Q. Dear Terry, “I have been learning more about zinc and why it’s so important for the body. I don’t eat a lot of foods that have high levels of zinc, so I decided I should add a zinc supplement. What kind of zinc should I take and how much?” – Tommy W., Owensboro, KY
A. Dear Tommy, Zinc is one of my favorite minerals for the immune system and overall health. It’s estimated that over 30% of the world’s population is deficient in this key mineral. Supplemental zinc is a great option for people who may not be consuming enough of this nutrient daily.
Zinc is essential for our immune system to function properly as it is involved in both arms of our immune system – the innate and adaptive. The innate immune system is our first line of protection in the body and utilizes chemical, physical, and other defenses. Zinc is key to many of these defense mechanisms. The adaptive immune system is more specific and involves the formation of “memory” to help the body deal with pathogens faster and more effectively the next time they are encountered. The cells of the adaptive immune system are highly dependent upon zinc.
I prefer zinc that is chelated, which means bound to the amino acid glycine. This form of zinc is also called zinc glycinate and is more readily absorbed by the body.
Zinc works synergistically with another mineral, selenium. Selenium is crucial for an enzyme in the body that produces glutathione. Glutathione has been called the “master antioxidant”. Selenium deficiency greatly increases the risk of many types of viral infections.
Selenium has also shown great promise for its anticancer properties. It’s one of the few natural ingredients out there that has been reviewed by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for its potential to decrease the risk of prostate cancer.
I would take 30 mg of zinc (from zinc bisglycinate chelate) per day and 200 mcg of selenium (yeast-derived). These minerals are very safe and can be taken daily.
Terry . . . Naturally
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