A compilation of research updates on the importance of Zinc
The Immune System and Zinc
Zinc plays a central role in your immune system. It affects virtually every aspect of your immune system, from the mucous membranes (like those of your mouth, lips, and nostrils) to the antibodies in your white blood cells that attack infected or cancerous cells throughout your body. Zinc is necessary for the development of white blood cells and cells used for immune defense. Zinc also boosts acquired immunity—preparing your body for future immune challenges, like the flu. White blood cell production is a major component of a healthy immune system, and this is negatively impacted by a zinc deficiency.i
As you grow to adulthood, there is a complex interrelationship between zinc and the growth hormone from the pituitary gland that affects reproductive functions. Zinc deficiency leads to a decrease in growth hormone and a decrease in the levels of IGF-I produced in your liver. IGF-I is an insulin-like hormone that plays an important role in childhood growth and muscle growth in adults.ii
Research has shown that chronic zinc deficiency consistently causes a delay in growth. Zinc controls growth hormone production in your body and has been shown to have effects on other aspects of physical growth as well.iii
Zinc supplementation causes significant increases in liver production of IGF-I. In cases of zinc deficiency, it has been seen that IGF-I is greatly reduced, even when the growth hormone is working normally in the body. Continual zinc deficiency will result in a reduced liver production of IGF-I and reduced physical growth. Zinc plays important roles in the production of growth hormone in your body and the production of IGF-I in your liver.
Zinc deficiency impairs the metabolism of thyroid hormones, androgen (male sex hormones), and growth hormones. Zinc supplementation, on the other hand, makes it possible in some cases for patients to overcome resistance to growth hormone treatments.iv
In the following summaries of published research studies, you will find valuable information on the role of Zinc and Arginine in human health.
Healing and Zinc
The usefulness of zinc to promote the body’s ability to heal wounds has been firmly established.v In this study, circumstances such as those seen in surgical stress can lead to increased zinc levels in the liver and decreased levels of zinc in blood plasma and the skin, which have a negative impact on the healing of wounds or incisions after surgery. Researchers documented that the use of zinc promoted the repair process of the damaged tissue by stimulating a response to growth factors in the body, which then facilitated the healing process. It has also been shown that zinc compounds hasten the healing of gastric ulcers and that zinc deficiency delayed such healing. Zinc plays an essential role in the process of tissue healing.
Zinc and Arginine
Zinc also has an important role in the prostate gland and testosterone responses in the prostate gland of patients. Arginine is an amino acid that plays an important role in:
- cell division
- the body’s ability to heal wounds
- removing ammonia from the body
- immune function
- the release of hormones
It is found in foods like milk, yogurt, beef, and pork. In this study, the researchers tested the effects of a substance that they referred to as neutralized zinc (zinc arginine) on enlarged prostate glands in patients. Results indicated significant reduction of the prostate size and weight, with no significant effect on the patients’ reproductive ability or testosterone levels. These results suggest that this neutralized zinc, or zinc arginine, offers a new approach to the treatment of the enlarged prostate without affecting the sperm cells.vi
Albion’s Zinc Arginate Chelate, used in the featured research studies, provided the total benefits of both zinc and arginine in one unique Albion chelate molecule. It has been shown that both of these nutrients have positive impacts on the immune system, wound healing, muscle growth, and growth hormone function. Additionally, these ingredients offer advantages over other zinc forms. Inorganic forms of zinc are known to cause some tolerance problems. Many zinc supplements can cause short-term side effects that can consist of nausea and mild gastric upset. Long term use of some zinc supplements can give rise to gastric erosion (an inflamed stomach). Arginine, alone, as a free standing amino acid, is strongly alkaline. Any time one ingests a strongly alkaline substance, the stomach responds with large amounts of hydrochloric acid to neutralize the alkalinity. This leads to some gastric distress and excess gas. But taking a nutritionally functional chelate with zinc and arginine can greatly reduce the tendency of gastric intolerance of both these nutrients. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that amino acid chelated forms of zinc are absorbed at a far greater rate than inorganic forms such as zinc sulfate.
Albion’s patented Zinc Arginate Chelate gives you all the benefits of both zinc and arginine. The studies reported in this newsletter suggest these nutrients have a positive effect on your immune system, ability to heal wounds, and growth hormone activity in your body. In every molecule of Albion’s Zinc Arginate Chelate, you have the added benefits of nutritionally functional nutrition:
- Higher absorption
- Greater tolerance
- Enhanced physiological benefits
- Better absorption dynamics
- Greater safety
- i Am J Clin Nutr 1998; 68:447S-463S, Shankar A Prasa A.
- ii J Am Coll Nutr, 15 :340-44, 1996, Aug.
- iii Minerva Med, 87(1-2):25-31,1996, Jan-Feb
- iv Biol Trace Elem Res, 32:383-98, 1992, Jan-Mar
- v Okada a, et al, Jpn J Surg, 20(6):35-44, 1990, Nov
- vi Fahim MS; Wang M; Sutcu MF; Fahim Z. Zinc Arginine, a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor, reduces rat ventral prostate weight and DNA without affecting testicular function. Andrologia,25(6);369-75, 1993, Nov-Dec