Zinc is a mineral that the body only needs in small amounts, but is required for many vital functions, including being a key player in cell growth and development, thyroid hormone production, also how quickly damaged tissue or wounds repair and heal. Perhaps most important, though, is the role of zinc for immunity. It's key to warding off harmful germs we are exposed to, and research has shown that zinc can shorten the duration of common seasonal respiratory issues.
As an essential trace mineral, zinc must be obtained through dietary intake or supplementation since the body doesn't produce or store it on its own. It is found naturally in many foods and also added to others. Read on to learn more about how to ensure your body is getting enough zinc and how this crucial nutrient can boost your immune health.
Zinc's immune-boosting power comes in its ability to create immune cells that fight foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. It acts as a germ roadblock, helping to protect the body from illness. That's why it's important to maintain normal levels of zinc in the body and to supplement when necessary. If your body doesn't receive enough zinc, your immune response can be reduced increasing your risk of feeling unwell.
In addition to supporting a healthy immune system, having adequate levels of Zinc is important for its role in many more functions including:
Because the body doesn't produce zinc on its own, we must include foods that are a source of this essential mineral. As it is only required in small amounts, as long as you're eating a variety of zinc-containing foods daily, there's no need to overload on any one type. The following foods are all rich in zinc, and if consumed regularly, can help maintain optimal levels:
While Zinc is found in a wide variety of foods, some plant-based sources can be less utilized by the body than animal foods. If dietary intake of zinc-rich foods is low or a deficiency is confirmed, supplementing with Zinc is important. It is also a powerful immune booster to use at the first signs of illness or to support a healthy immune system all year round.
Zinc has been shown in studies to have the ability to function as an antioxidant, stabilize membranes and take on therapeutic roles with positive effects on immune cells. It is just one of three key immunity essentials, the other two being vitamin C and vitamin D.
Zinc comes in several different forms and preparations. Highly absorbable forms include picolinate, citrate, gluconate and acetate; the latter two are more common in lozenges. Common preparations can include capsules, tablets, melts and nasal sprays.
While Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, long-term supplementation can deplete other nutrients in the body and lead to further imbalances. Choosing a formula that contains the appropriate co-factors including copper, vitamins C and vitamin B6 and is a great choice for long-term use. As the body has no mechanism to store zinc, if levels are low you may want to consider a highly absorbable and usable form to restore levels more efficiently in the short term or to give the immune system a boost if it needs additional support. Adding the powerful immune-boosting trio of vitamin C, Vitamin D and zinc is one of the best ways to give your body the best chance at defending itself against harmful invaders all year long.
Having adequate levels of Zinc is essential from the wide range of functions it supports and if you are unsure whether you are getting enough from your diet or what supplement is right for you, knowing your individual levels is the best way to avoid guessing. You can run a simple at-home lab test to assess all your mineral and electrolyte levels as well as identify if there is a build-up of any heavy metals that can increase the burden on the immune system. Working alongside a certified health practitioner, your results will give you a deeper understanding of your current health and how to restore any imbalances using a personalized wellness plan designed to best support you, your immunity and your overall health.