Immunity series: Increase immune cell production with Zinc

By April 5, 2020 May 20th, 2020 No Comments
Zinc is one treatment for telogen effluvium

Welcome to week three of our seven-week immunity series, where we take an in-depth look at an immune-boosting vitamin or herb. This week we are covering the immune titan Zinc.

For week two of our seven-week immunity series, check out our article: Boost your immune system with Vitamin C

What is Zinc?

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an important role in supporting the immune system, reproductive health, vision, cell division, DNA synthesis, and wound healing.

The absorption of Zinc is inhibited by phytic acid — a molecule found largely in plant-based foods. As a result, some research suggests that vegetarians and vegans should consume up to 50% more zinc than the rest of the population. 

Foods rich in Zinc include:

  • Shellfish 
  • Meat
  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is high in the immune boosting vitamin Zinc

Many plant-based diets may fall short of the daily Zinc recommendations and need to rely on supplementation.

What is the difference between Zinc sulfate and Zinc bisglycinate?

Zinc sulfate is one of the most popular forms of dietary Zinc. However, this form of Zinc is poorly absorbed and has little influence on increasing Zinc levels in our blood. 

Zinc bisglycinate, on the other hand, is a chelated form of Zinc. This means that it is attached to an amino acid, which ultimately increases the bioavailability of Zinc and raises our blood levels more effectively.

Why is Zinc good for boosting immunity?

Zinc is an essential mineral required for the optimal functioning of over 100 enzymes in our bodies.

Zinc plays a vital role in the proper functioning of our immune system. When there is a Zinc deficiency, our cells are not able to signal properly, and it can lead to an impaired immune response. The body therefore becomes more susceptible to attack by pathogens. 

Zinc is essential for boosting immunity

Zinc functions as an antioxidant and protects the immune system on several levels ranging from the skin, to gene expression, to the very functioning of our immune cells. 

Zinc deficiency impairs the production, maturation, and functioning of our immune cells, otherwise known as “T cells”. T cells work in the body to fight off infection by producing antibodies. 

Research suggests that Zinc may also help alleviate cold symptoms by shortening the duration of cold symptoms. 

For more information about immune-boosting supplements, check out our article: Best supplements to boost your immune system.

How should I take Zinc?

Zinc is best absorbed when taken 1 to 2 hours after a meal. However, some people experience nausea when they take Zinc on an empty stomach and may need to take it with food.

Zinc interferes with Iron and Magnesium absorption so those minerals should be taken at least 2 hours before or after Zinc.

Magnesium pill sitting on a marble-like piece of rock


The bottom line

Interested in incorporating Zinc into your vitamin routine? Take our 5-minute quiz to discover whether our Zinc is right for you and we’ll pair you with your very own Nutrition Expert for free.

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