Step aside, vitamin C... There’s a new immune booster in town. Many studies have proven that zinc, when administered within the first 24 hours of symptom, can help fight infection and shorten the duration of a number of illnesses. So, next time you start feeling that cold coming on, put down the drinking orange juice and optimize your zinc!
Zinc is considered a “trace mineral,” which means your body needs just a small amount of it to function optimally. Zinc is also one of the 24 essential minerals required for normal human health. Interestingly, zinc cannot be stored in the body. In other words, you must intake an adequate amount via diet or supplementation in order to have appropriate levels and reap the benefits.
Unfortunately, roughly one-quarter of the world’s population is deficient in zinc, due in large part to poor or inadequate diet and/or poor soil quality for food growth. At the individual level, zinc is also depleted by stress, infection, and disease. Zinc deficiency symptoms can include decreased immunity, depression, hair loss, and gastrointestinal issues. Thus, if you’re experiencing times of difficulty, stress, or illness, you'll want to make sure you’re getting enough zinc.
How Zinc Boosts Immunity in the Body
Zinc plays a critical role in maintaining healthy immune function. In fact, one of the more important benefits of zinc is its effect on immune cells. Zinc is an antioxidant that possesses anti-inflammatory and antiviral characteristics. There are a variety of studies that demonstrate the therapeutic role of zinc in immune deficiency disorders like epstein barr, hepatitis, herpes simplex, and even HIV.
When it comes to boosting the immune system, zinc aids in enhancing the up-regulation of the body’s natural germ killer, interferon. Interferons are a group of “signaling proteins” released by host cells in response to the presence of viruses. In a typical scenario, a virus-infected cell will release interferons signalling to nearby cells to heighten their antiviral defenses.
New research on zinc suggests that one of its most crucial jobs is regulating the actual immune response. It does this via gently “tapping the brakes” in a way that prevents out-of-control inflammation. While inflammation is an important component of the immune response, if it goes unchecked and is not properly dosed, it can be damaging and even deadly.
Zinc, Testosterone, and Metabolism
The benefits of zinc for women and men are numerous, but it can be especially useful for people with low testosterone levels, or, from a broader standpoint, those in need of better hormone regulation.
Testosterone is an anabolic steroid, and when it's within an optimal range, it increases the rate of metabolism in the body.
This is important because the way our bodies regulate and manage energy (our metabolism) and our body’s ability to defend itself against pathogens (our immune response) are closely linked. Both processes rely on energy – energy which can only be present when both processes are functioning optimally!
So how does zinc fit into all this? When our bodies are getting proper amounts of zinc, they are able to produce the testosterone they need. According to one study, elite athletes who supplemented their diets with 3mg of zinc per day for a month had significantly higher thyroid and testosterone levels. In another study, men who were subjected to “fatiguing bicycle exercise” for 4-weeks and supplemented with 3mg of zinc were able to maintain and increase their testosterone levels better than the control group.
Science-backed Pro Tip: The skin is the third most zinc-abundant tissue in the body and is required for the maintenance of healthy skin. If you want your skin to look youthful and radiant healthy, make sure you’re optimizing your zinc intake!
How Much Zinc is Enough?
“More is better” is a popular mentality when it comes to essential vitamins and minerals, but this approach is not necessarily the best strategy to take advantage of the benefits of zinc.
The RDA (recommended daily allowance) of zinc is 8 milligrams for women and 11 milligrams for men. Since stress depletes zinc levels, and 25% of the population is known to be zinc-deficient, some people aim for about 15 milligrams per day.
While a zinc supplement is an effective way to increase testosterone and boost immune function, you can also get adequate zinc through the consumption of oysters, red meat, liver, and herbs like He Shou Wu.
Not familiar with He Shou Wu? It is a gentle, yet powerful primordial herb that’s famous for its ability to extract Qi (life energy) from the environment in which it’s grown. It contains not only minerals like iron and zinc, but also more exotic compounds such as anthraquinones, phospholipids, and stilbene glycosides similar to resveratrol. At Alitura, we love the many benefits of He Shou Wu and included in our Alitura Naturals Revitalize Supplement.
If you want to experience the benefits of zinc for men and women, you’ll also need to consider how other essential minerals can help maintain a balanced immune system. More specifically, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting enough magnesium and copper to balance the zinc levels in your body.
Word of caution: Know and track your zinc levels. Consuming too much zinc, especially from supplements (more than 40mg per day), may lead to suboptimal symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. And - before starting any new supplement regimen - make sure to consult the advice of your physician.
Zinc is one of the most important essential minerals, but it is also one that many people lack. Stress and unbalanced diets both contribute to widespread zinc-deficiency. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to access the benefits of zinc via supplementation and dietary changes.
Proper zinc supplementation can boost your immune system, regulate your hormones, and help fight infections in your body. If you’re looking for a way to strengthen antiviral immunity while also improving your overall health, Alitura Naturals Revitalize Supplement is a safe and smart place to start!
Consult our website today to learn more about the benefits of zinc and how zinc boosts immunity!