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Zinc and The Immune System

Zinc is a vital mineral that the human body needs to function correctly. Zinc has been an essential nutrient for about 50 years, and deficiencies of this mineral can cause problems such as stunted growth and immune system function. Although zinc affects many different organ systems in the body, it also acts synergistically with other essential minerals such as iron.

Zinc affects the immune system by regulating T-cell function, which is controlled by cytokines produced by activated T-cells. As a result of this role in the immune system, zinc deficiency has been linked with an increased risk of infection and certain autoimmune diseases.

Known as an essential mineral, zinc is a component of various enzymes and structural proteins. As a result, it helps with cell signaling, gene expression, protein-coding, immune function, wound healing, and proper development.

Zinc is a trace mineral that comprises about 2-5% of the human body, making it essential to ingest from dietary sources. It has been known as an essential nutrient for nearly 50 years now, but its role in various physiological systems was made apparent much later.

In fact, zinc affects the immune system by regulating T-cell function. Zinc binds to and activates metallothionein proteins, which are involved in cytokine production by activated T-cells. Cytokines are small molecules that mediate communication between cells, and their production is tightly regulated by zinc status.

Zinc and Bromelain on the Immune System

Zinc is needed for digestion, bile acid production in the liver, and protein metabolism. Zinc also helps in the immune system because it boosts the antibodies that fight disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, breaks down harmful fibrin. Fibrin is a substance that forms over wounds and can cause clots that block proper circulation. Bromelain breaks down the fibrin, allowing the wound to heal naturally.

Zinc and bromelain are essential minerals that aid the immune system. Without proper zinc intake, growth and development will be stunted. With bromelain, wounds can naturally heal faster. Both bromelain and zinc help with immunity by fighting off disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Therefore, bromelain and zinc are essential to good health.

Zinc and Quercetin on the Immune System

Zinc, an essential mineral to the body's health, plays a significant role in the immune system.

Quercetinis a plant compound capable of fighting infections and supporting immune function. It can be found in apples, cranberries, onions, broccoli, cabbage leaves, and parsley.

The zinc-quercetin combination has been found to significantly strengthen the immune system in a 20-week study (1).

In this study, zinc-quercetin supplementation increased the number and activity of white blood cells. The zinc-quercetin combination could be a great way to improve your immune system.

Zinc is also responsible for supporting firm skin, hair, and nails. In addition, it can help your body fight off bacterial infections when the zinc-quercetin combination is taken in supplement form.

Zinc may also be beneficial to allergies or respiratory infections because zinc's anti-inflammatory properties effectively reduce the severity of inflammation due to allergies or asthma.

If you want zinc to strengthen your immune system, zinc supplementation is a great place to start.

Function of Zinc

Zinc boosts the immune response and promotes the healing of wounds when used in the appropriate amounts of doses (100 milligrams or less daily). It also helps to protect the liver. However, doses over 100 milligrams per day may actually depress immune function.

Zinc's primary antioxidant function is in the prevention of fat oxidation. In addition, it is a constituent of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). Zinc is also needed to absorb vitamin A and for proper maintenance of vitamin E levels in the blood.

The function of zinc is involved in over 200 enzymatic reactions; required to manufacture many hormones; immunity; skin healing; growth; vision; blood-sugar metabolism; antioxidant support; reproductive development and fertility.

Zinc is a mineral essential to the formation of insulin, immune strength, sexual and reproductive health. In addition, it helps to prevent congenital disabilities, enhances sensory perception, improves nearsightedness, and speeds up healing.

Zinc is a brainy food that helps control mental disorders and promotes mental alertness.

Zinc depletion can reduce the immune system's effectiveness and ability to heal. Those who don't get enough sleep, work a 16-hour shift (or more than one job), or are over 65 years old, have celiac disease or those recovering from injury need to increase zinc levels in their diet.

Food Sources of Zinc


Many foods provide adequate amounts, including red meat and dairy products.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, a 100-gram portion of raw ground beef (3.5 ounces) contains 4.8 mg of zinc, which is 44% of the Daily Value (DV).

This meal, which includes 5 ounces of meat, has 180 calories, 20 grams of protein, and 9 grams of fat. It's also high in several other vitamins and minerals, including iron, B vitamins, and creatine.

It's worth noting that excessive amounts of red meat, mainly processed beef, have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and several cancers.


Zinc is found in oysters, clams, mussels, and other shellfish. They are excellent sources of zinc.

Oysters are the most zinc-rich shellfish, with six medium oysters providing 32 mg or 291% of the Daily Value. Other types of shellfish include less zinc than oysters but are still excellent sources. For example, crab from Alaska has 7.6 mg per 100 grams (3.5 ounces), which is 69% of the DV.


Chickpeas, lentils, and beans are all high in zinc. In fact, 100 grams of cooked lentils have about 12% of the recommended daily value (10). They also include phytates, which limit mineral absorption.

However, they can be a vital source of zinc for individuals on vegan or vegetarian diets. Legumes are also a good source of protein and fibre and may be effortlessly incorporated into soups, stews, and salads.

Plant sources of zinc such as beans can be cooked, germinated, soaked, or fermented to enhance their absorbability.


An excellent source of zinc is seeds and can help you consume more of it in your diet. Several seeds, on the other hand, are better than others. Hemp seeds, for example, have 31% and 43% of the adequate daily amounts (per serving) for men and women, respectively.

Pumpkin, squash, and sesame seeds are all rich in zinc. Furthermore, seeds include fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. They are an excellent addition to your diet since they contain antioxidants. Some health advantages have been linked to their inclusion in a healthy diet, including lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

You can add hemp, flax, pumpkin, or squash seeds to salads, soups, yogurts, and other meals to incorporate into your diet.


Zinc can be enhanced by eating nuts, such as pine nuts, peanuts, cashews, and almonds. Other nutrients present in nuts include healthy fats, fibre, and several vitamins and minerals.

Cashews are a good alternative if you're searching for a zinc-rich nut. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving has 15% of the recommended daily value.

Nuts are an easy and quick snack linked to a lower risk of certain diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Furthermore, individuals that consume nuts tend to live longer than those who do not, making nuts a highly beneficial addition to your diet.


Cheese and milk, for example, provide several nutrients, including zinc. The two most important sources are milk and cheese; they have high bioavailable zinc levels, which means that your body can absorb most of the zinc in these foods.

For example, cheddar cheese contains about 28% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA), whereas a single cup of full-fat milk has approximately 9%. Other nutrients essential for bone health included in these meals include protein, calcium, and vitamin D.


Eggs have an average amount of zinc and can help you reach your daily intake requirement. One large egg has about 5% of the DV.

Whole eggs are a rich source of choline, which is an essential nutrient that most people aren't getting enough of.

Whole Grains

Some zinc may be found in whole grains like wheat, quinoa, rice, and oats. However, unlike legumes, grains include phytates, which bind to zinc and limit its absorption. In addition, phytates are present in more significant amounts in whole grains than refined ones, lowering the amount of zinc they contain.

They're much healthier for you than most other nuts, with high amounts of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium, fibre, and B vitamins.

Consuming whole grains has been linked to longer life and several additional health advantages, including decreased obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Zinc for Treating the Common Cold

According to preliminary research, zinc has been found in tests to lower the number of viruses in people's bodies, and it may help boost the immune system's interferon production. To assess the effectiveness of zinc lozenges as a cold remedy, Sherif B. Mossad, M.D., and colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic studied 100 patients at the Cleveland Clinic (2).

Zinc gluconate lozenges were given to patients suffering from a cold following the disease's onset. They chewed the lozenges until all signs of a cold had vanished, dissolving them every two hours while awake. Patients kept a diary of their symptoms.

In a controlled, double-blind study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (1996;125:81-88), zinc lozenges reduced the duration of symptoms by 4.4 days as opposed to 7.6 days in patients who received placebo (non-zinc) lozenges (4.4 days vs. 7.6)

The findings of this research need to be confirmed by others to see if people with the common cold should take zinc. However, if verified, they could result in substantial economic savings and more playtime for those who are released from school early because of their illness.

Bottom Line

Zinc is a necessary mineral that aids in the function of many body systems. For example, elemental zinc consumption of 15-30 mg per day has been shown to boost immunity, blood sugar levels, and eye, heart, and skin health.

However, it's advised to not to go over the upper limit of 40 mg of zinc each day since high dosages can cause stomach issues and similar symptoms, reduce copper absorption, and decrease the effectiveness of some antibiotics.

The True Protocols Immune Support Supplement

If you’re concerned that you may not get enough zinc in your diet, our Immune Supportsupplement may be for you. Combining zinc with quercetin, bromelain, and selenium the Immune Support formulation is specifically designed to provide high doses of nutrients that have been found to reduce the incidence of infection and calm inflammation within the body.