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Why Is Zinc Vital For Your Immune System — an article on the Smart Living Network
January 16, 2010 at 2:23 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Why Is Zinc Vital For Your Immune System


Zinc, you will find, plays a major role in supporting our immune systems. Zinc helps with multiple immune system functions like metabolism, protein digestion, energy production, and in the body's fight against damaging free radicals. Zinc is involved with antibody production to help fight off infections that may occur. Zinc helps to keep our thymus going. The thymus gland controls the workings of the immune system. When we are young our thymus is big and strong, but that declines when we age. When we are born the thymus gland is bigger than our heart and is found tucked in the neck behind the top of our collar bone. The shrinking of the thymus gland starts at about puberty, and by the time we hit sixty it's just a pale shadow of its former self. This in turn parallels the rapid decline of our immune system and is why elderly are so susceptible to getting sick. The most visible sign of aging is the shrinkage of our immune systems. There are many benefits to taking zinc supplements, however it is possible to take too much of the mineral. High doses of zinc can lead to many toxic reactions such as vomiting, abdominal pain, suppressing the immune system, and nausea. Some of the benefits of zinc would include:

  • helping with the immune system functions
  • stimulating anti-viral activity
  • helps with wound healing such as burns and scars
  • helping with the reproductive system for both men and women
  • controlling blood sugar levels
  • having anti-inflammatory properties that could benefit arthritis suffers
  • treating stomach ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease
  • supporting healthy vision and preventing macular degeneration
  • and sensory perceptions like taste, smell, and vision

Zinc deficiency can result in:

  • diarrhea
  • growth retardation
  • hair loss
  • delayed sexual maturation and impotence
  • eye and skin lesions
  • loss of appetite
  • delayed healing of wounds
  • weight loss
  • taste abnormalities
  • mental lethargy

These symptoms are general and can be associated with other medical conditions so do not assume they are due to a zinc deficiency without consulting your doctor first. Conditions associated with Zinc deficiency are psychiatric illness, anorexia, and alcohol abuse. The immune system is affected by zinc deficiencies. Severe zinc deficiencies can depress the immune system functions. Zinc is required for the development and activation of T-lymphocytes, a white blood cell that helps to fight infections. Zinc is found in almost every cell, it stimulates the activity of approximately 100 enzymes, which are substances that promote biochemical reactions in our bodies. Enzymes are also important to the proper function of our immune systems.


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