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quinine tonic water & zinc

Beyond Quinine Water and Zinc

About Tonic Water with Quinine | About Zinc | Other Things to Do

Tonic Water with Quinine

Recently, a St Louis chiropractor went viral on the internet talking about how to prevent COVID-19 by taking zinc supplements and Tonic water with Quinine, as a substitute for hydroxychloroquine. He recommended 3 oz of tonic water a day and higher dose zinc supplements. Tonic water soon sold out on Amazon, especially brands that have no high fructose corn syrup (like FeverTree Premium IndianTonic Water with Quinine with cane sugar, rather than Canada Dry, Seagrams or Schweppes which are all sweetened with HFCS). I bought some Fever Tree, just in case, but then I did research to find out how valid that really is.

Quinine tonic water was invented by the British Colonials in India in the 1800s as a preventative for malaria for British soldiers. Quinine bark powder killed the malaria parasite, preventing it from growing on blood cells or reproducing - but only on blood cells. Malaria parasites and eggs survived in other tissues and repopulated, hence the recurring nature of malaria fevers. But it was the best they had, and it allowed British soldiers and administrators to survive in the tropical climates of colonial India and Africa. Quinine water is quite bitter, so it was mixed with soda, lime and sugar - and mixed again with gin, to make the popular gin and tonic drink. [1]

Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits quinine content in tonic water to no more than 83 parts per million. [2] This means there is 83 milligrams of quinine in one liter of tonic water. For comparison, according to the US National Library of Medicine [3], Hydroxychloroquine sulfate (Plaquenil) is prescribed in dosages on average of 400 mg per day for various uses (malaria, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis). This is also the dose Each 400 mg dose would have somewhat less quinine itself (310mg). You'd have to drink 3 ĺ liters of Tonic water per day to get that amount, or about 18 little 6.8 oz bottles of FeverTree IndianTonic Water a day. Even at the dose of hydroxychloroquine for preventing rather than treating malaria, the equivalent tonic water amount would still be over 18 oz or half a liter a day (or over 2 Ĺ little 6.8 oz bottles of Fever Tree).

Clinical trials currently being done with hydroxychlorine for COVID-19 treatment are using 400-600 mg per day, sometimes after an initial loading day of 1200 mg. So to match that dose, youíd have to drink about 3 ĺ -7 liters of quinine tonic water a day. [16]

No clue if a tiny amount like 3 oz does anything at all, there is no information one way or the other about this from Chiropractor Nepute or anyone else I can find. So people who are hoping that drinking 3 oz every day will prevent the virus, are pretty much whistling in the dark. Especially so because one of quinine's effects is to lower immune response. That may be useful if one is trying to avoid or quell the cytokine storm that this coronavirus can cause. (A cytokine storm is superinflammation created by the immune system as it attempts to rally to fight.)

Full dose Hydroxychloroquine or quinine can cause serious side effects which might be worth risking obviously if you were in the hospital fighting for your life. However, if you have started taking tonic water with quinine daily, you should be alert to possible side effects.

Some possible side effects of quinine in tonic water: (from Medical News Today) vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, ringing in the ears, nervousness, confusion. See also the possible side effects of regular medicinal use, which include abnormal heartbeat, kidney damage, severe allergic reaction, electrolyte imbalance, vision or eye issues, problems with bleeding, thrombocytopenia (decreased blood platelets - which can cause bleeding), lung toxicity.

That's why recommendations are to consult a healthcare practitioner about use of quinine.

A friend of mine had taken 3 oz of tonic water for a week. When I shared the draft of this article with her, she recognized suddenly that while she felt a boost of energy drinking the tonic water, she had also starting having pounding irregular heartbeats at night. Four days after stopping the tonic water, the palpitations are almost gone. - You need to make yourself aware of the potential side effects of ANYTHING you take for your health!

Now what about zinc?

A few weeks ago, health food stores shelves were virtually empty of Vitamin C as all kinds sold out to protect against COVID-19. Then last week it was Zinc supplements that were sold out. Zinc was the other part of the viral (on youtube) recommendation to stay safe and live through the coronavirus pandemic.

People kept asking "what is the best kind of zinc to get"? By "best" they usually meant "what the most absorbable by the body" in order to get highest amount into their bodies. Sure enough, the bottles of zinc left on the shelf had lower mg of zinc and were the less absorbable kinds (like zinc sulfate, and the less than desirable zinc oxide). The 50 mg bottles of zinc picolinate and citrate and acetate were all gone. Sold out on Amazon, too. Even higher dose zinc gluconate was gone.

High dose supplementation is not necessarily the best strategy. Short term, if you are deficient, could be OK. Long term, no. There are things you should understand about zinc.

First, zinc is really beneficial as a nutrient. It is used in innumerable processes in the body for energy, sexual reproduction, immune function, protein synthesis, activating enzymes, growth, mental balance, gut health, healthy skin/hair and eyes, sense of taste and smell, and more. [7], [13]

A zinc deficiency could cause loss of sense of smell and taste (hmmmÖ also a COVID-19 symptom). It can also cause loss of appetite, hair loss, diarrhea, inflammation, slow wound healing and increased susceptibility to infections and many other detrimental effects. [7] [8] [14] The recommended daily intake value is 8 mg for adult women and 11 mg for adult men. [5]

Knowing how much to supplement is not so simple. You can get too much zinc. Out of balance with other essential nutrients such as copper, excess zinc can create unintended health consequences. [14]

It is best to be aware of the side effects of anything you are taking. Even at 40 mg per day, "In some people, zinc might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, metallic taste, kidney and stomach damage." [4] According to the National Institutes of Health Zinc Fact Sheet, "When people take too much zinc for a long time, they sometimes have problems such as low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol).[5] Also, a study in 2007 showed high 80 mg zinc supplementation resulted in increased hospitalizations for urinary tract infections and kidney and prostate problems. [11]

Too much zinc impairs the absorption of copper, which can cause problems like anemia, fatigue and weakness, frequent sickness, weak and brittle bones, problems with memory and learning, difficulties walking, increased cold sensitivity, pale skin, premature gray hair and vision loss. [6] So watch out for excess zinc resulting in a copper deficiency. This would obviously be more likely in people who supplement with high dose zinc when they were not deficient to begin with.

So how do you know if you are deficient in zinc?

Zinc is hard to accurately assess by blood test because that doesn't reflect what is inside the cells. There is a taste test that can be done at home that will give you immediate information about your zinc status. When you have plenty of zinc, more zinc will taste bitter, metallic and very unpleasant.

There are liquid zinc test bottles sold especially for this taste test, but you could just get some simple liquid zinc sulfate (10 to 50 mg) and squirt a dropperful of 50 mg into a few ounces of water, or put a teaspoonful of lower dose 10 mg zinc sulfate into a cup with a few ounces of water. Hold this under your tongue for half a minute. If it tastes awful and your immediate reaction is to spit it out, you do not need more zinc! Your body already has enough.

If the taste is neutral like water or sweet, you lack sufficient zinc and could use more from food or supplements. Somewhere in between, when after a delay it starts tasting somewhat bitter, then you have some zinc but maybe not adequate for all the functions it is needed for.

Simple.

Supplementing is not so simple. You don't want to take too much for too long, although a week or so of higher dose zinc supplements is ok according to some medical websites. Check with your doctor, obviously, and see if he has advice about zinc, or nutrition. You could do the zinc taste test again to verify that you aren't continuing to take more zinc when you already have enough.

A safer way to get enough zinc is through your diet. Oysters are the highest source for a blast of zinc, and they also contain copper. If you don't eat oysters, there are plenty of other foods that are have zinc like beef, shellfish, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds. Many people in developed countries are not very deficient, unless they are elderly or malnourished, but they may not really have all they need either.

Many foods contain anti-nutrient components that make it harder to absorb zinc from food. These include high-fiber foods like grains, beans, nuts and seeds, which although they contain zinc, also contain phytates that protect the plant seeds unless soaked, sprouted or fermented. So vegetarians may have to eat double amounts to get enough zinc.

Smoking, alcohol, inflammatory bowel diseases, and coffee also reduce zinc absorption. General malnutrition is also a factor for poorer populations. Exercise, on the other hand, increases the need for zinc.

So you can see that it can be tricky to get enough zinc, and while you may think supplements useful, you don't want to take too much when you don't need it or for too long, and end up with a toxic imbalance. [12], [14]

My personal favorite way to get enough zinc is by eating organic Pumpkin Seed Butter. So once or twice a week or so, I mix a drizzle of pumpkin seed butter into salad dressing, or top oatmeal with a tablespoon, or spread it on toast, or dip red peppers in it.

Pad ThaiA good dish to make if you like to cook is Pad Thai noodles ( or zucchini noodles) using pumpkin seed butter in the sauce instead of peanut butter. This recipe and more eating suggestions are found in the Recipes tab.

The best thing about using pumpkin seed butter as a food source is that I can taste what I am eating, and if I donít have the desire to eat it, I am pretty sure it is because I have enough zinc. When I do have the urge to eat some, I figure there is a desire for the nutrients in it. By the way, I did the zinc taste test recently, and the zinc test liquid tasted really, really bad to me.

Pumpkin seed butterWant to try our Organic Pumpkin Seed Butter? It is creamy stone ground so all its nutrients are more available than in whole seeds. It not only contains a good amount of zinc, but also magnesium, potassium, manganese, chromium, copper, molybdenum, selenium, B vitamins, vitamin K, and tryptophan. (As with most seeds, there are more Omega 6 than Omega 3 fatty acids, so donít overdo it.)[15]

So what else can you do to stay healthy during the pandemic?

Support your good health. Most people who are exposed to the virus have little or no symptoms, and recover if they do become ill. Keep your immune system strong and stay healthy. Eat well, change to a healthier diet if possible, to include more fresh vegetables, nutrient-dense foods and herbs.

~ Try some of our Natural Immune System Support products
~ We also carry Healthy Snacks, nutrition basics, and a few good supplements

Wash your hands. Didnít your momma always tell you that? Itís a really good idea Ė many major diseases have been conquered with good hygiene, even before vaccines.

~How to Destroy the Virus - A bit controversial, but Snopes actually says this information about how to kill the virus is misattributed but not false. Originally said to be from John Hopkins University, then tracked down to a letter by a resident of John Hopkins sent to her parent, it is very interesting and precise.
~ How to Stay Well video to educate on basic hygiene and prevention techniques. Watch this with your kids.

Take the stress off whenever you can and laugh, sing or listen to good music. Stay positive and find the good news spread by others, enjoy the company of others.

Sing
~Smile - short and happy montage by performers during quarantine!
~Healthcare Heroes Sing "You've Got a Friend" to Show Support During COVID-19 Pandemic Adorable healthcare personnel singing their sincere support beautifully.
~We Are The World 2020 | Together At Home Edition by Channel Aid, KHS & YouTube Artists.
~ What's Going On|Playing for Change|Songs Around the World - Lovely sweet sentiment shared by various artists around the world.
~Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration - over two hours of singing and music by various performers of all sorts.

Laugh
~Some Coronavirus Memes & Jokes
~ Coronavirus Rhapsody (based on Bohemian Rhapsody) Covid19 - Spot on funny by Raul Irabien/ Invoca.

Good News
~Some Good News - Watch the whole series of gentle laughs, good works and sharing.

Keep in touch with those you love. Make new friends too who have mutual interests - it is possible on social media. You could also develop an interest in others outside your usual wheelhouse, by taking this opportunity to learn about the humanity of others you might not usually meet.

Learn something. I like The Great Courses for history, and the zillion videos on youtube to learn anything. Read books (remember those?), listen books read aloud on audible or other various online services.

Get or keep in shape with exercise. This is up to you, and your dog, and your yoga mat.

This post is for information only and is based on my personal experiences and research. I recommend you also research, and consult your health practitioner for advice, when you want to take your health into your own hands.

Disclaimer: The information above should not take the place of medical advice. It is for information only, not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease.. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers about your interest in, questions about, or use of medications or dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health. Any mention here of a specific product or recommendation from an organization or professional society, does not represent an endorsement of that product or expert advice.

1 https://www.britannica.com/science/quinine
2 https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.575
3 https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=34496b43-05a2-45fb-a769-52b12e099341&audience=consumer
4 https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-982/zinc
5 Zinc Fact Sheet for Consumers https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/
6https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/copper-deficiency-symptoms
7 Zinc deficiency.Tuerk MJ1, Fazel N. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2009 Mar;25(2):136-43. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e328321b395. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19528881
8 The immune system and the impact of zinc during aging. Haase H1, Rink L. Immun Ageing. 2009 Jun 12;6:9. doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-6-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19523191
9 Contribution of selected vitamins and trace elements to immune function. Wintergerst ES1, Maggini S, Hornig DH. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51(4):301-23. Epub 2007 Aug 28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=historysearch&querykey=7
10 Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses. Maggini S1, Wintergerst ES, Beveridge S, Hornig DH. Br J Nutr. 2007 Oct;98 Suppl 1:S29-35. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17922955
11 High dose zinc increases hospital admissions due to genitourinary complications. Johnson AR1, Munoz A, Gottlieb JL, Jarrard DF. J Urol. 2007 Feb;177(2):639-43. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17222649
12 Zinc: An Essential Micronutrient American Family Physician https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0501/p768.html#afp20090501p768-b28
13 Biological consequences of zinc deficiency in the pathomechanisms of selected diseases Kamil Jurowski, Bernadeta Szewczyk, Gabriel Nowak, and Wojciech Piekoszewski J Biol Inorg Chem. 2014; 19: 1069Ė1079.. doi: 10.1007/s00775-014-1139-0
14 Zinc Deficiency Luke Maxfield; Jonathan S. Crane. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493231/
15 https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3066/2
16 Novartis clinical trial https://www.statnews.com/2020/04/20/novartis-study-hydroxychloroquine/ ORCHID, NIH Clinical Trial at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-clinical-trial-hydroxychloroquine-potential-therapy-covid-19-begins

 


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