If you have a poor appetite, mental fatigue, impaired smell or taste or frequent colds, perhaps you're deficient in zinc. I recommend adding zinc to your daily requirement through food. Animal foods are typically loaded with zinc, especially grass fed beef and organ meats.
The Secret of Zinc's Immunity-Boosting Power Revealed
Zinc has been acknowledged as an essential mineral for human health since the 1970s. More than 300 enzymes in your body require zinc for normal function, and it’s well-recognized for its role in immunity and normal immune system development
A March 2022 study has now shed new light on how zinc influences immune function. Zinc is required for the development of disease-fighting T cells, and for the regeneration of your thymus, which produces T cells
A molecule inside your cells called GPR39 acts as a sensor that tracks changes in external zinc, and when the level rises, GPR39 triggers the release of a key renewal factor and thymic regeneration
Zinc ionophores, which act as a shuttle to transport the zinc into the cell, improves zinc uptake. Zinc ionophores include hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), chloroquine, quercetin and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
Excessive zinc supplementation can cause an imbalance in your zinc-to-copper ratio, which can impair immune function. Copper, in turn, is interdependent on iron
Zinc has been acknowledged as an essential mineral for human health since the 1970s.1 It’s the second most abundant trace mineral found in the human body,2 but your body cannot store it very well, so you need to consume foods with zinc every day to meet your body’s needs.
More than 300 enzymes in your body require zinc for normal function,3 and it’s well-recognized for its role in immunity and normal immune system development.4
Research in the last decade has identified the crucial role that zinc plays in curtailing the length and severity of upper respiratory infections in particular. For example, a meta-analysis5 published in 2017 found those who took a zinc supplement of 80 to 92 milligrams (mg) each day at the beginning of cold symptoms saw a reduction in the length of their cold by 33%.
Research published in 2020 also demonstrated that zinc is crucial to immune system function, and that deficiency can raise your risk of severe COVID-19 illness.6 Early on in the pandemic, a number of doctors who were treating COVID patients recognized the importance of zinc and published early treatment guidelines that included it.7,8,9
How Zinc Influences Your Immune Function
Zinc affects your immune function and helps prevent infections in a variety of ways. For example, data have shown:10
People who are deficient in zinc have an increased susceptibility to pathogens, as zinc helps prevent viruses from entering11 and replicating12 inside your cells.
Zinc mediates nonspecific immunity, including natural killer cells and neutrophils.
Zinc deficiency prevents the activation of T-lymphocytes, production of Th1 cytokine, and the ability of B lymphocytes to help. During deficiency, B lymphocyte development is also compromised.
Deficiency affects the function of macrophage cells, which can trigger cytokine production13 and dysregulated intracellular death. Thus, with a deficiency in zinc, you not only get more viral infections, but these trigger an increase in the hyper inflammatory response.
Zinc is central to DNA replication, RNA transcription and cell activation and division.
Zinc supports growth and function of ciliary hairs in your respiratory system. One study published in the American Journal of Rhinology and Allergy14 showed zinc stimulates ciliary beat frequency and may help improve mucociliary clearance, which is essential for clearing the lungs of mucous. Another group of scientists found that supplementing animals deficient in zinc affected the length of the cilia and number of epithelial cells in the bronchus.15
Zinc also improves your respiratory epithelial barrier.16,17
Zinc influences interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), which plays a significant role in defending against intracellular pathogens.18 When there is a reduction in this cytokine, your immune function will be impaired.
Zinc Helps Immune System Regrow Immune Cells
A March 2022 study has now shed new light on how zinc influences immune function. As reported by Science Daily:19
“In a new study published online March 25 in the journal Blood, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientists reveal two ways the mineral supports immunity and suggest how it could be used to improve health.
Using mice, the team discovered that zinc is needed for the development of disease-fighting immune cells called T cells and prompts regeneration of the thymus, the immune organ that produces T cells.
‘This study adds to our knowledge of what zinc is actually doing in the immune system and suggests a new therapeutic strategy for improving recovery of the immune system,’ said senior author Dr. Jarrod Dudakov, an immunologist at Fred Hutch ...
As in humans, Iovino and Dudakov found that the thymuses of mice deprived of dietary zinc shrink and produce notably fewer mature T cells, even after as little as three weeks of a no-zinc diet. Iovino was able to show that without zinc, T cells cannot fully mature.
He also found that zinc deficiency slows recovery of T-cell numbers after mice receive immune-destroying treatments akin to those given to patients about to receive a blood stem cell transplant. Conversely, extra zinc speeds this process, and T cells recover faster than normal.”
When zinc external to the cells rise, the cells release a regenerative factor that triggers renewal inside the thymus. T cells accumulate zinc as they develop, but when killed by a burst of radiation (or other damaging event), that zinc is released, raising the external zinc level.
A molecule inside your cells called GPR39 acts as a sensor that tracks changes in external zinc, and when the level rises, GPR39 triggers renewal factor release and thymic regeneration.