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Do You Need To Take Quercetin With Zinc? A Question From The Dr. Green Mom Community

in Supplements, Vitamins & Minerals

I’ve just finished a series of blog posts about zinc and a great question came up in the comments: Do you need to have quercetin to absorb zinc? 

Do You Need To Take Quercetin With Zinc?

The short answer is no: we don’t need quercetin to absorb zinc. 

But the longer answer is: quercetin is a zinc ionophore. That means it helps get more zinc into cells. If you have been reading online about Covid-19 treatments, you may have come across zinc ionophores. Some of the most talked about ionophores include: quercetin, hydroxychloroquine, and components of green tea and black cumin seed

The theory says: zinc ionophores help to fight C-19 by getting more zinc into cells. Does this happen in practice?

How Does Zinc Fight C-19? And Do Ionophores Like Quercetin Make Zinc More Effective?

Getting more zinc into cells is a smart strategy because zinc improves immune function in general. In addition, zinc specifically inhibits C-19 virus replication and decreases the availability of receptors that C-19 viruses can attach to. 

At this point, we don’t have enough clinical research to say whether taking quercetin (or another ionophore) with zinc actually helps more than taking one or the other alone.   

What Does The Research Say About Zinc and Quercetin for C-19 Treatment and Prevention?

Mom at Computer - Do You Need To Take Quercetin With Zinc? A Question From The Dr. Green Mom CommunityThis is a brief summary of what we know so far, based on current clinical research (see references below for details), on zinc and quercetin, as C-19 treatments:

  1. Prophylactic zinc supplementation may help prevent symptomatic C-19.
  2. Zinc supplementation may help with improvement of C-19 symptoms.
  3. Zinc supplementation may help recover sense of smell and taste more quickly.
  4. Quercetin supplementation may help people recover more quickly from C-19 infection.

The clinical evidence for quercetin and zinc in C-19 treatment and prevention is preliminary but promising (and more trials are underway). The theories for their use as antiviral agents are sound and well supported by evidence. Safety data is robust and reliable. 

Summary

Zinc and quercetin are both safe, inexpensive, and easy to get from diet and/or supplements. The evidence that we have so far indicates that they are both probably helpful in dealing with C-19. However, we don’t have evidence that zinc and quercetin need to be taken together to be effective, and the research we do have shows each of them being effective when given on their own.

Consciously making an effort to incorporate extra zinc and quercetin into your family’s life during the pandemic makes a lot of sense from a pragmatic point of view, even though the research isn’t yet complete.  

There are decades of research showing many other health benefits of both zinc and quercetin. 

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be writing more about the benefits of quercetin and how to find it in your diet. (Spoiler alert: you can already find quercetin in our Liquid Zinc and Zinc Gummies! Quercetin is one of the most important phytochemicals found in elderberries in our Zinc Liquid and the berry blend in our Zinc Gummies.) 

References:

Sadeghsoltani F, Mohammadzadeh I, Safari MM, Hassanpour P, Izadpanah M, Qujeq D, Moein S, Vaghari-Tabari M. Zinc and Respiratory Viral Infections: Important Trace Element in Anti-viral Response and Immune Regulation. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2021 Aug 9:1–16. doi: 10.1007/s12011-021-02859-z. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34368933; PMCID: PMC8349606.

Finzi E. Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 with high dose oral zinc salts: A report on four patients. Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Oct;99:307-309. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.06.006. Epub 2020 Jun 6. PMID: 32522597; PMCID: PMC7834648. 

Asl SH, Nikfarjam S, Majidi Zolbanin N, Nassiri R, Jafari R. Immunopharmacological perspective on zinc in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Int Immunopharmacol. 2021 Jul;96:107630. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2021.107630. Epub 2021 Apr 1. PMID: 33882442; PMCID: PMC8015651. [insert link: 

Skalny AV, Rink L, Ajsuvakova OP, Aschner M, Gritsenko VA, Alekseenko SI, Svistunov AA, Petrakis D, Spandidos DA, Aaseth J, Tsatsakis A, Tinkov AA. Zinc and respiratory tract infections: Perspectives for COVID-19 (Review). Int J Mol Med. 2020 Jul;46(1):17-26. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2020.4575. Epub 2020 Apr 14. PMID: 32319538; PMCID: PMC7255455. [insert link: 

Pal A, Squitti R, Picozza M, Pawar A, Rongioletti M, Dutta AK, Sahoo S, Goswami K, Sharma P, Prasad R. Zinc and COVID-19: Basis of Current Clinical Trials. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2021 Aug;199(8):2882-2892. doi: 10.1007/s12011-020-02437-9. Epub 2020 Oct 22. PMID: 33094446; PMCID: PMC7580816. 

Sankova MV, Kytko OV, Dydykina IS, Chilikov VV, Laptina VI, Markina AD. Zinc status improving as a pathogenetically grounded platform for maintaining immunity during SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Vopr Pitan. 2021;90(2):26-39. Russian. doi: 10.33029/0042-8833-2021-90-2-26-39. Epub 2021 Mar 11. PMID: 34019346. 

Rahman MT. Potential benefits of combination of Nigella sativa and Zn supplements to treat COVID-19. J Herb Med. 2020 Oct;23:100382. doi: 10.1016/j.hermed.2020.100382. Epub 2020 Jun 24. PMID: 32834942; PMCID: PMC7313527.  

Hecel A, Ostrowska M, Stokowa-Sołtys K, Wątły J, Dudek D, Miller A, Potocki S, Matera-Witkiewicz A, Dominguez-Martin A, Kozłowski H, Rowińska-Żyrek M. Zinc(II)-The Overlooked Éminence Grise of Chloroquine’s Fight against COVID-19? Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2020 Sep 1;13(9):228. doi: 10.3390/ph13090228. PMID: 32882888; PMCID: PMC7558363.  

Maares M, Haase H. A Guide to Human Zinc Absorption: General Overview and Recent Advances of In Vitro Intestinal Models. Nutrients. 2020;12(3):762. Published 2020 Mar 13. doi:10.3390/nu12030762 [insert link: 

Di Pierro F, Iqtadar S, Khan A, Ullah Mumtaz S, Masud Chaudhry M, Bertuccioli A, Derosa G, Maffioli P, Togni S, Riva A, Allegrini P, Khan S. Potential Clinical Benefits of Quercetin in the Early Stage of COVID-19: Results of a Second, Pilot, Randomized, Controlled and Open-Label Clinical Trial. Int J Gen Med. 2021 Jun 24;14:2807-2816. doi: 10.2147/IJGM.S318949. PMID: 34194240; PMCID: PMC8238537. 

Abd-Elsalam S, Soliman S, Esmail ES, Khalaf M, Mostafa EF, Medhat MA, Ahmed OA, El Ghafar MSA, Alboraie M, Hassany SM. Do Zinc Supplements Enhance the Clinical Efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine?: a Randomized, Multicenter Trial. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2021 Oct;199(10):3642-3646. doi: 10.1007/s12011-020-02512-1. Epub 2020 Nov 27. PMID: 33247380; PMCID: PMC7695238. 

Feng Z, Yang J, Xu M, Lin R, Yang H, Lai L, Wang Y, Wahner-Roedler DL, Zhou X, Shin KM, Salinas M, Mallory MJ, Tang C, Patchett DC, Bauer BA, Cui S. Dietary supplements and herbal medicine for COVID-19: A systematic review of randomized control trials. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2021 Aug;44:50-60. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2021.05.018. Epub 2021 Jun 1. PMID: 34330513; PMCID: PMC8166807. 

Gordon AM, Hardigan PC. A Case-Control Study for the Effectiveness of Oral Zinc in the Prevention and Mitigation of COVID-19. Front Med (Lausanne). 2021;8:756707. Published 2021 Dec 13. doi:10.3389/fmed.2021.756707 

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