The immune system is what defends the body from bacterial and viral agents that can cause infections. Infections contribute to more serious health problems like heart diseases, cancer, and inflammatory conditions. This specialised system is also involved in the prevention of autoimmune diseases, wherein the immune cells attack the body’s own cells causing symptoms. Good thing that there are nutrients that naturally provides immune support to maintain active defences.
Studies found that Zinc, a mineral found in the cells prevents the immune system from being out of control, which usually happens in cases of sepsis or infections. According to experts, a specific protein transport zinc into the immune cells where it stimulates active defences. It appears that it interacts with cellular activities that balance immune response and neutralise infections. These mechanisms help the body in fighting microorganisms, toxins, stress, and unhealthy diet to prevent them from causing any serious damage.
In several studies, it was found that taking zinc at the beginning of flu can reduce its severity. More importantly, it may prevent its progression to more serious infections like pneumonia and bronchitis. These are the reasons why some experts recommend taking zinc during winter or summer seasons when flu is very common. Because of its ability to modulate the immune response, zinc can be useful in controlling the symptoms of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, and pernicious anemia.
It is estimated that the body has about 3 grams of zinc distributed in the skeletal muscles, bones, brain, lungs, digestive tract, kidneys, and prostate. These organs use zinc to maintain optimum functioning. In cases when there is poor intake and absorption, and also increased zinc excretion, zinc deficiency can occur. It is characterised by diarrhea, hair loss, skin and eye conditions, delayed wound healing, loss of appetite, mental deficits, and poor resistance to infections.
To correct zinc deficiency, this essential mineral can be acquired from dietary and supplemental sources. Foods rich in zinc include oysters, beef, lamb, wheat germ, spinach, squash and pumpkin seeds, cocoa, pork, chicken, beans, and mushrooms. People who are not regularly consuming these foods may turn to zinc supplements for additional supply. High quality zinc supplements provide standard levels of zinc that can help effectively meet the body’s daily zinc requirement of 15-25 mg. Zinc supplements come in different forms and it is always best to consult a doctor to choose the zinc supplement that is right for you.
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