Apr 14, 2011 06:00PM
When it comes to healing, boosting immunity and keeping our DNA intact, zinc is a star. A new study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology reports that it may be the basis for future therapies for fighting infection, because the mineral supports healthy immune function by increasing activation of specific immune cells (T cells) capable of destroying viruses and bacteria.
Zinc supplementation, for instance, has been shown to significantly reduce the duration and severity of childhood diarrhea and to lower the incidence and severity of respiratory infections. Furthermore, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, zinc is essential for people of all ages because it protects against oxidative stress and helps repair DNA.
The institute also reports that zinc deficiency is common in the United States, especially among the elderly, due to their lower absorption of the mineral and often inadequate diet. A well-balanced diet that includes pumpkin seeds, chick peas, almonds, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef and shellfish such as oysters can supply zinc. Taking a daily multivitamin containing about eight milligrams of zinc also ensures that our needs are met.
Additional sources: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and www.DietBites.com