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Zinc helps against infection by tapping brakes in immune response

Zinc helps against infection by tapping brakes in immune response.

February 7, 2013 by Emily Caldwell in Immunology

Scientists determined in human cell culture and animal studies that a protein lures zinc into key cells that are first-responders against infection. The zinc then interacts with a process that is vital to the fight against infection and by doing so helps balance the immune response. This study revealed for the first time that zinc homes in on this pathway and helps shut it down, effectively ensuring that the immune response does not spiral out of control. The team led by Ohio State University researchers also found that if there is not enough zinc available at the time of infection, the consequences include excessive inflammation. In this research, zinc’s activity was studied in the context of sepsis, a devastating systemic response to infection that is a common cause of death in intensive-care unit patients. But scientists say these findings might also help explain why taking zinc tablets at the start of a common cold appears to help stem the effects of the illness. “We do believe that to some extent, these findings are going to be applicable to other important areas of disease beyond sepsis,” said Daren Knoell, senior author of the study and a professor of pharmacy and internal medicine at Ohio State. “Without zinc on board to begin with, it could increase vulnerability to infection. But our work is focused on what happens once you get an infection – if you are deficient in zinc you are at a disadvantage because your defense system is amplified, and inappropriately so. “The benefit to health is explicit: Zinc is beneficial because it stops the action of a protein, ultimately preventing excess inflammation.” While this study and previous work linking zinc deficiency to inflammation might suggest that supplementation could help very sick ICU patients, it’s still too early to make that leap.

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The time-course of an immune response begins w...

The time-course of an immune response begins with the initial pathogen encounter, (or initial vaccination) and leads to the formation and maintenance of active immunological memory. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

10 responses

  1. Amen! But it is VERY important to know that anything over 100 mg’s for over two weeks will do the opposite. Most people do not know this. The best thing one can do is take 5,000 IU’s of vitamin D3 daily with 60 mg’s of zinc daily, and, a buffered vitamin C, no less than 1,000 mg’s, with bioflavonoids, daily. I recently started juicing too..I do the greens…the fruit is just too much sugar.

    February 8, 2013 at 1:01 am

  2. Vitamin C without bioflavonoids is like taking none at all. The bioflavonoids helps to carry the C into your cells so your body can absorb it. Without it, unfortunately, you will urinate most all of it out. Also, be sure your vitamins are from a trusted source. Most GNC vitamins and store bought are chemically this case, you would be better off taking none. The chemically manufactured vitamins are very bad for you. I buy mine at a health food store. Solgar is one of the best brands, and so is BlueBonnet. The other thing that is supposed to be out of this world for you is Probiotics. I can’t urge people more…take probiotics! A good one! Not all of them have as much in them. Get one that has tons of different healthy bacteria. Garden of Life makes a good one. And again, so does Blue Bonnet. God bless you Loopy! Thanks for an awesome post!

    February 8, 2013 at 1:05 am

    • Thanks for all the excellent information Lyn, and God bless you!

      February 8, 2013 at 11:17 am

      • No problem. I studied this stuff in-depth and worked for a nationally known holistic doctor for a time who has a radio program. I learned a lot there. I was going to go to school for this kind of stuff but never found the instead, I just kept studying it on my own. God bless you!

        February 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm

  3. I have nothing but good things to say about zinc oxide as a cold remedy. The results were debatable for many years because several clinical studies produced different results. The issue was that the testing methods were inconsistent between studies. While we may still not fully understand the relationship between zinc and infection, the results are proven.

    February 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    • I have always had good results as well, thank you my friend and God bless you!

      February 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    • Amen! Have you also been reading about vitamin D3? There’s a bunch of stuff on it on I think you mean zinc gluconate though. Zinc oxide is an ointment you apply to your skin..which is great for many skin ailments. Everyone just needs to be sure they are buying a brand that is not chemically manufactured, as many are these days. I can also tell you a very powerful antiviral, antibiotic, and..antifungal. I can’t take any antibiotics, and this really works! I had a cold everyone had for 8 weeks + and mine lasted one week! I took Olive Leaf Extract, one three times a day, vitamin C (buffered/bioflavonoids) 1,000 mg’s 3 times a day (or to bowel tolerance), and 80 mg’s zinc gluconate..and lot’s of water, fruits and veggies. I went to bed feeling horrible one night, and woke up feeling great..cold was completely gone…not even the left over congestion!

      February 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      • “I think you mean zinc gluconate.”

        Yeah, what she said :-D

        February 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

        • LOL ;-) There are so many different types of vitamins it can get confusing–there are two different types of D (colicalciferol, which is D3, and some other type with a long name I can’t think of at the present), and different types of Zinc, and so forth… I just wanted to make sure you don’t eat zinc oxide ointment! LOL (just kidding!) God bless you Clark!

          February 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm


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