What’s the Role of Zinc in Immunity?

What’s the Role of Zinc in Immunity?

Supporting strong immunity is important, especially during certain times of the year. The immune system is a complex array of cells, chemicals, organs, and processes with one primary goal…to protect you from outside invaders.1

There are many ways to support the immune system. Exercise and diet are great places to start because research shows that physical activity and a healthy diet can improve immunity and support a strong immune response.2 For example, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to support immune function because it is high in plant-based compounds, healthy fats, and other nutrient-dense foods that directly interact with the immune system.3

It can sometimes be difficult to eat a healthy diet so that’s when dietary supplements can help. From a dietary supplement standpoint, zinc is a key micronutrient that helps support optimal immune function.2 Zinc is found in many foods including meat, fish, poultry, oysters, beans, nuts, whole grains, eggs, dairy, and fortified breakfast cereals.4

Zinc Immune Booster

The immune system functions via two key pathways: innate and adaptive. The innate system acts quickly while the adaptive system has a memory and can take over when the innate response is done.1 Zinc has been shown to support cells within both the innate and adaptive immune system responses, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the gatekeeper of immune function.5

According to a 2021 analysis of 28 randomized controlled trials, zinc was shown to support the respiratory tract even in individuals with healthy zinc levels.6 Besides supporting immune function, zinc is necessary for the activity of more than 300 enzymes and helps support health on a deep cellular level via cell communication, division, differentiation, signaling, and survival.7 

Best Zinc for Immune Health

The best zinc supplement to boost immunity is zinc combined with the amino acid methionine, which is known as zinc monomethionine. Zinc monomethionine is more easily absorbed and retained by the body so it can be efficiently used by the immune system. To get immune support with zinc, 30 mg of zinc monomethionine is recommended daily. Zinc Defender has 30 mg of zinc monomethionine; plus, we added vitamin B-6 for cellular energy and nerve function support.

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  1.  Marshall JS, Warrington R, Watson W, Kim HL. An introduction to immunology and immunopathology. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. 2018;14. https://aacijournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13223-018-0278-1
  2.  Shao T, Verma HK, Pande B, et al. Physical Activity and Nutritional Influence on Immune Function: An Important Strategy to Improve Immunity and Health Status. Front Physiol. 2021;12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8531728/?report=reader
  3.  Casas R, Sacanella E, Estruch R. The immune protective effect of the Mediterranean diet against chronic low-grade inflammatory diseases. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2014;14(4):245-254. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443792/?report=reader
  4.  National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Zinc Fact Sheet for Consumers. 2022;Oct 4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/
  5.  Wessels I, Maywald M, Rink L. Zinc as a Gatekeeper of Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(12):1286. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748737/?report=reader
  6.  Hunter J, Arentz S, Goldenberg J, et al. Zinc for the prevention or treatment of acute viral respiratory tract infections in adults: a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. BMJ Open. 2021;11. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/11/11/e047474
  7.  Sanna A, Firinu D, Zavattari P, Valera P. Zinc status and autoimmunity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2018;10(1). https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/1/68
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