream media is coming up with a lot of “distractions” in the news lately. I guess they finally realized that the majority of Americans like Law & Order. They now have to take the focus off of the rioters, looters, and arsonists!

            2. well………….Ufo’s might not have been what I was referring too. Was more referring to global public policy and foreign/domestic affairs co-opted for various interests.

              But hey, there is nothing to suggest another type of life form cant exist and be part of some super foreign policy effort. :)

              Personally I’ll focus on the suffering peoples here before I get too concerned with extraterrestrials.

          1. Sure JazzBass, the US, China, the WHO, academia and Bill Gates are all working in collusion to suppress evidence they don’t liker and to manufacture false evidence that suits their nefarious purposes.

            You don’t need to provide any proof of that. Just making the accusation is sufficient isn’t it? All perfectly reasonable and anybody who questions this story, let alone laughs at it, is just a deluded sheeple. Right?.

            1. fumble, yes, pretty much.

              But not quite as you put it.Those were your words.The associations you made are good ones, so thanks for that, but mine haven’t portrayed the neat package you outlined.

              Certainly you don’t really need proof from me regarding the individual roles in nefarious activities of all these players though right? Personally I’d never ask for proof of these sorts of things on a nutrition website, and rather, I look into it and read a book or two.

              Hopefully there is some interest created here to budge a few to look into things a bit deeper and further and from an alternative perspective, since, and trust me on this, there is a mountain of evidence and information that is valid which would support anything I’ve said here on this funny little place. I prefer you seek and find rather than rely on a random link from me.

              Listen, its important to realize that not everything on RT for instance is a lie, and not everything on MSNBC for instance is the truth.

              Better to be self informed through honest research, than close minded.

              I love being here for the info Dr.G provides, and I support his role and intentions. Of the rest of the peanut gallery, many are likely isolated and bored in this time and its understandable, but man since you have so much time, just look into the concept that while this whole C19 is a horrible thing, there is a bigger picture, with players who do stand to make trillions, and see what you find, and from where?

              This is not simply related to vaccines etc, but rather, again a bigger picture of oligarchies, technocrats, and yes local rich mo-fos like gates,fauci, pelosi, trump, kushner, biden, etc… perhaps having both the interest and the capability to do………….. -whatever they might want.

              So, yes F, I believe there is no guaranty that people wielding power and riches are automatically good actors, they are just people, and hey, you and I agree I am sure, some people are assholes.

              There is though, ample evidence that many these types of actors are doing just that – what they want.
              -Regime changes of sovereign nations to suite particular interests without regard to the devastating effects on millions,
              -Occupations creating open air prisons which endanger financial, social, mental and physical health of the occupied, and polluting the rest of the world mind you…
              -crushing sanctions which are designed to hurt regular people, causing famines and untold suffering such that they get mad enough at their democratically elected -though unwilling to be bullied – leaders,to create a civil war where we can test our new weaponry, all simply because another government doesn’t like them.
              -Then we have legislation with corporate interests at core, yada yada yada.

              Seven decades after Churchill has been a shining light of diplomacy and wisdom, for instance, we find the truth of a drunk, racist megalomaniac who starved millions of Indians. Millions. Look into the Bengal famine… He was also in favor of using poison gas against the Afghanis and Kurds for instance. Quite a world view there. Hey, that’s even on CNN last week lol. (usually this doesn’t get to places like that but maybe things are getting better, or its just a news cycle that allows for this kind of info – temporarily, then we can get back to our little head-shaped holes in the ground?)

              Jefferson? I loved him too, as a child, but now we know he and his ilk were really just human traffickers. We can know this by looking into it. Beloved George Washington? He pulled teeth from slaves for his own dentures. You pickin’ up what Im puttin’ down? (Oh, it was just the times?)

              Though I got a million of ’em, I wont be sending a link, (lead a horse to water concept) and again, I reject completely your assertion that even one of my claims are baseless, simply because I don’t spoon-feed you readily available information.

              Regarding the connection to health, which is germane here, I can only tell you that if you feel this moral version of covid-19 I’ve described above, somehow hasn’t gotten into the healthcare industry, national or global, then I say again, look into it buddy.

              Anything to lose?

              In other news, thanks again to Dr. G!!! My BP was 114/71 and total cholesterol 170!

              I’m so thankful to have discovered nutritionfacts.org!

  1. If supplementing with zinc, don’t overdo it

    ‘Zinc toxicity can occur in both acute and chronic forms. Acute adverse effects of high zinc intake include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches [2]. One case report cited severe nausea and vomiting within 30 minutes of ingesting 4 g of zinc gluconate (570 mg elemental zinc) [84]. Intakes of 150–450 mg of zinc per day have been associated with such chronic effects as low copper status, altered iron function, reduced immune function, and reduced levels of high-density lipoproteins [85]. Reductions in a copper-containing enzyme, a marker of copper status, have been reported with even moderately high zinc intakes of approximately 60 mg/day for up to 10 weeks [2]. The doses of zinc used in the AREDS study (80 mg per day of zinc in the form of zinc oxide for 6.3 years, on average) have been associated with a significant increase in hospitalizations for genitourinary causes, raising the possibility that chronically high intakes of zinc adversely affect some aspects of urinary physiology [86]’
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/#h8

    Note that the US tolerable upper level of daily intake of zinc (from all sources) is 40 mg per day.

        1. Zinc toxicity is a medical condition involving an overdose on, or toxic overexposure to, zinc. Such toxicity levels have been seen to occur at ingestion of greater than 50 mg of zinc..

    1. Tom,

      Thanks, as always.

      The 40 mg is interesting.

      I have been cycling on and off since COVID-19 started.

      This week, 3 relatives came up from Florida and none of them are quarantining, even though that is the law.

      This week is a zinc week.

      1. They say that if you are a big phytate eater, you might need 50% more zinc.

        I am a big phytate eater, for sure.

        I don’t fully understand the logic for it, but it seems to me that I take zinc when I feel threatened.

      2. Deb, add the zinc ionophores also, quercetin and lots of green tea. My family has been doing this since late February.
        We do 30gm. zinc per day. And, of course, vitamin D, K2. Also make sure we get lots of vitamin C and multi color fruit and veggies.

          1. ‘consuming too much zinc can disrupt absorption of copper and iron, as well as create large amounts of toxic free radicals. It is easier to over consume zinc from animal foods and supplements where it is more readily available for absorption.

            Vegans and vegetarians who primarily consume plant foods may have difficulty getting enough zinc since zinc is not as bioavailable in plants foods as in animal foods. This is partly because bean and legumes contain phytates which can inhibit absorption. Despite this, plant foods are a still a good source of zinc and there is no reason to eat meat or take a supplement.’
            https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-zinc-vegetables.php

            If you choose to take a zinc supplement, be sure to estimate the amount of zinc you consume from food as well. There is a possible risk of overconsuming zinc if you eat substantial quantities of eg tofu, oats, nuts, seeds and legumes.as well as taking a supplement.

        1. I would really appreciate knowing what you mean by zinc ionophores. Is that a specific form of zinc that is available to purchase? Right now I am taking a product by Jarrow called zinc balance which is 15 mg of zinc and 1 mg of copper but it does not describe anything about the zinc.

          1. Evelyn, to answer your first question, 15mg. zinc to 1mg. copper is a good ratio. Too much copper is very inflammatory.
            I do find vegan patients with high Crp numbers are too high in copper and deficient in zinc.

            Second, to put it simply an ionophore makes the zinc more available. The most common ones in the diet are quercetin found in apples, onions, for example, and egcg found in green tea.
            It is not a type of zinc, but something to take in addition to the zinc to make the zinc work better’

            1. Marilyn,
              Thank you for clarifying that for me. Since you speak of patients do you mind my asking if you are a physician or a nutritionist? You add so much valuable information to this site and I thank you for it.

        2. Thank you, Marilyn!

          Yes, I am taking my D, K2, B12, and sometimes NAC, C, and Zinc.

          It has been harder and harder to get my citrus. I am currently not highly colorful. But I am holding onto Watermelon and Beet, Arugula, and Broccoli microgreens. Cauliflower. Tomatoes. I miss my oranges.

          I think about you and the medical people often during this pandemic.

          For a few weeks, it seemed like things were slowing down, but it looks like we are going to have a whole lot of summer cases.

          1. Thanks Deb. Yes, our hospitals are starting to fill up. The major increase in cases are in people 25-45, secondarily 15-25.
            Probably because they don’t like their social life curtailed and have decided they are at low risk. Most are, of course, but not all. Some are seriously ill.

    2. The instructions on my bottle of zinc lozenges say to take one lozenge (10 mg zinc) three times a day. “10 to 15 milligrams of zinc taken every two waking hours for a few days” is a heck of a lot more than that.

  2. For a while I tried using a bit of Fixodent on my bottom partial ’cause they wouldn’t stay put when I tried to eat something…a damn nuisance. But after a short while I felt very strange in my face area. Numbness? Something told me to call the company and ask if that ever occurred with people before. I was told to stop using it immediately, so of course I did so. Since then I wear the things only when I go out in public…and now with the mask-wearing, I probably don’t even need to do that.

    https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/legal-news/fixodent-denture-adhesive-cream-zinc-poisoning/fixodent-denture-adhesive-zinc-poisoning-27-13765.html

    I try to avoid supplements of any kind (except for a daily multi) and let food be my medicine.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/zinc-supplement-oral-route-parenteral-route/side-effects/drg-20070269

    1. YR,

      I attended Dr. Greger’s webinar about vitamin B12, but didn’t take notes (since I am supposed to receive an e-mail with access to all the videos, which I have not yet received), but I do recall his mentioning that a multi-vitamin might not be a good source of B12 due to interference with it’s uptake by other vitamins in a multi-vitamin pill. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the details, but perhaps a Health Volunteer for this site could provide them to us.

      I don’t take a multi-vitamin pill, but do take B12 at 1000 mcg/day, since I’m older than 65 and eating whole plant foods, and vitamin D at 1000 IU, also because I’m older.

      1. since I am supposed to receive an e-mail with access to all the videos, which I have not yet received)

        Hoping to receive it soon.

        Hint. Hint. Hint.

        1. Deb,

          I just found my e-mail from attending the B12 webinar — in my junk mail folder.

          I have yet to download the videos…maybe tonight.

      2. Dr. J.,

        I too am older, and probably could do without the 50+ gummie multi (which probably does nothing but rot my teeth), but I also do eat some animal foods and I can see my face is tan already from all the walking-in-the-sunshine I do every day. (We could use the rain.) Plus, my bedroom window faces the west (tall building) faces the west and I can also get plenty of sunshine that way too.

        My sister said that a last blood test revealed that she should cut down on the Vit. D supplement she was taking.

        I suppose I could take an occasional B12 supplement though.

      3. B Complex degrade B12 composition and efficacy. If you take B12 supplementation, it was advised to take it separately. Multivitamin compounds also interact with each other and it weas suggested they be avoided as the resulting synthesised compounds can be harmful. Sublingual Cyanocobalamin was recommended due to it’s stability, as long as it’s chewed (to mix with saliva). 2000mcg per week as a weekly dose (or equivalent daily dose). Over 60’s were advised to take significantly more to ensure correct B12 uptake.

  3. Two things worth noting:

    1) Many zinc lozenges contain sugar or honey and repeated over time will be a major contributor to rotting your teeth! Get lozenges sweetened w/ xylitol, erythritol, or stevia to avoid that issue.
    2) Too much zinc in stomach at one time can cause intense nausea so don’t take them too frequently. The amount a person can tolerate is individual but if you suddenly find you feel like puking, that last lozenge may have been one too many/too soon after the one before.

  4. Zinc is an ion and cannot break through the “cell gates” so to speak but if given with hydroxychloroquine that is the agent that “opens the gates” allowing the Zinc ion gets in. Key has to be given within hours – too often if later, the nasty COVID19 replication is out of control. I got this medical lecture from MedCram that has lecture postings on youtube. He like you sites all the medical journals and studies to support his lectures.

    1. Dr. Zelenko in New York State used a hydroxychloroquine cocktail (hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Azithromycin) on about 350 patients. They were able to take it at home, and the rate of hospitalizations was greatly reduced, as of the date he was interviewed. The reasoning was as you say, plus the addition of an antibiotic to prevent bacterial infections. In my state, Delaware, I believe this cocktail is given only when someone is hospitalized, unfortunately. I realize Dr. Zelenko’s experience is anecdotal, but I would try it if I tested positive for this Corona virus. Hydroxychloroquine is Plaquenil, given to lupus patients and to the military going to certain areas of the world (maybe where malaria is a possibility). This has been done for years and is considered very safe.

  5. “Zinc inhibits the coronavirus that causes SARS, by interfering with the virus’s ability to replicate its genetic code, but that was in conjunction with a chemical that ferried zinc inside the cells.” Query whether the chemical involved in this process was the much-maligned hydroxychloroquine.

    1. And Diane is correct, the two should be given as soon as possible after a COVID-19 infection is suspected, even before test results confirming the infection come back.

  6. It amazes me that this doctor leaves out the most important fact when telling people about zinc.

    Zinc toxicity is a medical condition involving an overdose on, or toxic overexposure to, zinc. Such toxicity levels have been seen to occur at ingestion of greater than 50 mg of zinc. Excessive absorption of zinc can suppress copper and iron absorption. Nausea, vomiting, pain, cramps and diarrhea may occur.[

      1. YR, I quit using Google search a long time ago. Too much censorship. I now use DuckDuckGo. Did you hear about the latest fiasco in censorship?

        “Popular Youtube chess channel hit by YouTube’s racial justice algorithm:
        Apparently, saying things like “white knight takes black pawn” is now too racist for Google’s artificial intelligence! ”

        Story here:
        https://noqreport.com/2020/06/30/popular-chess-channel-hit-by-youtubes-racial-justice-algorithm/

        1. Actually, Darwin, I shouldn’t have used the “g” word. I never use Google. I should have said “search engine,” whichever one you use. Yes, “Mr. Duck” is a great substitute.

          Both YouTube and Google will get their comeuppances some day, just wait.

          1. YR, Yes, I sure hope G & Y are held accountable some day.

            Also, I hear an new Free-Speech substitute has been formed to replace Twitter. I never used Twitter in the past, so I’m watching from the sidelines to see how that develops.

      1. Upping your risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer seems a steep price to pay to get some extra zinc in the diet………….. especially when there is plenty in a variety of plant foods.

    1. A small can of smoked oysters, 500% daily Zinc, plus super high in copper and Vitamin B12.

      But you won’t find the U and P Kosher sign on the package.

  7. At the 4.46 timestamp, Dr. G says zinc may help decrease diarrhea but then soon after, mentions it, along with other G.I. distress as side effects from taking zinc. Does zinc cause diarrhea or help with diarrhea?

    1. Fawn,

      The answer is “Yes” to both.

      It can reduce the duration and severity of diarrheal episodes for up to three months.

      Or it can cause it.

    2. As Deb has commented like many minerals zinc can affect body systems in more than one way. In this case it can decrease diarrhea, especially if there is a zinc deficiency. However, it can also act to loosening bowels (diarrhea) as a side effect when given for GI upset. The body needs balance and not too much or too little or it will be affected negatively!

  8. I’m wondering about the studies and wanted to know if there is insight regarding the actual efficacy of zinc, based on the idea that people get differing degrees of colds at different times.

    Not dismissing the data, rather asking genuinely about cause/effect observations related to individuality of people’s ability to fight off any “invader”.

    Not sure if they artificially subjected the participants to colds rather than waiting for signs of a naturally occurring illness, etc, but speaking purely from experience, nothing else, I have had cold sometimes for a day, sometimes for a week etc…

    So my main question is can we be sure that zinc was the reason for lessening the colds effects, rather than the natural ability for a unique body(s) to fight off that particular strain?

    I realize that the designers of the studies likely have thought of this, as well as Dr G, but I don’t think this was mentioned in the vid…

    1. jazzBass,

      The Cochrane Review looked at multiple studies. At least 13 that I saw, but their paragraphs were confusing to my brain. Not sure if 13 was the final number because other paragraphs talked about pooling 6 similar studies and one talked about pooling 5 studies. There were at least 2 studies where it was tested for preventing colds and there was a slight difference.

      The P-value is where researchers try to figure out the likelihood that something happened by chance.

      They emphasized that their review “provides convincing evidence from 13 randomized placebo-controlled trials that taking zinc soon after the onset of symptoms of the common cold significantly reduces both the duration and severity of symptoms.”

      Lowering severity sounds pretty good.

      I have used zinc and have had it seem to help but I don’t get colds or flu almost at all, so that goes back quite a ways. Honestly, I was broken-hearted that the nasal swabs showed potential harm because those were my favorite. No metallic taste at all. Versus permanent damage to the sense of smell. Hmmm?

      1. So I too, used it with no effects, also a while back… but who knows, maybe my cold/flu was supposed to have been more of a “doozy” and was actually lesser so with zinc? Thanks for the response, and I can say that my question was probably unclear.

        So try this one:
        How can we know just how severe and lengthy a cold was supposed to have been”, by any research?

        I suppose flu for instance is one of those “if you arent better by 2 weeks, see a doctor.” so maybe they al last 2 weeks? (Unfortunately I am the one who, if its a real flu that hits me, gets super sick for one week and six days, with doc appointment in hand, then I finally go in, and Im feeling better by the time I arrive….)

        That said, I do still wonder how they can know in any of these studies, how long you personally would have exhibited symptoms, and thereby showing proof that zink helped it shorten?

        1. I don’t remember the last time I stayed home in bed all day with a miserable “common” cold…whatever that is. Decades ago? What was so horrible was not being able to breathe during the night, being all clogged up and such. It was the first night that was the absolute worst, but things got better after 3-5 days.

          Don’t know why, but I’ve never had any zinc lozenges hanging around, nor have I ever tasted one. Probably should get some. I’d do the towel-over-the-head-breathing-into-a-hot-pan-of-water thing….salt water….honey-and-lemon drinks….drink more water than usual…..and let Nature take it from there. Staying well is an everyday effort. But I think my daily yoga exercises and bouncing on the rebounder a coupla times a day are very helpful too.

            1. YR, it looks like the study you posted is in line with another expert with an epidemiological and statistical background:

              It’s a different outlook from the mainstream, but from a reputable scientist.

              Bottom line: Up to 80% may not even be susceptible to Covid-19.

              Karl Friston uses advanced mathematical models much more sophisticated than the crude models used by WHO and most world governments.

              As the interviewer asked: How do the models you use differ from the conventional ones epidemiologists rely on to advise governments in this pandemic?

              Answer: Conventional models essentially fit curves to historical data and then extrapolate those curves into the future. They look at the surface of the phenomenon – the observable part, or data. Our approach, which borrows from physics and in particular the work of Richard Feynman, goes under the bonnet. It attempts to capture the mathematical structure of the phenomenon – in this case, the pandemic – and to understand the causes of what is observed. Since we don’t know all the causes, we have to infer them. But that inference, and implicit uncertainty, is built into the models. That’s why we call them generative models, because they contain everything you need to know to generate the data. As more data comes in, you adjust your beliefs about the causes, until your model simulates the data as accurately and as simply as possible. Standard models start to fall apart when you think about the underlying causes of the data. You need models that can allow for all possible states, and assess which ones matter for shaping the pandemic’s trajectory over time.

              https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/31/covid-19-expert-karl-friston-germany-may-have-more-immunological-dark-matter

              and, https://unherd.com/2020/06/karl-friston-up-to-80-not-even-susceptible-to-covid-19/

              1. ha now sometimes the claims go too far, even for me.

                re:rebounder, health benefit number 33??

                33. Reduces the urge to ruminate.

                Research has found that doing exercises such as rebounding helps prevent people from ruminating on past negative events by altering the blood flow to the areas in the brain that trigger people to repeat stressful thoughts over and over.

                Wow, rebounding is the new frontal lobotomy!

                I’ll reserve judgment and I do hope it helps some stuckies.

        2. They usually base these findings on the differences between the average responses in two separate groups of individuals.

          Ideally, you might take say 1,000 people and randomise 500 to the zinc supplement group and 500 to the placebo group ensuring that none of them know which is taking the supplement and which is taking the placebo. Then you infect all of them with the same cold or flu virus and measure the resulting length and severity of the cold/flu symptoms (if any) in both groups. They might find for example that the zinc supplement group experienced symptoms for significantly less time than the placebo group.

          Sometimes, though, they just observe very large groups of people and record the number of people who report taking zinc supplements and the number who report not taking supplements. Then they survey them for the frequency, length and severity of colds/flu’s.

          None of it however guarantees that you personally will respond in the same ‘average’ way found in any of those studies. It’s just a very broad rule of thumb. Especially since there is a large number of cold and flu viruses (new ones seem to emerge every year) and there is no certainty that they all respond to zinc in the exact same way.

              1. Looks like a good one, Fumbles. I’ll watch it when I return from the supermarket. Leaving soon.

                (True I wasn’t going to post again until Mercury went direct again, but you can see I don’t let ol’ Merc. totally rule my life. :-)

  9. COVID-19 is certainly not common cold, it is an immunopathology of the innate immune system dependent on host background, causing severe and acute respiratory distress (SARS)-like and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)-like reactions.

  10. Some doctors have used zinc with chloroquine, and it directly kills the endothelial cells, as chloroquine is a zinc ionophore, and zinc enhances the citotoxicity of chloroquine.

    Killing cells is not what any serious doctor wants to do. COVID-19 is not cancer. What is needed to inhibit viral mobility, viral replication and thus viral load, by optimizing the natural response of the innate immune system through low-fat no cholesterol plant nutrition in combination with other techniques enhancing the bioavailability of nitric oxide, THE natural endogenous SARS-CoV antiviral that our body produces.

    1. ab,

      I read today that the studies will be continuing on hydroxychloroquine. They believe that it could help prevent COVID-19.

      I am not trying to predict the results. I am just saying that the book is still being written on it.

      1. Hydroxychloroquine + Azithromicycin (an antibiotic) has been a long-term protocol supported by Dr Didier Raoult in France, a world expert in infectiology. The goal is clearly to target the bacterial infection consecutive to the viral infection in order to limit the autoimmune complications of the disease, while expecting hydroxychloroquine to inhibit the viral replication.

        But it doesn’t do anything to optimize the response of the innate immune system, which is largely influenced, positively or negatively, by nutrition in the first days of the viral infection, even before the first symptoms actually occur.

  11. Interesting info esp for colds (which can sometimes linger and develop into a nastier respiratory infection) but Dr Greger really should have elaborated on the toxicity and side effects risk. Is it ok to take high doses for (what length of time)? How serious is the risk? Now I’m left with more Q’s than A”s

  12. Also, Dr John Campbell caused me to wonder what Dr. Greger said when the WHO said that they couldn’t even imagined a pandemic was possible a few months ago.

    I laughed at Dr Campbell’s honest response to that concept.

    https://youtu.be/5Te4ZnM1GQs

    Dr Greger,

    Reality Bites and I will go around in circles every day of this series about whether you are qualified to speak on this topic.

    But the WHO wasn’t expecting any pandemics and you were warning about them in exact detail over 10 years ago.

      1. Marilyn,

        I have been thinking the same thing this whole pandemic.

        Back in March when the WHO was saying that they had never seen a pandemic caused by a coronavirus and still seemed skeptical that it could possibly happen.

        They seem highly lacking foresight and even this latest update is going to be something I could have written myself as a follower, rather than having a sense of them being leaders.

        They are now going to try to get people to be political, but they didn’t mention their own leadership or lack thereof.

        They are constantly behind.

        It might be their process is not responsive enough, but they aren’t demonstrating a process of being prepared.

        I look at what Dr. Greger did back when he worked at the Humane Society and his work was forward thinking. It is still ahead of where most leaders are now and that has enabled me to have already looked up Swine Flu and Dengue and all of the other things that are out there right now, so when I hear that there are symptoms similar to Dengue in autopsies of COVID-19, I already mentally know that there was a big Dengue outbreak and that Dengue spreads by mosquitoes and now I have something it does in the body.

        Maybe next month the WHO will mention something, but it is clear that they were more afraid of alarming people than preparing them.

        I would rather have leaders who inform and prepare.

    1. Deb

      You wrote ‘But the WHO wasn’t expecting any pandemics and you were warning about them in exact detail over 10 years ago.’

      It’s true that they weren’t expecting a specifically corona virus pandemic but, in fact, the WHO has been urging pandemic preparedness for far longer than 10 years.
      https://www.who.int/influenza/preparedness/pandemic/en/

      Your statement is therefore a bit misleading and may encourage the anti-WHO nuts and all those who believe that they know far more about everything than actual experts.

      1. Tom,

        Someone who worked there 10 years ago may have been expecting it, but in March and now they are communicating that they weren’t expecting it.

        I am not against having a WHO. If they didn’t exist, we would have to invent them.

        I am just calling them ridiculously passive.

        Maybe they weren’t passive 10 years ago?

        1. They weren’t expecting a corona virus pandemic because all other known human corona viruses merely produce mild colds. So what? They urged countries to prepare for zoonotic infection pandemics. That’s the key point. WHO reports etc included eg

          Essential steps for developing or updating a national pandemic influenza preparedness plan
          March 2018
          A checklist for pandemic influenza risk and impact management
          January 2018
          Pandemic influenza risk management – A WHO guide to inform & harmonize national & international pandemic preparedness and response
          May 2017
          Summary of Key Information Practical to Countries Experiencing Outbreaks of A(H5N1) and Other Subtypes of Avian Influenza
          July 2016
          GIP: comparative_analysis_php_2011
          January 2011
          WHO pandemic influenza preparedness and response guidance
          2009
          WHO checklist for influenza pandemic preparedness planning
          2005
          Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework
          2011
          Whole-of-Society Pandemic Readiness
          pdf, 1.19Mb
          This guidance is a complementary document supporting pandemic influenza preparedness. It provides detailed information on the whole of society approach to pandemic preparedness. July 2009
          Considerations on exercises to validate pandemic preparedness plans
          pdf, 30kb
          WHO activities in avian influenza and pandemic influenza preparedness
          Evolution of a pandemic A(H1N1) 2009
          April 2009 – August 2010, 2nd edition
          Public health measures during the influenza A(H1N1) 2009 pandemic
          2009
          Global consultation on addressing ethical issues in pandemic influenza planning
          Maintaining a Safe and Adequate Blood Supply during Pandemic Influenza
          pdf, 150kb
          Options for the design and financing of an H5N1 vaccine stockpile: key findings and study methodology
          pdf, 492kb
          Proposals to finalize remaining elements of the “Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework for sharing influenza viruses and access to vaccines and other benefits
          WHO consultation for the development of a global action plan for increasing pandemic vaccine supply, 2-3 May 2006
          Global pandemic influenza action plan to increase vaccine supply
          Agencies and Governmental Representatives on Influenza Pandemic Vaccines
          Informal consultation on influenza pandemic preparedness in countries with limited resources
          WHO guidelines on the use of vaccines and antivirals during influenza pandemics
          Vaccines for pandemic influenza. Informal meeting of WHO, influenza vaccine manufacturers, national licensing agencies, and government representatives on influenza pandemic vaccines. Summary report
          Will Vaccines Be Available for the Next Influenza Pandemic

          Is that being ridiculously passive?

          Then there are the other epidemic and potential pandemic diseases they monitor and prepare for:

          Pandemic, epidemic diseases
          Chikungunya
          Cholera
          Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever
          Ebola virus disease
          Hendra virus infection
          Influenza (pandemic, seasonal, zoonotic)
          Lassa fever
          Marburg virus disease
          Meningitis
          MERS-CoV
          Monkeypox
          Nipah virus infection
          Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
          Plague
          Rift Valley fever
          SARS
          Smallpox
          Tularaemia
          Yellow fever
          Zika virus disease
          https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/en/

          It’s easy to criticise the WHO for not being able to predict the future. I am not sure that doing so is either intelligent or constructive. Especially since nobody else was able to predict this particular future either.

          Incidentally, Dr Greger wasn’t expecting a corona virus pandemic over 10 years ago either. It’s incorrect to state or imply that he did. He just warned against the real risk of zoonotic pandemic infections. That’s also what the WHO has been warning us about with a particular but not exclusive focus on possible influenza pandemics (understandable given just how lethal the 1918 pandemic was).

            1. “why did they back off of it in March and why are they wishy-washy about it now?”

              This means nothing to me. Can you quote chapter and verse? In other words, are you able to provide specific criticisms rather than some vague (mis)interpretation of what the WHO actually did and said?

              Note that I am not arguing that WHO is perfect merely that many of the internet/alternative criticisms appear to be based on ignorance of what WHO has been doing and ignorance of its role and and powers.

          1. I believe that Dr. Greger specifically did say that he was concerned that a future pandemic would involve something like a coronavirus.

            I am not sure whether it was his Bird Flu book or his Flu Factory video.

            1. His sentence was something like a hypothetical imagining if a coronavirus mutated with something more deadly, but the whole point is that he was looking at the potential of these mutations happening back then.

            1. I am pretty sure Dr. Greger specifically mentioned that there was something to worry about when there was a coronavirus in the mutation because it spreads more easily.

              1. Again, Deb, can you provide chapter and verse?

                The point I am trying to make is that WHO has been warning of, and preparing for, zoonotic pandemics for many years. So has Dr Greger. I don’t recall Dr Greger predicting a corona virus pandemic but then I haven’t bought any of his books.

            2. Both SARS and MERS emerged after 2009 when Dr Greger wrote his paper on the risk of zoonotic pandemic infections and the WHO commenced planning for zoonotic pandemics.

              ‘Common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives. This information applies to common human coronaviruses and should not be confused with coronavirus disease 2019 (formerly referred to as 2019 Novel Coronavirus)’
              https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/general-information.html

              See also

              https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/types.html

      2. Dr. Campbell said sentences like that medical people and health leaders’ job is to be expecting things like pandemics. He said that is what the extra education is all about. He said that if nurses said things like, “We didn’t expect bed sores.” or doctors said, “We didn’t expect the wounds to get an infection.” that we would be upset with them for not knowing what they are doing.

        Their language sends the wrong message.

        Having them be wishy-washy right now causes them to lose the air of being the world leader in this.

        I am not pointing only at them as poor leaders.

        We don’t have a whole lot of inspirational leaders either.

        There is no Mandella of pandemics.

        Dr. Greger might well be that role for the vegan community, but the young people not having leaders right now has caused them to do their own thing in America.

        The young people are trying to get it and America is closer to 40 states with an R Naught of 1 and we crossed 51,000 new cases today.

        1. As I understand it, Dr John Campbell is just a GP. He is not an expert on either pandemics or the WHO.

          If he maintains that the WHO has not been expecting or urging the world to prepare for zoonotic pandemics, he is simply wrong as a matter of fact. It’s always a good idea to fact-check statements by YouTube pundits even if they are licensed medical practitioners.

          1. Fumbles, I think John Campbell is a Phd Nurse Teacher, not an md. I have enjoyed watching his daily videos this past spring. In the video yesterday he was discussing the statement issued by the WHO and was critical of their opening statement. He then goes on to talk about the other points they raised.
            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5Te4ZnM1GQs

            1. Thanks Barb. I have only briefly looked at some his videos and wasn’t able to watch any of them to the end. I had had the impression that he was a GP but you are correct, he is actually a retired A&E nurse (teacher/educator). I apologise for that but my basic point (that he is neither an expert on pandemics nor on the WHO) still stands I think.

              I was just responding to what Deb reported he had said. Indeed in the first minute of that linked video you posted, he misrepresents the WHO statement that he himself had quoted just moments previously. The WHO didn’t say, as he claims, that they couldn’t imagine a world pandemic..He clearly didn’t understand what the statement actually said even though he had appeared to be reading from a copy of it only a few moments before Nor did he appear to be aware of all the previous WHO work on pandemic preparedness.

              It’s that general sort of thing that caused me not to watch any of his previous videos to the end After getting a few minutes into them, there was always some statement or other by him that suggested (to me at least) that he didn’t really fully understand all the matters about which he had an opinion.

      3. Tom,

        I am going to think about what you are saying.

        To me, China said that they had a SARS situation at the beginning and that meant to me, “Prepare for pandemic” I didn’t minimize it as a cold. Maybe because Dr. Greger wrote a very powerful Bird Flu book (A reviewer called it a “Zinger” and it really, really, really was a zinger)

        1. To me, them not thinking a coronavirus could cause a pandemic is maybe what made me roll my eyes.

          (Which is an arrogant response from me, but it probably came after Dr. Campbell started rolling his eyes back in February.)

          1. Okay, the next comment that I will comment on is that if the WHO wasn’t expecting a pandemic and still was barely willing to declare one March 11th, then, I can’t hold any of the NY politicians telling people to go out and socialize like normal or Donald Trump or any of them responsible for any of it.

            WHO is the expert and the people at the government levels were waiting for their guidance.

            1. There is 100% chance that President Trump and his advisors talked to someone at the WHO in making his decisions about whether this would become a pandemic.

              What genuinely surprises me is that he chose Fauci, rather than a “keep society open for the economy” person.

              Honestly, he gets a lot of accusations about his motivations and his intelligence but he was listening to “keep the economy open” people, for sure, because they were vocal, even in NY still at St. Patrick’s Day. And he was listening to “people will kill themselves because of the economy” people, because he talked about the people not sleeping for 24 hours talking about topics like that. And he was listening to Fauci and chose to save lives.

              People point to NY as where his money is and he wanted NY to close their economy, but he also wanted the states to be able to make their own decisions and that part surprises me, too.

              I am not saying this as a political statement. I am processing whether any of our leaders can “catch up” if the WHO waits that long to decide things like “pandemic” versus “no pandemic”

              President Trump says things that genuinely startle me all of the time, but I saw him really trying and the WHO making a “change the politics” statement when they were the ones the politicians were going to doesn’t sit well with me.

              I would rather a non-political evaluation of how we even will ever be able to process this information from here to eternity.

        2. There had been two previous SARS outbreaks (SARS 1 and MERS). Neither evolved into a pandemic. Initially, the assessment was that covid 19 was another epidemic like those.two. It became classified as a pandemic once more information was available.

          In any case, WHO had plans and procedures ready.for pandemic. It is very easy to criticise WHO with the benefit of hindsight … but they didn’t know then what we know now. The question is was WHO’s response reasonable in the context of the information available to it at the time?

          The WHO also had no power to march into China and tell it what to do. The same people who criticise it for not doing that are those who would be most indignant of the WHO attempted to dictate to the US how it should respond to this problem.

          1. Tom,

            I won’t disagree about most of what you said.

            The WHO communicated back in March that they wanted to be cautious not to talk about pandemic because they didn’t want people to become afraid.

            What I will say in response to that is that the masses don’t follow them. The governments and medical people and the press follow them and look to them about what to communicate to the masses.

            Them being worried that the government leaders might panic is a focus issue.

            Their audience is government most of all. They need pro-active communication generally.

            1. Yes, but I understand that there is no hard and fast definition of a pandemic. For a while covid 19 was assessed as an epidemic like SARS 1 and MERS.

              It’s arguable that WHO only defined covid 19 a pandemic when it did because until that point so many national governments around the world were taking no action to contain the disease.
              https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/03/11/coronavirus-pandemic-world-health-organization/5011903002/

            2. Seems like a good place to point out that Fauci dissuaded the use of masks to the american public early on as well, stating later that he wanted to ensure medical staff had them. (but he knew as we all could have that masks were essential, and its only now that its public knowledge) Its also true that the CDC mentioned much later to use masks (in lockstep with Fauci).

              None of this means that they didn’t still recommend face coverings, per se…but that’s a nuance easily lost on the american public and greater so on american politicians, who may need a bit more than pro-active communication, rather a conscience would be a good start.

              Bottom line is the current and ongoing runaway infection rate here could well have some connection with this suppression of info. It does also go to leadership and yes too in healthcare, purposely misleading the public. Ah hmm.

      1. If you experience an erection lasting over 3 hours, go to a doctor, you might have COVID-19.

        Or your supplements might have viagra in them?

        Teaching Universities would make that experience much more miserable.

        The hundredth intern asking when your erection started and the researcher wanting to know if COVID-19 could be passed through your sperm.

        Well, I have to go home now. My sister-in-law called me and said that there is a homeless man sleeping out in the parking lot at work and I am alone here now and they would like me to not be.

      2. I’d say the medical community hangs its hat on findings like these.

        I’m guessing the poor guy who was sedated at the time (if he is an industrious chap never to miss an opportunity) is thinking: “Man, and I missed it?”

  13. Instead of diverting the public with zinc lozenges, Dr Greger should rather wonder why the United States, country with the highest propagation of the virus in the world (highest ecosystemic viral load) is also the country with the highest consumption of dietary fat and cholesterol.

        1. Let’s not mix everything. I am not talking about mortality rate. France has the highest relative mortality rate in the world due to poor and inadequate medical treatment of COVID-19 confirmed cases.

          I’m talking about “ecosystemic viral load” which translates in high number of cases and high propagation of the virus.

          US clearly has the highest number of cases in the world. China and India have a greater population but far less COVID-19 cases.

          Even compared to Europe as a whole US beats the added number.

          You can not deny that US is the country where one eats the most of meat, animal foods and fats. It is the country of fast foods chain, and big steaks.

          Epidemiological studies based on unknown data don’t impress me on this point.

          1. You provide no evidence for your assertions. Your claim that the US is the country with the highest dietary fat and cholesterol consumption was factually incorrect. And I am not aware that anyone anywhere even measures ‘“ecosystemic viral load” on a country by country basis.

      1. Uh, so your data is from 2010. see this exactly the sort of thing im talking about with “supporting” links meant to discredit etc… oh well

        But it is true we are not the country with the highest obesity rate. Unless you count countries with more than 20 people in it.

        Just kidding, that’s Kuwait who beats us in obesity rates, ever so slightly, but they drive everywhere, even more than we do. (And frankly if the fat people bombed the crap out of my country’s oil reserves under the auspices of protecting me, while exporting KFC and burgerking I would probably do a fair amount of war induced binge eating as well.

        However if you go above a population of only 5 mill, well hey BINGO we win! We are the best, again! (At being the fattest.)

        Number one baby! Woooot! Yes! Every other country who has 5 million or more people in it is skinnier than we are.

        We are close to king at omega 6’s as well. But even if others take the cake, they are all fitter, we are generally fatter.

    1. It is tragic that this pandemic was a missed opportunity to clear up the widespread confusion on the connection between lifestyle and chronic diseases, and to encourage lifestyle changes like a low fat, low cholesterol, high fiber diet, weight loss if needed, plus saline nasal rinses, 45 to 60 minutes daily of walking or other aerobic activity, adequate sleep, improving nitric oxide levels, improving endothelial health: all measures to PREVENT becoming ill in the first place with this or any other viral or chronic disease.

      Since China regularly sends these dangerous viruses our way, do people really want to wear masks, stay six feet apart, avoid gatherings, practice social isolation of those with risk factors FOREVER? Taking advantage of the widespread panic to push lifestyle change aimed at reducing the burden of chronic disease in our country would have been a much better road to choose.

  14. I have questions about b12 recommendations. I watched the webinar but i have some questions that weren’t asked. The recommendations say to take the supplement on an empty stomach. When should you take it? Before breakfast? Between meals? I want to avoid burning my stomach with acid. Is a sublingual comfortable to take on an empty stomach? Are there chemicals in foods that will destroy b12 if you consume them together and they mix in your stomach? I understand now that cyanocobalamin won’t be converted well enough to active forms in people with kidney disease. I remember when i watched the older videos I thought that cyanocobalamin would make the kidney damage worse but I misunderstood. I thought it was a risk for a senior with impaired kidney function to take it because it would damage their kidneys but it was that the b12 supplement wouldn’t convert. How can someone eating plant-based manage b12 status for the bookend stages of life when their GP is uninformed? Informing them about this would work if they listened but what if they’re hard-headed and you can’t find an open-minded GP? Do you just take the dose and cross your fingers? How is it that some people live to old age without b12 supplementation? I thought that they wouldn’t be able to absorb enough even if they eat foods with b12 at every meal.

    1. ‘How is it that some people live to old age without b12 supplementation? I thought that they wouldn’t be able to absorb enough even if they eat foods with b12 at every meal.’

      Older people are just more likely to have difficulties absorbing B12. It doesn’t mean that each and every older person has that problem.or needs to supplement. The people with problems are those with

      ‘ insufficient dietary intake especially among alcoholics and vegetarians and malabsorption due to several conditions like chronic atrophic gastritis mainly in the elderly, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis and drugs like metformin and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).’
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649932/

      Some older people do not have any of those risk factors and therefore do just fine without supplementation.

      As for your GP, s/he may be aware that the NHS recognises that ‘vegans’ may need a B12 supplement
      https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-vegan-diet/

      Nevertheless, the question of B12 supplementation in patients with kidney disease is a complicated one.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6413093/
      https://ukidney.com/news/nephrology-developments/entry/vitamins-are-harmful-in-patients-with-chronic-kidney-disease

      It’s best to discuss these issues with your nephrologist or other medical adviser familiar with the details of your case. Don’t forget to mention that you eat a plant-based diet and therefore do not obtain B12 from meat, eggs, fish, dairy etc

      1. There is a lot of misinformation about vitamin B12.

        It is actually a great benefit to not have B12 from meat, eggs, fish, dairy, etc. Vitamin B12 is a fragile vitamin that is easily degraded into analogs, including the one that comes in multivitamins.
        https://econtent.hogrefe.com/doi/10.1024/0300-9831.78.45.195

        When you cook all those aimal foods, it may also degrade the vitamin B12 into non analog forms. You then end up with correct B12 blood tests, while most of the B12 is actually not bioactive.

        Non bioactive vitamin B12 analogs may then actually impair important biological processes such as myelination of the nerves, which explain the high rate of cognitive disorders in animal products eaters.

    2. Arthur, the risk with cyanocobalamin is about the cyanide which is released in the organism once metabolized.

      People who smoke and who take cyanocobalamin supplements have a higher risk of lung cancer, and it may be due to the additive effect of cyanide from smoke and cyanocobalamin.

      In people with kidney dysfunction, cyanide may not be efficiently metabolized by the kidney, so it may represent a health hazard too…

      I’m surprised that Dr Greger recommends cyanocobalamin, which turns out to be not that well metabolized, and also resulting in vitamin B12 analogs, plus it releases cyanide into the body. But Dr Greger also recommends vitamin D3 a potent rotenticide…

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodenticide#Hypercalcemia

      1. Interestingly, some of the best rodenticide are a combination of “anticoagulant + antibiotic + vitamin D”…

        Wait a minute… What ? Is this not what some doctors are giving to COVID-19 patients ?

      2. Well chocolate is toxic to dogs so effects in animals don’t always translate to identical effects in humans. Because large of amounts of vitamin D is toxic to rodents doesn’t necessarily mean that small amounts are toxic to humans.

        ‘Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) are used as rodenticides. They are toxic to rodents for the same reason they are important to humans: they affect calcium and phosphate homeostasis in the body. Vitamins D are essential in minute quantities’
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodenticide#Hypercalcemia

        The US National Institutes of Health provide some useful information on vitamin D and health

        https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

        Regarding B12, the US National Institutes of Health also say

        ‘In dietary supplements, vitamin B12 is usually present as cyanocobalamin [5], a form that the body readily converts to the active forms methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. Dietary supplements can also contain methylcobalamin and other forms of vitamin B12.

        Existing evidence does not suggest any differences among forms with respect to absorption or bioavailability. However the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from dietary supplements is largely limited by the capacity of intrinsic factor. For example, only about 10 mcg of a 500 mcg oral supplement is actually absorbed in healthy people [8].

        In addition to oral dietary supplements, vitamin B12 is available in sublingual preparations as tablets or lozenges. These preparations are frequently marketed as having superior bioavailability, although evidence suggests no difference in efficacy between oral and sublingual forms [19,20].’
        https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/#h3

        1. Once again, you fail to acknowledge the simple and proven fact that B12 is a very fragile vitamin that can easily be degraded into non bioactive analogs, by contact with other minerals or nutrients and probably by cooking too.

          Vitamin B12 in multivitamins or in supplemented foods may thus be degraded into non bioactive forms of B12. You then have high B12 serum levels of non bioactive B12 that can not be differentiated from the bioactive ones.

      3. Cyano B12 is the one that tests best for reversing B-12 deficiency.

        Methyl isn’t shelf stable and I have had it fail twice.

        There is a PubMed study where they recommend either Cyano or using multiple of the others.

        As far as the cyanide goes, flaxseed has 5000 times more cyanide and Dr Greger has a video of how much flaxseed is too much and it is a lot.

        Everything has cyanide in it. As long as you have enough…. I think it was glutamate… your body processes it very well.

        There has never been even one person who ended up in an ER from Cyano B-12.

        I laugh because people accuse Dr Greger too worried about the cyanide in bitter apricots And then the same people balk at the tiny amount of cyanide in Cyano B-12 and they also eat flaxseed which has 5000 times more cyanide and don’t even worry about that at all.

        1. Cyanocobalamin is not a whole food like flax seeds. You clearly can not compare the two, as there is far more in a seed than in a cyanocobalamin pill.

        2. What Dr Greger doesn’t say is that betaine is a stimulator of vitamin B12 production in our microbiome:

          Dependence of Betaine Stimulation of Vitamin B12 Overproduction on Protein Synthesis
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC240058/

          “The foods with the highest betaine concentration (mg/100 g) were: wheat bran (1339), wheat germ (1241), spinach (645), pretzels (237), shrimp (218) and wheat bread (201).”
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC240058/

          And Dr Greger doesn’t inform you either that in an iranian village of poor people eating mostly bread, they didn’t find any vitamin B12 deficiency
          https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/8/3/374/4787274

    3. Thanks for your comments. Now that there are these videos it will be easier to communicate with doctors. A checklist/flowchart would be good too for telling doctors what to consider when making a recommendation for b12.

      1. I feel that this website takes the wrong approach to get people to eat plant-based. It puts the onus on laypeople who aren’t medically trained and probably not medically literate to work out what to do. Also not of the right temperament. For example me, I didn’t know what kidney disease is. I thought that a gfr under 90 was kidney disease and I was wise in my own opinion so I didn’t ask or check to verify. I just learned what it is a few days ago. Another example, I felt a little weird initially in this eating pattern like getting leg cramps and i figured it was because i was taking only cyanocobalamin so i took both cyano- and methyl- when it could have been because i was swallowing the tablet or it could be other things. I made up this narrative in my mind to justify my reasons for taking/giving the b12 doses that I did. It is better to promote a diet that encourages people to eat more plants and if you want to eat only plants talk to your doctor. Don’t assume all people are reasonable. Assume the Dunning-Kruger effect. Assume they don’t check everything and they fill in the gaps with their own opinion. Assume Murphy’s law. The focus should be on the doctors to prescribe the diet.

    4. not sure what the Doc recommends re: WHEN to take the b12 , most take supplements upon starting your day…I can/do take the sublingual B-12 anytime, usually morning oatmeal time, and it has zero side effects. I got a “vegan” one but its methyl…

      Deb, how would you know the b12 failed? I’m curious… (its not like I feel it so specifically, like say, a big glass of wine etc…)

      I do hope much of the info will be posted here at some point.

      1. perhaps blood test showed B-12 deficiency? But still unwitting cofactors could have messed with absorption at that particular time…no?

    5. You do have many questions, although it looks like some have already been answered below by knowledgeable commenters. As a nurse I can answer your first
      question on what is an empty stomach based on this resource: National Institute of Agin:Common Questions (https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/medicines-common-questions-answered):”Taking medicines on an empty stomach means that you should take your pills 2 hours before you eat or 2 hours after you eat. Two examples: Eat first and take the pills 2 hours later. If you eat breakfast at 8 a.m., wait until 10 a.m. to take your pills.5 days ago” A sublingual is comfortable taken on a empty stomach. Since you are taking your B12 on an empty stomach you needn’t be concerned about taking foods that will destroy the B12.
      I hope that will give you some reassurance now on taking your B12 supplement.

      Medicines: Common Questions Answered | National Institute …

      1. Actually I’m taking the cyano-cbl tablet after food. I’ve stopped the methyl-cbl sublingual now. The sublingual cyano-cbl that I can get at a pharmacy has citric acid as an excipient. The TGA website is good for finding supplements that are legally sold in Australia. You can type in b12 for example on the search bar and you can search on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) to find a list of excipients for each b12 supplement sold in Australia.

  15. Hello Dr. Greger,

    The hypothesis that zinc would help is not about zinc by itself. It is about the combination of zinc + zinc ionophores that shuttle the zinc ions into cells so that the zinc ions can interfere with RdRP (RNA dependent RNA Polymerase), which SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 and other RNA viruses use to replicate.

    See this:
    Zn2+ Inhibits Coronavirus and Arterivirus RNA Polymerase Activity In Vitro and Zinc Ionophores Block the Replication of These Viruses in Cell Culture [Published in 2010]
    https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1001176

    The zinc ionophore activity of substances like quercetin and EGCG (epigallocatechin-gallate, usually sold as green tea extract) is of interest for the same reason hydroxychloroquine was of interest. Hydroxychloroquine is a zinc ionophore. Unfortunately, hydroxychloroquine also has serious cardiac side effects, and was causing people to die, and the risk wasn’t worth it. However, quercetin and EGCG appear to be safe from these side effects.

    Take a look at this:
    Zinc ionophore activity of quercetin and epigallocatechin-gallate: from Hepa 1-6 cells to a liposome model. [2014]
    https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Zinc-ionophore-activity-of-quercetin-and-from-Hepa-Dabbagh-Bazarbachi-Clergeaud/9f28bfa5ebf0466f697cb9c820220366fc149c0f

    Remember your video on how green tea seems to be anti viral? Might this zinc ionophore activity of green tea account for some of its antiviral behavior?
    What do you think of the combination of zinc + food based zinc ionophores such as quercetin and EGCG? Has this been put to the test?

    1. ZInc ionophore acitvity is triggering apoptosis of cells… for example, it enhances the cytotoxicity of chloroquine…

      You might want to trigger apoptosis of cancer cells, but not of normal body cells… COVID-19 is not cancer…

      You do not fight an infection by killing the infected cells… what you want to do is to inhibit viral entry and viral replication by optimizing the innate immune system response so that the acquired immune system has less work to do and with less risks of autoimmune complications…

      So low-fat and no cholesterol nutrition, in order to limit cholesterol crystals formation that leads to systemic inflammation, consecutively to the increased influx of blood-circulating cholesterols into cells once the viral infection started and the innate immune system inhibited endogenous cholesterol and long-chain fatty acids de novo synthesis.

      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26686653/

        1. Deb,

          No I’m talking of low fat NO cholesterol, not low fat low cholesterol.

          Plus, it should be starch-based and contain nitrate rich and cyanidin rich foods in order to boost nitric oxide and inhibit cholesterol crystal formation.

          For severely ill patients, far-infrared photobiomodulation might also help, on short duration on the legs, arms or wrists, in order to boost endothelial NO.

  16. I bought a roll of zinc lozenges (zinc guconate) every year for the last 15 years. My colds usually start with a sore throat, so I start taking lozenges every 3 hours at the first sign of a sore throat. Usually treat for 1 and 1/2 to 2 days. My colds last about 3 days with very mild discomfort. My colds used to last at least a week, before I started using zinc lozenges.

    1. Joe,

      Yes, I believe that.

      I hated the metallic taste from the lozenges, but I remember using Cold-Eeze and Zicam decades ago and I do feel that they helped.

      This year, for the first time in decades I had a sore throat and it felt like strep throat. I did nasal saline irrigation and gargling saltwater and I gargled a chlorine dioxide mouthwash and I drank a higher pH water and the symptoms were gone within 2 days. I think I ended up doing PEMF. I don’t use that every day anymore but I do use it to make it harder for viruses to gain traction.

      Honestly, I had those symptoms when my worker called in saying they had tested positive for COVID-19 and I mentally went into a “Okay, I have 48 hours to fight this with all of my might.” mode.

      I liked the nasal saline irrigation studies. I feel like the high pH water rocked, as they say. It felt like everything turned around with those.

      It might have been psychological but the pH was so comforting. I immediately stopped drinking coffee and started chugging a high pH water.

      I had read an article that viruses use an acidic environment to gain entry into a host and I thought, well, I can do everything possible to raise my pH. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncb2678.pdf?origin=ppub

      I did take zinc pills.

      And I also slept all weekend and I mean all day long. That is how I know that I could really have been sick. That I could sleep at all.

      I went from being afraid I had COVID-19 or strep throat to no symptoms at all in 2 days flat.

  17. I did the “How can I quickly lower the viral load?” process.

    https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/sars-cov-2-viral-load-and-the-severity-of-covid-19/

    Here was one of a type of coronavirus and pH articles. https://jvi.asm.org/content/jvi/65/4/1916.full.pdf

    I, honestly, was feeling really sick at the time and couldn’t really read much more than the title, but a few titles saying that viruses need acidic pH made me want to talk with the guy in prison.

    They weren’t testing anyone back then. They didn’t even have enough tests for everyone who went to the hospital with symptoms.

    All I know is that they said not to come to the hospital unless you were on death’s door or they would send you home.

    I saw a Newsweek article where a family got over a million dollar bill from their deceased relatives medical care and it was not the only bill they will be getting. Just one of the bills.

    Let’s see, about $3000 for the med that might make it last a few days shorter? Or zinc?

  18. When I looked at the studies of the Nasal Saline Irrigation – not on COVID but other coronaviruses were included – one thing that I LOVED was that they said that it decreased the illnesses in household members by 35% and decreased the duration of illness by 22%.

    There was less viral shedding. It quickly became math and I would like to ask any math person if they could tell me in plain language what ≥0.5 log10 per day means. It means almost nothing to me but I still liked reading the word reduction with regards to viral shedding.

    When individuals infected with similar viruses (rhinovirus, coronavirus, enterovirus and influenza virus) were compared, 30% more individuals had reduction in viral shedding by ≥0.5 log10 per day in the intervention arm.

        1. YR, Thanks for the compliment :-) I have to refresh my memory on a lot of this stuff, but I think it helps keep the ole brain cells from dying off ;-)

          1. “And can we really believe Fauci anymore? From what I’ve read, he has been wrong so many times already.”

            Not just wrong, but misleading too on masks, early on. I don’t know, if you can be hanging around the white house for 40 years its not because you are bucking the system.

            So the question is rather, can you trust the system?

            Imagine… we actually have presidential election here in a few months. lol

  19. Do zinc lozenges have any impact on those are are already getting adequate–or even more than enough zinc–from their diet? After all, the stubborn little 3 y/o (cute!) was already zinc deficient. So is there any reason to believe that excess zinc in those eating a diet very rich in zinc, would have any benefit? Also, isn’t it important that we’re careful with mineral supplementation such as zinc, copper, iron… sucking on zinc lozenges all day doesn’t sound 100% safe to me.

    1. Oh, question answered… I failed to read the last part of the transcript originally. But I’m not sure if zinc blood levels were measured in the common cold studies, before testing them on the lozenges.

      “I’m skeptical it would be helpful in well-nourished individuals”

  20. Perhaps especially relevant to Dr. Greger’s audience, as zinc intake and serum zinc concentrations are lower in vegetarian vs. non-vegetarians.

    Foster and Samman, 2015. Vegetarian diets across the lifecycle: impact on zinc intake and status. In Adv food nut res (Vol. 74, pp. 93-131). Academic Press.

    The consortium of pulmonary physicians that put together the MATH+ protocol for inpatient Covid-19 treatment suggest a few supplements that might (emphasize might) be useful in Covid-19 prophylaxis. Zinc lozenges are on there, as well as vitamin D, vitamin C, melatonin, and the OTC drug famotidine (Pepcid in the US). But the references to their applicability in Covid-19 are mostly speculative and there’s been no randomized controlled trials. But they’re cheap, have limited side effects, and even placebos may be of benefit in psychologically stressful times.

    1. I’m a vegan and my zinc intake is extremely high without trying. Plants are extremely high in zinc, eating a balanced WFPB diet should give you all the zinc you need and then some. It would be hard not to get enough zinc unless you’re eating a diet of refined foods or you’re not eating all the food groups such as beans/legumes, nuts/seeds, whole grains. Nutritional yeast has an impressive about of zinc, as well. And there’s zinc in vegetables in lower amounts than the aforementioned food groups.

  21. I’m having a problem finding lozenges without zinc binders such as citric acid, tartaric acid, glycine, sorbitol, or mannitol. Can anyone help with a brand name? Thanks!

    1. Joyce: A couple weeks ago I ordered the “Amazing Formulas” zinc gluconate (50 mg) lozenges, chosen largely for zinc form, dosage and price. Excipients list is dicalcium phosphate, cellulose, sodium croscarmellose, silicon dioxide, stearic acid, magnesium stearate. I did find one study in which 10 g cellulose impaired zinc absorption (actually, increased fecal Zn excretion), but for the other compounds could find no relevant research. Hopefully this formulation is similar enough to the ones used in lozenge research with positive results.

  22. Kwashiorkor can be treated with zinc according to a pubmed search, zinc saves the skin of people with it. ADHD is a lot like kwashiorkor and can also be treated with zinc. Pellagra is a lot like schizophrenia and can be treated with B3 or limed grains. Pernicious anemia is a lot like alzheimers and can be treated with B12 which all vegans should take. I think many diseases are like this, MS rickets D3 with vegans should take. Iodine pain which vegans should take, Silicon haemmerhoids. Selenium AIDS, Manganese Asthma, so maybe Hibiscus tea would be good for asthma. Thank you very much for this website and this report.

    1. Matthew,

      The scientist who helped find a cure for Pellagra was Dr. Fred Kummerow who also for over 5 decades tried and tried to get the FDA to get
      trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils out of the American diet and was finally able to do so in 2015. He had around 460 published scientific food research reports.
      His strict diet and exercise routine was so good that at age 102 he still had a full head of hair, smooth skin, smooth voice and sharp mind.

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