Immune Superstar: Zinc

Zinc picolinate, 50 mg daily.

We’ve known for decades that the element zinc plays many significant roles in physiology, especially when it comes to the immune system. It’s also true that zinc-deficient individuals are more susceptible to a variety of diseases caused by bacteria and viruses.

Zinc is a powerful player
It’s involved in maintaining the protective barrier of your skin, respiratory, and gastrointestinal linings.

Zinc is crucial for the normal development of cells involved in several aspects of immunity, including leukocytes (white blood cells that kill bacteria), NK/natural killer lymphocytes (white blood cells that kills viruses), and T and B lymphocytes, which produce antibodies to destroy foreign agents (called antigens) that could cause damage.

Envision your entire immune system as one massive radar system, very Star Wars-like, constantly scanning your body, every single cell, endlessly searching for an enemy agent and then blasting it to smithereens. Your immune system then sends in another type of white blood cell, called a macrophage (translation from the Greek: “big cell that eats up stuff”), to literally devour the bacteria, virus, or even cancer cells. Anything that shouldn’t be there gets eaten.

Zinc also functions as an antioxidant to stabilize cellular membranes.

In fact, zinc is involved in so many of the body’s essential activities that when a new WholeHealth Chicago patient comes in with chronic symptoms and a stack of negative test results, we’ll measure their zinc level to ensure there’s no deficiency.

Here’s an important take-away: a majority of the people we test are mildly zinc deficient, just like a majority of our patients are mildly deficient in vitamin D.

For those of you who want to read more deeply on the subject, here’s an excellent summary article.

To see a list of zinc-rich foods, click here.
To order the well-absorbed zinc picolinate 50 mg, click here.

Be well,
David Edelberg, MD

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