Essential Minerals for Immune Support

Posted: February 25, 2021

The Crucial Role of Zinc and Your Immune Health

While there are many nutrients involved in making sure your immune system functions properly, zinc continues to be one of the most sought-after essential minerals for supporting overall health. At Balchem, we continue to research zinc’s supportive impact on our body’s and the many roles it plays. Here are three ways zinc can better your health.

T-Cell Development

A T-cell or T-lymphocyte, is a type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in how the immune system responds to specific bacteria or viruses. T-cells develop in the thymus gland, a specialized lymphoid organ located behind your breastplate, which produces thymulin. Thymulin helps to promotes T-cell function1. One recent study demonstrated that zinc deficiency impacted the production of thymulin2, therefore, negatively impacting the production of T-cells and its ability to ward off infected cells.

Proper B-Cell Function

B-cells are the second type of lymphocytes (T-cells being the first) and are part of the humoral immune system. B-cells are responsible for producing antibodies that are directed at specific invaders outside the cells. One study suggested that having acute zinc deficiency could cause an overall reduction in B-cell numbers2 and increase B-cell death3. Ensuring adequate zinc levels may help B-cell activity and function.

Protects Against Oxidative Stress

Zinc has also shown to be essential when dealing with oxidative stress, as it is a co-factor in breaking down potentially harmful oxygen molecules. This allows the body to better eliminate those unsafe radicals through other bodily systems4.

It is nearly impossible to know when our bodies are going to be challenged, so it is in our best interest to arm our immune system with clinically validated essential minerals to help our bodies function optimally.

The Importance of Iron for Immunity

Did you know? Low iron is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world. Iron is an essential mineral and plays a fundamental role in cardiovascular health, cognitive development and immune function.

The demand for immune support minerals and nutrients are experiencing a heightened demand as we continue to take proactive measures for our health. Iron is fundamental for supporting cell differentiation and controlling cell growth. A research study demonstrated how iron aids in the process of killing bacteria by white blood cells5.

Iron is critical for our bodies and is an important component of:

  • hemoglobin (oxygen-transporting metalloprotein in red blood cells)
  • myoglobin (oxygen-binding protein in muscle tissue)
  • ferritin (a protein acting as an iron buffer to stabilize the body’s iron usage)
  • numerous important internal enzymes


The significance of iron and human health is well known and as a result, iron supplementation has been widely used in an attempt to correct levels of iron deficiency. However, some iron supplementation is not easily absorbed by the body. Numerous studies have demonstrated the exceptional bioavailability and tolerability of organic vs. inorganic minerals. Ingredients such as Ferrochel® by Albion Minerals causes less gastric upset and enhanced absorption.

People around the globe are taking a more proactive approach to their health and wellness. To help arm the body, proper nutrition is essential for the development, maintenance and function of the immune response.

Minerals play a vital role in immune function6 and an inadequate intake of micronutrients can have serious effects on the various and complex functions within the immune system. These deficiencies may lead to decreased resistance to infections and an increase in the severity of symptoms. The role of the immune system is so wide ranging that there is a function for every mineral somewhere in the mix.

Below are three minerals that have been extensively studied regarding their roles in supporting proper immune function.

Folic Acid


Folate helps maintain innate immunity through natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells play a major role in the host-rejection of virally infected cells7. It is also essential for sufficient antibody response to antigens8.

Selenium

Selenium is essential for the functioning of selenoproteins, which support the antioxidant host defense system, and affect NK cell function8. It is also involved in the generation of T cells, which help recognize and deal with unwanted invaders in the body8.

Copper


Copper has roles in T cell proliferation, antibody production and cellular immunity. It is a free-radical scavenger6 with antimicrobial properties9, and may play a role in the innate immune response to bacterial infections9.

It is important to remember that not all minerals are created equal. Minerals come in a variety of forms based on their source, processing and delivery methods. Some mineral forms are difficult to digest, may cause digestive discomfort, or may simply not be available for use by the body.

Years of extensive research, clinical analysis, third-party critiques, and strict laboratory manufacturing processes have enabled Albion Minerals to develop the highest quality, fully reacted and effective mineral chelates, providing you the greatest chance to absorb the minerals for the best immune support advantage.

References:

  1. Maywald M, et al. Int J Mol Sci 2017;18:2222-2255.
  2. DiSilvestro RA, et al. Biol Trace Elem Res, 2020; https://doi.org/10.1007/s12011-020-02159-y.
  3. Wessels I, et al. Nutrients. 2017;9:1286-1329.
  4. Gammoh NZ and Rink L. Nutrients. 2017;9:624-649.
  5. Haryanto B., Suksmasari T., Wintergerst E., Maggini S. Multivitamin supplementation supports immune function and ameliorates conditions triggered by reduced air quality. Vitam. Miner. 2015;4:1-15.
  6. Alpert P. The role of vitamins and minerals on the immune system. Home Health Care Manag. Pract. 2017;29:199-202.
  7. Haryanto B., Suksmasari T., Wintergerst E., Maggini S. Multivitamin supplementation supports immune function and ameliorates conditions triggered by reduced air quality. Vitam. Miner. 2015;4:1-15.
  8. Saeed F., Nadeem M., Ahmed R., Nadeem M., Arshad M., Ullah A. Studying the impact of nutritional immunology underlying the modulation of immune responses by nutritional compounds-A review. Food Agric. Immunol. 2016;27:205-229.
  9. Micronutrient Information Center Immunity in Depth http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/immunity.