Why getting zinc’d made was critical

Life was much more straightforward back in March before the coronavirus pandemic had hit .  Getting zinc’d made was nowhere. None of us would have thought that we would have lived through a lock-down by now.  Where the Government had already shelled out billions of pounds to businesses to keep them afloat and we were staring another lock-down in the face.

Back in March, we were in the process of putting together content for the web-site which would then form the back-bone of our marketing effort for the coming months.

But as soon as the coronavirus pandemic hit, all of this went out of the window because there was only one thing that people were interested in.

Namely, how do we look after ourselves and our loved ones.  Keep everyone safe and well in the eye of what was becoming a seriously large storm.

What did the research tell us?

We looked hard at what we had to offer to our customers in these circumstances.  Our immune system product had been on hold after Boots didn’t have room for it.  But what else was in the locker?  Plenty as it turns out.

Additional research was carried out into the ingredients that we thought could make  a difference to people’s health & well-being.  We examined all the reports coming out of China on what steps were being taken.  Then we looked at a multitude of clinical trials.

We were also talking to healthcare professionals, both on the medical and alternative medicine side of things. What were people taking and why?  Who was advising, what was best?

Eventually it became clear that the substances that everyone should be taking weren’t a concoction of pharmaceutical drugs or a hastily produced vaccine.  Contrary to Mr Trump’s various assertions.

It was a trio of natural supplements that could make a real difference, by balancing the whole immune system. So we immediately got to work writing detailed articles on each of them so everyone could benefit.  By luck more than design, our existing products all had these in them too to varying degrees.

If you don’t know the 3 top ingredients for your immune system already then here they are:

By clicking on one of the links above you will reach the detailed articles written in March 2020 advocating the benefits of these immune boosting nutrients.

What the doctors were saying privately

At the same time we were talking to various healthcare professionals about the situation.  Some were relatively close to or involved in A&E support.  Many were unhappy that no advice was coming out of the Government or Public Health England (PHE) on how to put yourself in the best position to fight off the virus other than wash your hands and social distance.

Some of the doctors were privately advising friends that vitamins C & D plus zinc was the best combination of nutrients to supplement your diet.

In addition, it was reported by Dr Mercola, a well-known US functional medicine doctor that the NHS was providing the same combination to their front-line staff.

However, if you searched on the NHS web-site “how to improve your immune system” nothing came up.  Not the fault of NHS staff but of senior management and PHE.

The British Medical Journal article

It came as a no surprise therefore when an article appeared in the BMJ in April 2020.  Two nutritional scientists, Emma Derbyshire PhD and Joanne Delange PhD  reviewed the existing data and came to the conclusion that the Government should be advocating the use of zinc, vitamins C & D, particularly by those over 65 years of age.

These 3 nutrients had the most clinical trials and studies about them and their efficacy in fighting infections.  They were often deficient in the elderly and other groups and such deficiency increased the risk of upper respiratory tract and other infections.

We contacted the authors and discussed ways in which to make the article more widely available.

You can see the latest version of the article here.

The Petition

So we waited to see if the Government or PHE would start giving any advice or guidance on how to help our immune systems fight off the coronavirus.  Whether as advocated by the BMJ article or otherwise. And we waited and we waited.

So our founder, Jonathan started his own Petition on Change.org seeking support for the proposition that guidance was needed on public health immunity.  In addition, that it would benefit many if the top 3 vitamins and minerals were promoted as a widespread strategy to counter the affects of COVID-19.

You can see the Petition here.

We immediately received 500 signatures but without a budget to advertise the Petition, it wasn’t something like the killing of George Floyd that would go viral on its own.

Getting zinc’d: becoming a reality

Throughout the summer, June through to August the number of COVID related deaths fell and the lock-down restrictions were relaxed. But from reading about the Spanish flu and other pandemics/epidemics, it was clear that a second wave would come.  It was just a matter of time.

At sense* therefore we started looking at the possibility of putting our money where our mouth was and making a zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D product.

Getting zinc’d made: the manufacturers

We approached 3 manufacturers with the following results:

  • one wouldn’t take on new products, it was hard enough getting the existing inventory made
  • one engaged quite quickly but getting any decisions out of them was excruciating
  • the third simply didn’t respond until we chased down their CEO

This was in the middle of lock-down so none of the manufacturers were taking on new orders.  But we knew they would eventually.

Getting zinc’d made: the name & design

At the same time, we were looking at the name and design requirements.  Much of the hierarchy of the design was done but the name was an issue.  This product would be a much simpler format than our other products.  We already had sense* for the immune system in development so this needed differentiating.

The name came to our founder during a yoga session on a Saturday morning.  The product had become a major focus for all of us so not surprisingly the ingredients were going round Jonathan’s mind.  Even whilst meditating!

Being a lawyer originally, playing around with words and letters is second nature to Jonathan.  And they neatly slotted into place.  Firstly, ZinC’D to highlight the C & the D.  Later through the design stages, and due to the non-shouty branding we have adopted, zinc’d in lower case.

Getting zinc’d made: the packaging

We had a number of bottles ready for production but we knew that posting bottles was a whole lot more expensive than posting blister packs.  The latter being classed as a large letter so nearly £2 cheaper.

So despite having ready available bottles we went with the lowest delivery cost option because to get mass appeal we needed it not only at the lowest price point, we needed to offer free delivery.  At least initially but this meant covering delivery in the price of the product.

The design of the packaging was done in-house but Jess and Brian who worked through holidays to get it done.  But it still was the one thing slowing us down for a whole lot of reasons.

Getting zinc’d made: the manufacturers (again)

We eventually got engagement from 2 manufacturers.  They quoted and the pricing was evenly matched.  But we chose the one which could get the ingredients into a smaller capsule.  Interestingly, because they had a vast amount of experience of getting vitamin C to flow properly due to other similar projects.

Getting zinc’d made: the dosage

The amount of each ingredient that we chose per capsule was very important.  Firstly, for efficacy so that every customer had the best chance of improving their immune system. Secondly, also so that public confidence in the product was high and it matched widely held views on what the best dosage looked like.

We looked at what worked best for people who are not particularly at risk of having a poor outcome when coming into contact with COVID-19.  And again at those who are at risk. The elderly, those with underlying health conditions, the over-weight or obese and those in the BAME community or from socially deprived or poorer areas.

We believe poor outcomes come down to what we call the nutrition gap.  Find out about the nutrition gap here.

In short, if you don’t eat the right healthy foods or take on lots of toxins e.g. alcohol or tobacco, your store of ingredients to support the immune system will be depleted. This is increased if you are older, already have health issues or have too much pressure on your body’s systems.

So we have come up with a system where those who are relatively healthy only need one capsule per day, so 30 capsules per month.  Whilst those who are more at risk need 2 capsules per day

However, if your body is under attack and you feel ill or you are coming down with something.  Act quickly and double your dosage.  Your body will use up the ingredients at a much faster rate if you are becoming sick or unwell.

A single capsule contains the following active ingredients:

  • zinc – at 12.5mg per capsule, is sufficient to top up your body’s immune system on a daily basis. At 25mg for those people at risk, you are maximising your requirement.  Any more than this on a long term basis and you run the risk of becoming anaemic.  However, on a short term basis up to 50 mg is within safety levels.
  • vitamin C – humans don’t make our own vitamin C nor do we store it. It is a major anti-oxidant and fights off infection and free radicals. So it is an essential vitamin that we must get from diet or supplementation.

Government says have 5-a-day but the reality is we need at least 10-a-day.  How many people get this amount of fruit & veg?  So supplementing is the only way that most people get enough vitamin C. Each capsule is 550mg so approximately 100 apples worth of vitamin C.

  • vitamin D – there is conflict between what the recommended dosage is daily for vitamin D. The Government recommends 10 micrograms daily for everyone over the winter and 20 micrograms for the elderly.  We have gone with this for reasons of public confidence.

Doubling the dosage or even quadrupling (if taking only one capsule per day) in times of extra demand e.g. becoming ill, if a very good idea since good outcomes with COVID-19 have been reported recently on higher doses of both vitamins C & D.

Getting zinc’d made:  for existing customers

What if you are already taking some sense* products?  We have always followed a simple rule and the same applies now. Because all the sense* products are powerful supplements with lots of nutrition, you shouldn’t take more than 3 dosages on a daily basis.

As far as zinc’d is concerned, your dose is dependant on your category, either at risk or not at risk. So if you are already taking 2 doses of other sense* products, either 2 x serving of one product or 1 x serving of 2 products, then you are allowed to take your suggested dose of zinc’d.

Getting zinc’d made: the formats

We decided early on that zinc’d was going to be a subscription only model.  In order to have the maximum impact across the population it is necessary to take these ingredients on a daily basis.  And if you forget, just double your dosage for a couple of days, it will only do you good.

However, we recognise that some people want either to have a decent supply in their cupboards or simply to grab a bargain.  So we have arranged for both the 30 capsule pack (one capsule a day – if not at risk) and the 60 capsule pack (two capsules per day – if at risk)  to be available as a bulk buy of 6 months(6 packs) or 12 months(12 packs).

The bulk buy options will be available on a pre-order basis initially as soon as we have the guaranteed delivery date pinned down (likely early-mid November).  Discounts during this period will be at their highest (up to 50%) to encourage early bird purchase.

As soon as the products are available in the warehouse the discounts levels will be reduced substantially.

Getting zinc’d made: the price

We never set out to make a huge profit from our knowledge and expertise relating to zinc’d.

To profit from other people’s fear and the pandemic generally is contrary to all our principles.

So we priced zinc’d at the lowest point possible where we won’t be losing money but unless the take up is substantial, we will be lucky to recover our advertising costs.

It was easy therefore to come up with a concept that will sustain this project in the public eye as a worthwhile one to support. Support your own immune system and say thank you to keyworkers.

All profit during the pandemic goes to a keyworker charity

The icing on the cake for us was to be able to gift this project to a good cause.  How much profit, you can see here how this is calculated.

Hopefully, we will have a hand in not only supporting the Nation’s collective immune system but also providing some well deserved support to individual keyworkers and their families.

Those families who have lost loved ones because of COVID-19 because their keyworker member was out of the house making sure that we all were looked after in hospitals, got transported to keyworker destinations,  delivered to us our online purchases or kept our various critical industries going e.g. food, energy, water, electricity etc.

We will have missed loads out so apologies but you are all covered in our definition of keyworker.

Why individual keyworkers? Because they seem to have got a raw deal.  Lots of clapping (for a while) and lots of donations to NHS charities.

But donations to NHS charities don’t reach individual keyworkers or their families, they go to the NHS institutions.  If we were being cynical these donations simply end up in Government coffers.

So there is a need to put this right, would you agree?