How To Increase Your Zinc Intake
Like vitamin D, many factors impact the absorption of zinc and increase your risk for deficiency, for example, things like excessive consumption of alcohol, dietary consumption of phytates, following a vegan or vegetarian diet, excess copper, excess iron, and gut health conditions like ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease11. Knowing your individual risk factors for zinc deficiency is the first step in boosting your zinc intake. Keep reading to learn just how easy it is.
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When Should I Take Calcium Supplements
Most calcium supplements in Australia contain calcium carbonate or calcium citrate
- Calcium carbonate requires an acidic environment for maximum absorption and should therefore be taken with meals
- Calcium citrate does not require an acidic environment and therefore can be taken on an empty stomach, but is still better taken with food. It is the preferred calcium product for people who need to take anti-reflux medications
- Bones are in a constant state of maintenance and remodelling. Even as an adult your skeleton is constantly being reshaped your skeleton is replaced, bit by bit, about once a decade. This process, known as ‘bone turnover’, takes place mainly at night-time. This is why it is best to take calcium supplements at night
- Taking calcium with a meal minimises side effects such as constipation
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Will A Vitamin D Supplement Protect Me From Coronavirus
The National Institutes of Health states that there are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
Most people in the United States consume less than recommended amounts of vitamin D, which is a critical to maintaining strong bones. It helps the body absorb the calcium youre taking in, so those who have a deficiency may develop brittle bones. The immune system also needs vitamin D to help fight off bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin D is found in some foods, such as fish, cheese and mushrooms as well as regular milk, soy, almond and oat milk. The body makes vitamin D when youre outside in sunny weather, and most people receive at least some vitamin D this way but of course, where you live plays a big factor in how much.
There have been a number of studies done recently that observed the impact of vitamin D on coronavirus. In one of these studies, made up of 489 participants, it was found that those who had a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to people who had normal levels of vitamin D.
While a vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States, its even more common among Hispanic and African-American people, who have also experienced higher rates of COVID-19.
The Roles Of Zinc In The Inhibition Of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Zinc, an important micronutrient especially for enzyme activity and zinc fingers, is essential for regulating both innate and adaptive immune systems and maintaining immune tolerance. It holds the proliferation and maturation of leukocytes and lymphocytes and modulates the inflammatory responses. Several studies have shown the association between zinc deficiency and the prevalence of respiratory infections among the population. Rerk suppaphol et al., in a double-blind placebo study of zinc supplementation in the treatment of acute respiratory tract infections, showed a 45% reduction in the rate of acute respiratory infections . Singh et al., in their randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial study, reported the ameliorative effect of zinc in reducing the duration of colds . Some other studies have indicated the antiviral activity of zinc against various viruses including influenza , rhinovirus, herpes virus, respiratory syncytial virus and transmissible gastroenteritis virus . Such immunomodulatory and antiviral properties of zinc, highlights its potential role as a supportive agent in the treatment of COVID-19.
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Will Taking Zinc Protect Me From Coronavirus
At this time, there is no hard evidence proving that zinc can help with COVID-19. High-dose zinc has been found to reduce how long cold symptoms last, and it is known to play a key role in supporting the immune system, but so far there hasnt been enough research done to determine its impact on someone with coronavirus.
Zinc is the second-most common trace mineral in our bodies, affecting all organs and cells. Its an essential mineral that most Americans get plenty of in our diets by eating foods like beans, nuts, whole grains, red meat, poultry, and dairy.
Zinc helps to strengthen the immune system and regulates metabolism, and if youre eating foods regularly that contain zinc, you are likely getting enough to feel the positive impact of the mineral without needing to add an extra daily supplement.
Those who are pregnant, as well as some infants and children, may be told by a physician to add a zinc supplement for extra care, but most of us who are healthy and follow a balanced diet are getting enough zinc.
If a person isnt zinc deficient, taking a zinc supplement likely wont provide any additional protection. Experts have found that once you have the minimal of amount of zinc in your system, adding a supplement doesnt necessarily mean your immune system is boosted even more.
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Dietary Sources Of Omega
Omega-3 is found in marine, plant and animal sources including:
- fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, anchovies, sardines and trout
- oils such as flaxseed, canola and walnut
- nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, walnuts and chia seed
- leafy green vegetables
- foods with added omega-3 fatty acids, such as milk, yoghurt, eggs and bread
- eggs, chicken and beef
Alpha-linolenic acid is the essential omega-3 fatty acid. It cannot be made in the body and must come from the diet. The most abundnant source of ALA is flaxseed oil. Chia seeds, walnuts, and pepitas are also good sources of ALA.
Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. The body can also use ALA to make EPA and DHA.
Vitamin C Adverse Effects / Risks
According to a 2020 research review, potential adverse effects of Vitamin C supplementation include headaches, flushing, nausea or vomiting, and dizziness. There have been reports of migraine headaches with a daily dose of 6 grams.
Significant amounts of vitamin C can increase the risk of kidney stones and elevate uric acid and oxalate because it acidifies the urine.
Vitamin C supplementation is contraindicated in blood disorders like thalassemia, G6PD deficiency, sickle cell disease, and hemochromatosis. Avoid taking supplements immediately before or following angioplasty. Diabetic patients should take vitamin C supplements with care as it raises blood sugar levels.
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How To Increase Your Vitamin D Intake
We’ve discussed how vital vitamin D is for your health, and it’s important to know that many factors may inhibit your ability to adequately absorb vitamin D. These include lack of exposure to sunlight, gut conditions like Crohn’s disease, colitis, liver disease, and celiac disease, and a low-fat diet. Thankfully, many dietary, supplement, and lifestyle factors can increase absorption and vitamin D levels. Keep reading to learn more.
Foods High In Zinc And Vitamin D To Support Your Immune System
We’re all extra concerned about “boosting” our immune systems these days. And while an overall nutritious diet plays a big role in that, you’ll also want to pay attention to certain nutrients.
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In particular, zinc and vitamin D have spent time in the spotlight as of late: Because of its anti-viral and immune-regulating properties, zinc has the potential to be a supportive treatment in people with COVID-19, per an August 2020 review in the journal âMaturitasâ. Meanwhile, deficiency in vitamin D has been suggested to increase the incidence and severity of COVID-19 infection, according to the review.
That said, simply eating foods with vitamin D and zinc won’t keep you from getting sick, but it could help support an overall healthy immune system.
“Zinc and vitamin D are nutrients that are getting lots of attention for immunity, and with good reason â they support a healthy immune system,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD.
Most of the immune-supporting credit that vitamin D and zinc are getting is due to the fact that they are most helpful for people deficient in them, she adds.
You can find both vitamin D and zinc in foods, but vitamin D occurs naturally in far fewer foods. Still, some foods like fatty fish and mushrooms exposed to sunlight contain vitamin D, and you can also find foods fortified with vitamin D.
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How To Take It
You should take zinc with water or juice. If zinc causes stomach upset, it can be taken with meals. Don’t take zinc at the same time as iron or calcium supplements.
A strong relationship exists between zinc and copper. Too much of one can cause a deficiency in the other. If you take zinc, including zinc in a multivitamin, you should also take copper.
Do not give zinc supplements to a child without talking to your doctor.
Daily intake of dietary zinc are listed below:
- Infants birth – 6 months: 2 mg
- Infants 7 – 12 months: 3 mg
- Children 1 – 3 years: 3 mg
- Children 4 – 8 years: 5 mg
- Children 9 – 13 years: 8 mg
- Boys 14 – 18 years: 11 mg
- Girls 14 – 18 years: 9 mg
- Men 19 years and older: 11 mg
- Women 19 years and older: 8 mg
- Pregnant women 14 – 18 years: 12 mg
- Pregnant women 19 years and older: 11 mg
- Breastfeeding women 14 – 18 years: 13 mg
- Breastfeeding women 19 years and older: 12 mg
You should not take high doses of zinc for more than a few days unless your doctor tells you to. Talk to your doctor before taking more than 40 mg of zinc per day and take breaks from zinc supplementation. During those breaks, get zinc from a well-balanced diet.
Elderberry Adverse Effects / Risks
- Raw unripe elderberries and other parts of the elder tree, such as the leaves and stem, contain toxic substances that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea cooking eliminates this toxin. Large quantities of the toxin may cause serious illness.
- Little is known about whether its safe to use elderberry during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
- Dont rely on elderberry or other dietary supplements for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They have not been shown to be effective.
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Oral Ascorbic Acid Versus Zinc Gluconate Versus Both Agents Versus Standard Of Care
In an open-label clinical trial that was conducted at two sites in the United States, outpatients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were randomized to receive either 10 days of oral ascorbic acid 8,000 mg, zinc gluconate 50 mg, both agents, or standard of care.3 The primary end point was the number of days required to reach a 50% reduction in the patients symptom severity score. The study was stopped early by an operational and safety monitoring board due to futility after 40% of the planned 520 participants were enrolled .
Patients who received standard of care achieved a 50% reduction in their symptom severity scores at a mean of 6.7 days compared with 5.5 days for the ascorbic acid arm, 5.9 days for the zinc gluconate arm, and 5.5 days for the arm that received both agents . Nonserious adverse effects occurred more frequently in patients who received supplements than in those who did not 39.5% of patients in the ascorbic acid arm, 18.5% in the zinc gluconate arm, and 32.1% in the arm that received both agents experienced nonserious adverse effects compared with 0% of patients in the standard of care arm . The most common nonserious adverse effects in this study were gastrointestinal events.
Whats The Evidence That Supplements Are Helpful For Covid
Though COVID-19 is a new illness, a few clinical trials have explored the possibility that supplements may be effective. And, unfortunately, most of the evidence is unconvincing.
For example, a few observational studies link lower blood vitamin levels with a higher risk of testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 . But studies like these cannot prove that vitamin D protects people against infection. Further, a randomized controlled study of people with moderate to severe COVID-19 who received a high dose of vitamin D showed no benefit.
Similarly, a 2021 study of zinc and vitamin C demonstrated no benefit for people with mild COVID-19. In this study, people whose symptoms did not require hospital admission were randomly assigned to receive
- only vitamin C, 8,000 mg/day
- only zinc, 50 mg/day
- both supplements at the doses above
- neither supplement.
The researchers found that people receiving the supplements, whether individually or combined, had no improvement in symptoms or a faster recovery when compared with otherwise similar patients receiving neither supplement.
Proponents of melatonin for COVID-19 have encouraged researchers to perform trials of this supplement, but so far convincing evidence of benefit is not yet available.
Zinc Adverse Effects / Risks
Acute adverse effects of high zinc intake include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches.
Taking 150450 mg of zinc per day have been associated with chronic effects such as low copper status, altered iron function, reduced immune function, and reduced levels of high-density lipoproteins.
Zinc supplements can interact with several types of medications, including:
Talk to your doctor about using a zinc supplement if youre on any of these medications.
How Can I Best Protect Myself And Loved Ones
Unfortunately, we cant say for sure that any vitamins or supplements can help treat or prevent COVID-19, but we are continuing to research and learn. Until a vaccine is developed and available for public use, your best defense methods against coronavirus are to continue wearing a mask and social distancing, as well as:
Avoiding contact with anyone who is sick
Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Washing your handsoften or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Continue to stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 news by visiting our Coronavirus Resource Hub.
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Side Effects Of Oral Zinc Supplements
Zinc supplements are generally well tolerated, though theyve been associated with adverse side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain in some people .
Plus, exceeding 40 mg per day of elemental zinc can cause flu-like symptoms like fever, coughing, headache, and fatigue .
Zinc can also hinder your bodys ability to absorb copper, potentially leading to a deficiency in this key mineral over time .
Furthermore, zinc supplements have been shown to interfere with the absorption of certain antibiotics, reducing their effectiveness if taken at the same time .
To reduce your risk of side effects, stick to the recommended dosage and avoid exceeding the tolerable upper limit of 40 mg per day, unless under medical supervision.
If you experience any negative side effects after taking zinc supplements, decrease your dosage. Consider consulting with a healthcare professional if symptoms persist.
Zinc can cause negative side effects, including digestive issues and flu-like symptoms. It may also interfere with the absorption of copper and reduce the effectiveness of certain antibiotics.