Benefits of Zinc Supplements in Immune Boosting
Zinc is highly essential for all the proliferating cells in the human body. A low zinc level can harm your immune system. Our immune system is more susceptible to get weak, as we age, which can lead to fatal, even severe, heath problems.
To eliminate this, you need to maintain healthy immunity by having a rich diet in essential nutrients and phytochemicals. Having a healthy diet reduces the vulnerability to cause illness because several micronutrients work together to support a proper immune function.
why zinc is necessary for your health?
Zinc is necessary for the normal functioning of the immune system; even a mild zinc deficiency can cause a severely depressed immunity of humans. Most of the people who are at risk of zinc deficiency are vegetarians, older adults, and patients with renal insufficiency.
Maintaining Accurate Zinc Levels, as We Age
Decreased immune functioning increases the vulnerability to influenza and pneumonia, to increase the risk for developing cancers and autoimmune diseases. By maintaining a certain zinc level, you can limit the decrease in the immune functioning that usually occurs with age.
Many studies have proved that older adults are most at risk of having a zinc deficiency. Half of the older adults, all over the world, consume additional zinc to increase their body’s immunity. But in some cases, there might be loss of absorption efficiency, because of our body’s age.
Most of the older people maintain an adequate zinc level, mainly to prevent the case of pneumonia. For the more past peoples, infectious disease like pneumonia, are severe, and yet preventable forms of illness. Improving the zin level in the body also enhances the immune system functioning and resistance to any infection.
According to the study, adults aging from 55 to 87 have a lower level of plasma zinc and a higher level of inflammatory markers and oxidative stress as compared to other younger adults. Half of the older adults consumed zinc supplements for about 12 months, and the other remaining half took a placebo. The rate of markers of inflammation, respiratory infections, and oxidative stress was found lower in the zinc group, as compared to the placebo group.
Those people who are not having an optimal diet to increase the immunity of their system, it will start to diminish around the age of 60 to 65. For those people who have an entirely plant-based diet may also need zinc supplementation, because there is reduced bioavailability inside the plant foods. Some antioxidant compounds prevent the absorption of certain minerals like zinc, inside our body. For example, Copper competes with zinc for binding the protein level inside our body’s cells.
Severe zinc deficiency is also characterized by skin lesions, growth retardation, hypogonadism, and impaired wound healing. Zinc is essential for the differentiation and proliferation, but it is also involved in apoptosis and signal transduction. Body cells always depend upon the regular supply of zinc, which makes good use of homeostatic regulation through several proteins.
Role of zinc in the immunity of our body
Although zinc has several different functionalities inside our body, the immunity malfunctions that happen, as we age are because of zinc deficiency, it reduces the functioning of our immune system. Zinc is essential for cell proliferation, and DNA synthesis, and these highly proliferating cells (immune cells), always depend upon the proper supply of zinc.
Functioning and growth of several types of immune cells such as neutrophils, macrophages, T cells, natural killer cells, and B cells are reduced due to the zinc deficiency.
As considered to its role in the immune system, it also helps to reduce oxidative stress, regulates the expression of various genes, plays a structural role by stabilizing the proteins, and stimulates hundreds of chemical reactions inside our body. Zinc is also required for insulin packaging, neurotransmitter release, and secretion inside the brain.
Maintaining a proper zinc level can lead us to the key to a long and Healthier life by stimulating the functioning of the immune system. Including zinc in your daily diet can lower the risk of pneumonia, slows the aging process, and other life-threatening diseases and infections.
Zinc affects the multiple features of the body’s immune system. It is essential for the functioning of cells mediating innate immunity, healthy development, neutrophils, and natural killer cells. Zinc deficiency also affects macrophages, cytokines production and intracellular killing, and phagocytosis.
Zinc is also needed for RNA transcriptions and DNA synthesis, cell activation, and cell division. The deficiency affects the functioning and secretion of cytokines, who are the primary stimulators of the immune system.
Why do people take Zinc Supplements?
Zinc helps to heal wounds and fight infections. If you already have enough zinc from your diet, it doesn’t mean you cannot have more from the supplements to gain benefits. It also plays a significant role in the treatment of the common cold. Many studies have proved that zinc can help to reduce the duration of cold, by a day or more, and reduce the other respiratory diseases, commonly found in children.
Zinc is used to treat skin irritations and diaper rash. It has also been helpful for the patients who have ADHD, Ulcers, sickle cell anemia, acne, and other several conditions. Also, it is used in the treatments of high cholesterol, herpes, HIV, rheumatoid, and many more.
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Several health care advisers recommend taking zinc supplements, especially for the people having zinc deficiency. Strict vegetarians, Alcohol abusers, breastfeeding women, and other people who have a poor diet are at a higher risk of having a zinc deficiency. So they insist you include zinc in the food you eat and the supplements you take.
Symptoms of severe zinc deficiency in the body
Although severe zinc deficiency is rare, it can be seen in the following cases:
- People with rare genetic mutations
- Infants who are breastfed with zinc deficiency
- People who are addicted to alcohol
- People taking certain immunosuppressive drugs
Symptoms of severe zinc deficiency include developmental delays, delayed puberty, skin rashes, chronic diarrhea, impaired wound healing, and behavioral problems.
Mild forms of zinc deficiency are more common, especially in children who do not have access to important nutrients in their diet.
It is estimated that about 2 billion people worldwide suffer from zinc deficiency due to inadequate dietary zinc intake.
Because zinc deficiency disrupts our immune system and increases the risk of infection, studies show that zinc deficiency kills more than 450,000 children under the age of five each year.
Symptoms of relative zinc deficiency in the body
Symptoms of partial zinc deficiency include diarrhea, decreased immunity, thinning hair, decreased appetite, mood disorders, dry skin, fertility problems, and impaired wound healing.
How much zinc or zinc does the body need?
An adult male needs 11 mg of zinc or zinc daily and an adult female needs 8 mg of zinc or zinc daily. During pregnancy and lactation, the body needs more zinc and is about 12 mg per day. Children have different needs depending on age and gender, and a pediatrician should be consulted to determine the daily intake of zinc.
Side effects of zinc overdose
Excessive consumption of anything can be dangerous. This mineral is no exception to this rule. Therefore, with excess zinc, some disorders may occur in the body, disorders that may become more stable and severe if the amount of zinc in the body continues to increase. Some of these disorders are:
- Stomach ache
- Feel the taste of metal in the mouth
- Loss of muscle fitness
- Alcohol intolerance
We will talk about some of these cases in more detail below.
1- Taste change in the mouth and nausea:
Excessive zinc intake may alter the taste of the mouth as well as the feeling of nausea. Researchers have found that taking zinc pills can alter the taste of the mouth, that is, the taste of metal in the mouth, to cure colds.
2- Immune system disorders:
Zinc, if consumed in the right amount, strengthens the immune system. But if taken in excess, it can disrupt the immune system by restricting the activity of T cells and white blood cells.
3- Increased risk of prostate cancer:
One study found that excessive zinc intake may double the risk of prostate cancer. In this study, 47,000 men were studied over a period of 15-14 years. It was found that there is no significant link between zinc-containing diet and short-term use of zinc supplements with prostate cancer. But what increases the risk of prostate cancer is long-term zinc supplementation.
4- Decreased olfactory power:
A study shows that using zinc gel to open the nasal passages reduces the power of the sense of smell. That’s why the US Food and Drug Administration urges not to use zinc gel or nasal spray.
5- Reduction of copper absorption power:
Copper deficiency has been reported among those taking zinc supplements. In fact, there is some kind of competition between zinc uptake and copper uptake. The more zinc in the body, the less copper it absorbs.
BIG SOURCES FOR ZINC
Among vegetables, spinach, soybeans, corn, mushrooms, cabbage, garlic, green beans and peas have the highest levels of zinc. The amount of zinc in spinach and mushrooms is equal, so if you are not interested in either, one of them can be substituted for the other. One cup of soy and green beans have 9 and 1 mg of zinc, respectively, and one tablespoon of cooked mushrooms and spinach equals 1.4 mg of zinc.
In this article, we showed that zinc supplements have several beneficial effects for the patients suffering from zinc deficiency, especially for older adults who have a high rate of infections. It helps the people to restore their immune system and increase its overall functioning. You consider the points mentioned above to know more in detail about the effects of zinc supplements on the immune system.