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  • Writer's pictureNiko

Surprising Info about Zinc and other widely used supplements

Disclaimer: As always, please check with your doctor and do your own detailed research when deciding on supplement intake. I am not a doctor and I do not claim to be one.


During the pandemic, a lot of folks are swearing by zinc and there are studies being done on its ability to help lessen the symptoms of Covid-19. A lot of this comes from zinc’s usefulness at shortening the common cold, also known as rhinovirus. Zinc also helps soften the symptoms of other viruses, including the herpes virus. Researchers are yet to prove why exactly this is the case.

For your own supplementation, it’s good to keep yourself well-stocked with zinc in your daily nutrition. Most Americans aren’t really at risk of depleted zinc, so taking a zinc oral supplement is often redundant. But folks in other countries or folks with a poor diet will actually begin to suffer from zinc deficiency, which is waaaaaaaay not good (can result in depression, vision degeneration and infertility in men).

To get enough zinc, make sure you’re eating meat (red meat and white meat), shellfish, fortified cereals, seeds, legumes and dairy. Vegetables and fruits are generally mediocre sources of zinc.

For the young, teens and elderly, zinc deficiency is a real risk. Zinc has proven value in stabilizing and strengthening our immune systems, metabolic function, reproductive systems, vision and wound healing. Low zinc has also been linked to depression and male infertility.

For adults, women should be getting about 9mg and men about 11mg of zinc daily. Overusing zinc can result in diarrhea, headaches, vomiting and copper deficiency. The upper limit for zinc intake is 40 mg per day.

Also, big warning here: don’t use intranasal zinc. It’s linked to a loss of smell and taste, which can become permanent or long-lasting.

If you want to add zinc oral supplements to your brain, heart and immune health daily regimen, the standard multi-vitamin dose should be enough to help. Keep in mind that many zinc products contain cadmium, which is dangerous if you consistently take it over time. Look for zinc-gluconate products.


When I was working on the vortexes of Sedona last summer, we swore by the ability of people with more magnesium in their systems to actually be able to feel the vortex magnetism with greater sensitivity. As wilderness guides, we’re known to stretch the facts on occasion to make for a better story, but there is probably a kernel of truth to this.

Magnesium is a mineral that is vital to the bone structure and mitochondrial function of any human organism. It plays a key role in over 300 enzymatic functions. I’m not saying this is proven science, but if you place a person, bare-footed, on top of a super-charged electro-magnetic field like a Sedona vortex or ionically charged ocean beach, there is going to be some resonance with the ionic transport mechanism that is coursing through your muscles and saturating your bones. Maybe mystics are just Magnetos in robes and beards?

So how do you apply this mineral to your own wellness regimen? Here are a few tips:

  1. High fiber foods are generally high in magnesium. Think: legumes, whole grains, vegetables (especially broccoli, squash, and leafy greens), seeds, nuts, dairy, meats, chocolate and coffee. Water high in mineral content (“hard water”) is also a source of magnesium.

  2. Magnesium is definitely beneficial for decreasing constipation and heartburn.

  3. For those who exercise heavily, magnesium is clutch. Make sure you’re well supplemented in the weeks leading up to an intense training regimen, and make sure you replenish your reserves afterwards. Muscle aches and constriction are likely to decrease substantially.

  4. Magnesium sulfate and magnesium oxide are generally the recommended compositions

  5. For Covid-19, magnesium doesn’t fight off the disease so much as help those who might suffer from certain underlying conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. This is oral magnesium we’re talking about. In a clinical setting, doctors administer magnesium intravenously to bring about a number of fortification and healing benefits. But these benefits are not generally available from oral intake, so don’t get carried away. About 350 mg of magnesium per day is the max.

Curcumin (Turmeric)

Okay, this one is a biggie. The main reason to take turmeric and focus on its most active, unique ingredient, is for the curcumin. Turmeric is a plant whose stem is harvested and made into a powder. It’s related to ginger and used commonly in Indian food recipes. It helps protect against heart attack or stroke, as well as being beneficial for those with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

The main issue is that curcumin is not easily absorbed by the system, so take it with pepper (piperine) added to increase absorption.

Most supplements that are focused on curcumin extract only might not be more effective than taking turmeric as a natural food to be used as a spice or seasoning in food. You also get a lot of other nutrients with turmeric, such as beta-carotene, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium, flavonoids, fiber, iron, niacin, potassium, zinc and other nutrients.

But there are some warnings against too much turmeric. Those with gall bladder problems, liver problems, bleeding, blood clotting, fertility and hormone issues should avoid too much of it.

For the rest of us, I’d go for turmeric teas. Personally, I love the taste and the way it makes me feel. As many doctors tell us, moderate things you can do to decrease inflammation in the body are highly beneficial over time. Turmeric, if you aren’t sensitive to it, is a great tool in your toolkit.

Tulsi aka Holy Basil

Okay, I have to admit that this one disappointed me because tulsi is being heavily marketed right now. I often have felt great with my daily tulsi tea (and I love the sharp, peppery taste), but the hard data tells a different story.

There is a wide range of claimed health benefits for tulsi, but there is very little evidence of this being proven in human trials (there are a lot of mice who swear by tulsi though). In Indian ayurvedic schools of research, they claim to have proven tulsi’s exceptional ability to fight stress and as an adaptogen, but the human trial evidence is suspect, I feel.

This common and revered holy herb grows in red and green varieties, often planted around sacred sites and Hindu temples.

I’ve been jamming with some of the great supplement write-ups from Dr. Andrew Weil’s website,, and really want to support his final word on tulsi here. “If you want to combat stress first use breathing practices and exercise.”

So that’s it for a little examination of some other currently trendy supplements. As with my other write-ups, I hope you’ll consult a doctor and also recognize that supplementation only tells part of the story of protecting your heart, brain and immune system. A lot of the best benefits come from a healthy, balanced diet and from doing the right things daily to protect your mental and energetic fields, my friends.

If you have any other supplements or questions you’d like me to research, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I love doing this stuff!

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