You’ve probably heard that taking zinc will help fight off the common cold. You can find zinc lozenges just about anywhere these days. But some people haven’t been impressed with the lozenges. Sometimes they work; sometimes they don’t. New research suggests zinc needs another mineral to work properly.
Actually, you need to take this other mineral with zinc to keep both in proper balance. The study, out of the University of Maryland Medical Center, says adults need up to 15 mg of zinc and about 1.5 to 3 mg of copper daily. If you don’t get enough zinc, it will slow wound healing and inhibit your ability to fight infection. But during cold and flu season, many people overdose on zinc. What they don’t realize is that taking too much zinc (150 mg) will interfere with your body’s ability to absorb copper.
And copper is vital for fighting infection. In fact, many hospitals now use copper utensils, trays, door knobs, and other equipment because dry copper (as opposed to wet copper in plumbing) kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi – including many superbugs that are immune to antibiotics. It’s so effective, it kills 97% of all the bugs that touch it.
Zinc and copper provide similar functions in your body. They bind together and then work together fighting infections, building bone, developing cartilage, and generating energy. When they get out of balance, the mineral in excess floats around in your body causing damage to your liver and other organs.
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So during this cold and flu season, make sure you’re taking a multivitamin with a standard dose of each mineral in line with the above study. I like Healthy Resolve, which contains 15 mg of zinc and 2 mg of copper. If you take extra zinc to fight an infection, add some copper as well.
Here’s another thought: If you’re especially concerned about infection, follow the hospitals’ example and place copper around your house. Use it to decorate your home. I don’t have any scientific evidence that certain pieces work better than others, but any dry copper should help kill the infectious bugs in your home. Hospitals put it close to patients’ beds for best results. So place some copper on your night stand for best results.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
University of Maryland Medical Center; Zinc; Steven D. Ehrlich; June 2009.
C Espìrito Santo, E W Lam, C G Elowsky, D Quaranta, D W Domaille, C J Chang, and G Grass, 2011. Bacterial killing by dry metallic copper surfaces. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 77: 794-802.
PS. Last week, I forgot to include the reference for the cited study. I apologize for the oversight. Here’s the reference:
Shingo Ito, Sumio Ohtsuki, Yasuko Nezu, Yusuke Koitabashi, Sho Murata and Tetsuya Terasaki. 1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 enhances cerebral clearance of human amyloid-β peptide(1-40) from mouse brain across the blood-brain barrier. Fluids and Barriers of the CNS, 2011 DOI: 10.1186/2045-8118-8-20