Do Zinc Supplements Help Against Respiratory Diseases?

If you are prone to respiratory diseases, you may want to consider including a zinc supplement in your routine. We'll tell you all about it.
Do Zinc Supplements Help Against Respiratory Diseases?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 28 October, 2022

Zinc supplements can be beneficial to help combat some respiratory diseases. This element takes part in the differentiation of white cells, which are vital to guarantee the efficiency of the immune system.

The ideal thing is to maintain the levels of zinc in adequate ranges to prevent problems. But even when infections develop, its consumption can help recovery.

Several nutrients participate in the body’s defense functions. Vitamin C, which can be found especially in citrus fruits, also stands out.

Zinc and the immune system

In general terms, zinc is found in high amounts in meats and nuts. It’s an essential micronutrient, and it’s vital to include it in our diets in order to prevent deficiencies that could affect the normal functioning of the physiology.

According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, this element is involved in many signaling processes and induces epigenetic modifications that are considered beneficial for our defenses.

According to research published in the journal Advances in Nutrition , zinc acts as an antiviral and its deficiency would increase the incidence of infections. Not only does it protect the respiratory system, but low levels could be related to a higher risk of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). For this reason, supplementation with the element has been established for the prevention and treatment of pathologies caused by viruses.

However, as with other micronutrients, there’s an optimal dose. Supplementation can be beneficial, as long as certain ranges aren’t exceeded.

As stated in an article published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology , the human body contains between 2 and 3 grams of zinc. Exceeding this amount could have adverse effects. The daily turnover of the mineral is approximately 0.1%.

The recommended daily dose of zinc is proposed to be between 9 and 11 milligrams, depending on the context. Women usually need a little less. Men need more because this element participates in the synthesis of testosterone in the testicles.

In any case, supplements can provide up to 15 milligrams of the mineral; an amount that isn’t considered toxic for the organism. Even so, you should always take into account the manufacturer’s comments on the labeling.

A source of zinc.
Significant amounts of zinc can be found in nuts to include in your diet.

Are zinc supplements helpful?

Zinc supplements not only help prevent respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, but are also instrumental in reducing the severity of symptoms. This facilitates treatment and improves the patient’s quality of life.

In fact, it’s suggested that the use of such products facilitates control of the infection from day 3 onwards. Thus, there would be an early remission of the signs of the disease.

In some cases, a 28% lower risk of respiratory symptoms has been detected after the use of zinc supplements as a preventive mechanism. A very low-dose nasal spray dispenser could even be used to limit the risk of disease progression.

After all, this treatment isn’t only safe, but also very minimally invasive. It can be used for common colds. In this way, you’ll avoid taking too many drugs, which aren’t without side effects and can interfere with the normal functioning of the liver. The same isn’t true for zinc.

Micronutrient supplements are well tolerated by almost all patients. They’re cheap, and toxicity is really low.

However, this doesn’t mean that it’s advisable to consume them in any context. They may also have certain contraindications.

It’s always best to consult a professional first.
Zinc supplements.
Supplements are usually harmless, however, the maximum dosage established for each substance must be respected.

Zinc supplements are safe and inexpensive

Zinc supplements are suitable for preventing and helping to control respiratory diseases. They’re a viable, low-cost, and low-risk natural alternative.

Besides, zinc is key to many other processes that take place in the body on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that levels are in suitable ranges.

An important part of maintaining a good state of health lies in nutrition. You don’t only prevent non-communicable pathologies, but also those of an infectious nature. When nutrient stores are in satisfactory ranges, viruses and bacteria are less likely to gain access to the bloodstream.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Read SA, Obeid S, Ahlenstiel C, Ahlenstiel G. The Role of Zinc in Antiviral Immunity. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(4):696-710. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz013
  • Wessels I, Maywald M, Rink L. Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(12):1286. Published 2017 Nov 25. doi:10.3390/nu9121286
  • Maret W, Sandstead HH. Zinc requirements and the risks and benefits of zinc supplementation. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2006;20(1):3-18. doi:10.1016/j.jtemb.2006.01.006

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.