One of the most well-noted functions of zinc is its role in immune health. The mineral is involved in the creation of antibody molecules, which are one of the important ways the body defends itself against bacterial, viral, and other types of outside offenders, according to board-certified internist and mbg collective member Vincent M. Pedre, M.D.*
Research shows that a variety of critical immune cells in our innate and adaptive immune systems—monocytes, natural killer cells, neutrophils, B cells, and T cells—rely on access to zinc for their development and protection, and not getting enough of the nutrient can affect immune resilience. On the flip side, zinc supplementation can optimize their function in those who may need more of the mineral.*
Additionally, zinc acts as an antioxidant, which strengthens your body’s natural defense mechanisms. Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties and can help combat oxidative stress.*
As Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, mbg’s vice president of scientific affairs, concludes, “All in all, zinc is an immune essential micromineral via multiple physiological pathways—from host resistance and resilience to our body’s inflammatory response and healing—this powerhouse nutrient is showing up for us.”*
You can read more on the expansive benefits of zinc here. Of course, tapping into zinc’s immune support power and other health benefits is based on the assumption that we’re consuming enough each day.