Zinc is an important mineral that regulates numerous bodily functions, and keeps the immune system strong and functioning properly.
Our Immune System
Our immune system is our body’s defense against invaders or foreign substances like viruses, bacteria, and parasites that make us sick. When our immune system detects a foreign substance (antigens) like a virus, for example, it mounts an attack against this substance.
The forces of our immune system include white blood cells, leukocytes, phagocytes, B lymphocytes, T lymphocytes, and neutrophils. When a foreign substance is detected, these white blood cells attack
B lymphocytes will start to produce antibodies to fight the specific invader. Once antibodies are made to fight a specific substance, the antibodies will stay with us. The next time that same substance invades our body, the antibodies will be there all ready to fight it off again.
This is why when we get illnesses like the chickenpox virus, we usually don’t get it again. Some viruses like influenza continually change just enough so that each time that virus invades us, our immune system must attack it.
With many thousands of viruses and bacteria floating around, you must keep your immune system healthy and strong.
How Zinc Helps the Immune System
This trace mineral is found in the cells throughout our body. It supports and boosts the immune system plus it is needed for:
- Building proteins
- Growth of cells
- Creating DNA
- Proper sense of taste and smell
- Wound healing
- The chemical reaction of over 100 enzymes
It is very important for the immune system to attack the invader without going overboard. Sometimes, an immune system response can get out of control, which can lead to too much inflammation. Too much inflammation can lead to problems like sepsis and other health issues.
Researches have found that it can help put the brakes on the immune system before too much inflammation occurs. This healthy mineral not only boosts the immune system, but it can also temper it when necessary.
Should We Take Supplements
It is estimated that 12% of Americans do not get adequate zinc in their diet, and as many as 40% of those over 65 are deficient. Our body doesn’t make this trace mineral, so we have to get it from our diet or supplements.
There are several ways you can be deficient. If you eat an unhealthy diet of processed foods, you can be deficient.
Stomach issues like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and other gut issues can reduce absorption causing a deficiency.
Excessive alcohol can cause a deficiency due to poor absorption from the foods you eat.
All minerals come from the soil that grows the plants. Over the years, the nutrient level of the soil has been dropping. This can mean you get less of the mineral from the foods you eat.
Without a strong immune system, we would get sick more often and have a hard time fighting off illnesses and diseases. Considering how important this mineral is to the immune system, it is probably wise to consider taking a supplement.