ZincBack to ingredients
Food source: Nuts and seeds, lentils, beans, chickpeas, whole grains and dark chocolate. Also red meat, poultry and shellfish.
Benefits of Zinc
- Strengthens immune system
- Healthy skin
- Healthy hair and nails
- Bone health
What is Zinc?
Zinc is absolutely crucial for our immune system and affects our immune system in multiple ways. Zinc is central in the normal development and function of 'neutrophils' and NK ('Natural Killer') cells that support our innate immunity. Neutrophils are a form of white blood cell that are often first to areas of inflammation. NK cells respond later, often to viruses and tumours. Both these cells and other white blood cells are essential for helping your body wipe out invading pathogens and creating antibodies, and Zinc is needed for their regulation and maturation of neutrophils and NK cells. An imbalance in these cells is presented in autoimmune diseases and other conditions.
Zinc also works as an antioxidant scavenger, which means that it helps to balance the level of oxidation in the body by fixing harmful ‘free radicals’ (unstable molecules that can damage cells). Too many of free radicals in the body lead to a condition known as ‘oxidative stress’. Keeping oxidation in balance is essential for the immune system, as some cells need antioxidants to protect them from their own toxins that are released when they come into contact with a pathogen (an organism that causes disease).
In addition to preventing us from getting ill, Zinc contributes to a range of other vital bodily functions, including in normal DNA replication. Each time a skin cell divides, it needs Zinc to copy and replicate its DNA. When DNA is not replicated properly it can become damaged which reduces its ability to produce collagen. This regulation of cell turnover means that Zinc plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin, hair, nails and bones. You may be interested in reading more on how zinc helps your skin.
Severe Zinc deficiency is rare, although milder forms are common for people who suffer from other conditions such as IBS, or in those who are elderly. Many of the functions Zinc performs require Copper as the two work in tandem, so a lack of one will also effectively prevent the other from working. Due to its importance, numerous studies recommend supplementing with to maintain a healthy immune system.