Why Zinc is Key to Immune Function

What is zinc?

Zinc is an essential trace mineral meaning the body cannot make it on its own. Therefore, this mineral must be obtained through food and supplements.

Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral found in the human body. It is found in every cell and involved numerous cellular reactions.

What are the effects of zinc on the immune system?

Zinc is crucial for proper immune function and it plays a role in multiple aspects of the immune system.

Research has established that a hallmark feature of a zinc deficiency is an increased susceptibility to infectious disease and that zinc is required for proper host immunity. 

Zinc deficiencies have an impact on key immune processes such as phagocytosis, eradication of harmful invaders in cells, and production of cytokines.

This is why zinc deficiencies have long been linked to a weakened immune system. Another exciting study found that zinc supplementation was able to significantly reduce the risk of infections by stimulating a proper immune response in the elderly. 

Adequate Zinc is needed for viral protection and acute immune support.

The impacts of zinc on the immune system include:

  • Zinc is needed for proper immune system regulation
  • It is required for specific immune cells (T and B cells) to grow and function due to zinc’s effects on gene regulation within immune cells
  • It is also required for non-specific immune cell generation such as neutrophils and natural killer cells
  • Zinc functions as an antioxidant
  • Zinc modulates inflammation
  • Zinc reduces oxidative stress
  • It stabilizes cell membranes and keeps them healthy

What foods contain zinc?

Grass-fed meat and shellfish are the best dietary sources of zinc. Ground beef, chuck roast and oysters are some Paleo foods that are the most abundant with zinc.

Read more here about our top ten Paleo foods that are rich in zinc along with some of our favorite zinc-rich recipes. 

Should I supplement?

We always recommend advanced micronutrient testing. Everyone should know their intracellular (level inside the cell) and extracellular (level inside the blood) level of micronutrients in order to truly asses their health status and health risks.

Our favorite micronutrient test that we use on our patients is located here.

We always say supplements supplement the healthy lifestyle. Especially during times like these, where extra immune support is needed to prevent infection and illness.

Therefore, we recommend our zinc for immune stimulation, virus protection and acute support. There is 25 mg of elemental zinc in each tab. Take 1-3 tabs per day, with food, depending on need.

If you have questions about supplementing with zinc or inquiries about other supplements and immune-boosting tips, or if you simply want to chat, you can always schedule a free health coaching call with a Drs. Wolfson health coach here.

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