How much Zinc should I take daily to help Prevent or Treat COVID-19?

How likely is zinc to help prevent or treat COVID-19? If it is effective, what is the best dose to take?

Could Zinc Prevent or Treat COVID-19?

Zinc directly inhibits two enzymes essential to the replication of SARS-CoV, the coronavirus that causes SARS. These include papain-like protease 2 (PLP2) and the 3CL protease. The sequences and structures of these enzymes are similar to the corresponding enzymes of SARS-CoV-2 (documented here, and here). These are enzymes known as “cysteine proteases,” which use sulfur from the amino acid cysteine to carry out their work. Zinc binds to the cysteine to inhibit them. This particular aspect of the enzymes is completely the same between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, zinc almost certainly inhibits the enzymes within SARS-CoV-2.

One of the main determinants is what concentration of zinc will be available to inhibit the enzymes, and what concentration would be required to do so.

The studies looking at the inhibitory effect of zinc on these enzymes use ionic zinc, which is freely available and not bound to anything else.

Clinical Evidence Supporting the Antiviral Activity of Zinc 

As of January 2022, there have been 29 published studies of zinc against COVID-19. For details and the list of studies, check out

Based on the studies above, early treatment are more effective than late treatment in terms of improvement; 74% vs 32%.

There are also many on-going zinc studies and you can review the status of these trials on There are more than 20 clinical trials that have been launched to investigate the benefits of Zinc against COVID-19.

Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, crab, lobster, mussels, red meat, and poultry. Cereals are often fortified with zinc. Most multivitamin and nutritional supplements contain zinc.

Taking zinc long term is typically safe for healthy adults, as long as the daily dose is under the set upper limit of 40 mg of elemental zinc (PubMed). Be aware that typical daily doses of zinc provided by zinc lozenges generally exceed tolerable upper limits for zinc, and for this reason, they should not be used for longer than about a week

Excessive doses may interfere with copper absorption, which could negatively affect your immune system as it can cause copper deficiencies, blood disorders and potentially permanent nerve damage. Zinc can also impair the absorption of antibiotics, and use of zinc nasal gels or swabs has been linked to temporary or permanent loss of smell.

The ideal dose for prevention while the COVID-19 risk is high is 40-100 mg/d, a portion of which comes from zinc lozenges to spread the zinc through the tissues of the nose, mouth and throat. It should be accompanied by at least 1 mg copper from food and supplements for every 15 mg zinc.

Zinc lozenges are preferred so that the tissues of the nose and throat are rich in zinc as soon as they encounter the virus. Unlike swallowed zinc, lozenges can spread zinc through these tissues quickly in response to symptoms, because their ability to spread zinc through these tissues is not limited by intestinal zinc transporters.

Zinc that is swallowed for the sake of reaching the lungs should be used preventatively rather than at the first sign of symptoms, because it takes a long time to enrich systemic stores of zinc.

Do take note that you should keep the dosage back to within 40 mg/d once the exposure risk is back to normal.

For updated prevention and early outpatient treatment protocol, please check out FLCCC I-MASK+ protocol. Do take note that in the I-MASK+ protocol, the dosage for treatment is much higher (100 mg/day) vs the dosage for prevention (30 mg/day). The high dose treatment dosage is only meant for 7 - 10 days and not for long term.



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