Zinc is zesty—and a zealous fighter on your behalf.
In fact, a group of scientists from Ohio State University has discovered how zinc can fight off health-threatening invaders by altering an immune response, resulting in favorable levels of inflammation. Of course, by supporting healthy levels of inflammation after managing the immune response, the body remains its healthiest and avoids the inflammation-overrun environment that sets the stage for serious consequences at the cellular level that can wreak havoc on health or, in some cases, can even cause death.
The researchers worked with human cell cultures and showed how a certain protein paves the way for zinc to enter into key cells that stimulate a critical immune response to battle for your health. In fact, zinc interacts with a cellular process that actually neutralizes unhealthy viral and bacterial presence and helps to support a balanced, normal immune response.
Dr. Daren Knoell, the senior author of the study, states, “Without zinc on board to begin with, it could increase vulnerability to infection . . . our work is focused on what happens once you get an infection. If you are deficient in zinc, you are at a disadvantage because your defense system is amplified, and inappropriately so. The benefit to health is explicit: Zinc is beneficial because it stops the action of a protein, ultimately preventing excess inflammation.”
The “inappropriately so” response caused from zinc deficiency he is referring to, of course, is the out-of-control inflammation that can lead to disastrous health consequences. That’s significant, too, because zinc deficiency affects two billion people worldwide—including approximately 70 percent of Americans and at least 40 percent of the elderly in the United States—which is why our aging population often struggles to fight infections.
They’re not alone, however. Sepsis, a devastating systemic response to infection, is a common cause of death in intensive care unit patients. Interestingly, this specific research on zinc—published in the journal Cell Reports—was studied in the context of sepsis. The scientists also say that these particular findings may also help explain why taking zinc tablets at the start of a cold appears to fight the ill effects of the viral infection.
Their findings mark the first time the beneficial effects of zinc in fighting invasions have been understood at the molecular level.
As if that weren’t enough reason to make sure you get enough zinc, you’ll also want to know what else you can expect from this amazing mineral. For starters, zinc is called the “intelligence mineral” for its role in supporting brain development, memory, neuropsychological performance and problem-solving abilities.
Additionally, you need zinc for bone strength, eye health, wound recovery, healthy cell growth and reproductive health. What’s more is that zinc catalyzes nearly 100 enzymes and is essential for proper protein synthesis. And don’t forget that you need a daily intake of zinc because the body can’t store it.
Some great food sources of zinc—all organic, non GMO, of course—include: greens; red meat and dairy products, including beef and cheese, from grassfed sources; poultry; nuts; dark chocolate and cocoa powder; tahini; sunflower and pumpkin seeds; beans; mushrooms; green beans; and miso.
Zesty zinc. It sure does a lot for you.