Can I Take Quercetin and Zinc Together?

Some doctors, media channels and fact-checkers argue that there is very little evidence to support the use of quercetin and zinc to prevent or treat various illnesses. We have included the scientific evidence together with the sources and references in this article below and we leave it up to you, the reader, to separate the facts and science from manipulated propaganda.

What is Zinc and the Benefits of Zinc

Zinc is a well known supplement that is generally contained in standard multivitamins. It provides immune support amongst other functions. Zinc inhibits coronavirus replication and is a general stimulant of antiviral immunity (source). Higher levels of intracellular zinc showed to increase intracellular pH; which affect on RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and decreases the replication mechanism of RNA viruses (e.g. COVID-19). Therefore, zinc ionophores (e.g. Quercetin) can likely be used with zinc supplement to act as antiviral against many RNA viruses including influenza and COVID-19. Suggested benefits of zinc supplementation along with zinc ionophores to prevent and treat COVID-19 and other respiratory tract infections are supported by countless studies (source). In most cases, prophylactic and early use of zinc supplementation was more effective than late therapeutic proceedings. Up to 30% of the everyday respiratory infections, briefly named “common cold,” are due to infections with coronaviruses. Studies showed reduced symptom severity, reduced frequency, and duration of the common cold after zinc administration depending on dosage, zinc compound and the start time after initial symptoms (source).

Zinc deficiency is very common especially in the elderly, diabetics, cancer patients, asthma, immunosuppressed and obese - all of which have higher levels of mortality for COVID-19. Furthermore, zinc deficiency is associated with increased risk of infectious disease, pneumonia and severity of COVID-19. Conversely, zinc supplementation is associated with a significant decrease in COVID-19 mortality as long as it is delivered with a zinc ionophore (source). 

In short, a balanced zinc homeostasis is essential. Zinc supplementation improves the mucociliary clearance, strengthens the integrity of the epithelium, decreases viral replication, preserves antiviral immunity, attenuates the risk of hyper-inflammation, supports anti-oxidative effects and thus reduces lung damage and minimizes secondary infections. Especially older subjects, patients with chronic diseases and most of the remaining COVID-19 risk groups would most likely benefit.

It is critical to consume adequate amounts of zinc from food. Zinc supplements are not recommended for longer than a few weeks because too much zinc may lead to a deficiency in other minerals, such as copper.

In summary, the various health benefits of zinc are as follows:
  • Zinc is well-known for its ability to strengthen the immune system.
  • It facilitates wound healing by playing a significant role in controlling inflammation and collagen synthesis.
  • It helps treat acne by reducing swelling, suppressing oil glands, and inhibiting bacterial growth.
  • Zinc reduces inflammation by keeping a check on inflammatory proteins and oxidative stress.
  • It helps in reducing diarrhea symptoms in kids who have a zinc deficiency.
  • It lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Zinc also prevents skin conditions like sunburn and diaper rash in babies.
Quercetin and how is it beneficial?

Quercetin is a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory plant pigment that boosts your immune system and may work to control viral replication, according to some research. It allows zinc to exert its proven antiviral properties; in treating COVID-19, quercetin may also lower inflammation, help clear mucus, prevent ventilator-induced damage and support immunity.

Foods high in quercetin include onions, kale, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, berries, red wine, citrus fruits, cherries, and tea. 

According to the research, quercetin has been shown to help fight obesity, Type 2 diabetes, circulatory dysfunction, chronic inflammation and mood disorders. It has even been found to help lower blood pressure. Researchers have found that quercetin can trigger tumor regression and begin the process of apoptosis. This is programmed cell death, without which cells can grow uninterrupted and develop into cancerous growths.

Quercetin was initially found to provide broad-spectrum protection against SARS coronavirus in the aftermath of the SARS epidemic that broke out across 26 countries in 2003. Quercetin has also been found to have antiviral activity in Influenza A, Ebola and Zika viruses. Now, some doctors are advocating its use against SARS-CoV-2, in combination with vitamin C, noting that the two have synergistic effects.

In summary, the various health benefits of quercetin are as follows:
  • Due to its antioxidant properties, quercetin protects against free radicals in the body.
  • It relieves hay fever or allergy symptoms as it has anti-histaminic properties as well.
  • It may lower blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels.
  • Quercetin may help in reducing inflammation.
  • It lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like stroke and other heart ailments.
  • It has anti-cancer properties preventing the growth and spread of tumors in the body.
  • Quercetin may also help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
How Zinc and Quercetin Work Together

Quercetin helps zinc by acting as a zinc ionophore (PubMed 2014), the same mechanism of action that hydroxychloroquine has via helping zinc pass the cell wall where it might halt viral replication.

This zinc ionophore activity of quercetin facilitates the transport of zinc across the cell membrane. It is known that zinc will slow down the replication of coronavirus through inhibition of enzyme RNA polymerase (PubMed 2010). 

The COVID-19 is an RNA (RiboNucleicAcid) virus and requires the RNA polymerase to replicate. Do take note that the study publication was a 2010 publication and is referring to a different coronavirus as compared to the latest coronavirus (COVID-19); though both are from the same family of coronaviruses.

That said, quercetin is less potent than HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) as a zinc transporter, and it does not reach high concentrations in lung cells that HCQ does. Quercetin may help reduce risk of viral illness if you are basically healthy. But it is not potent enough to replace HCQ for treatment of COVID once you have symptoms, and it does not adequately get into lung tissue. However, if you simply cannot get hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, quercetin is a viable stand-in. Quercetin works best when taken with vitamin C and Bromelain, as vitamin C helps activate it and bromelain helps with the absorption. 

Should quercetin be taken with zinc? Yes. Quercetin works best when taken with vitamin C and Bromelain, as vitamin C helps activate it and bromelain helps with the absorption. Vitamin C does not affect the absorption of normal dietary levels of zinc (Ref). Further, quercetin helps the transport of zinc across the cell membrane as a zinc ionophore.

Quercetin and Zinc Dosage for COVID

The FLCCC recommends quercetin 250-500 mg daily for prevention (I-Prevent Protocol) and 250 mg twice daily for early treatment (I-Care Protocol). 

Quercetin works best when taken with vitamin C and Bromelain, as vitamin C helps activate it and bromelain helps with the absorption.

Most people do not lack an intake of zinc, but in disease state, there might be an increase in demand by the body. 
The FLCCC recommends zinc 30 - 40 mg daily for prevention (I-Prevent Protocol) and 75 - 100 mg daily for early treatment (I-Care Protocol). Please be cautioned that this zinc dose should not be taken long term without evaluation of your zinc/copper ratios.
Zinc lozenges are preferred. While better absorbed on an empty stomach, the most common side effect is nausea and that is much less common when taken with food, so do take it after a meal.
Credit: FLCCC I-CARE protocol

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