Winter is the time of the year we talk about our immune system. Everyone wants to have stronger immunity during the cold months in order to prevent sickness, particularly the common cold and flu. One important element is often overlooked as an immunity enhancer, but it shouldn’t as, this mineral plays an essential role on our immune system. We are talking about zinc.
Zinc is important to the body in many different ways but it’s known to keep the immune system strong as well as fight infection, heal wounds, and support normal growth. While zinc deficiency occurs frequently in developing countries, in the U.S. it’s quite rare since most diets provide more than the recommended dietary allowance.
Zinc supplements have become a popular treatment for the common cold and studies have found that zinc lozenges may reduce the duration of cold by as much as 50%. A variety of zinc lozenges are available and people can take them whenever needed without any major side effects. Zinc helps and heal wounds.
The immune system normally works well against disease-causing microorganisms but eventually, particularly during the winter months, it may fail or is unable to stop germs that make you sick. Certain vitamins as well as herbal preparations may help enhance your immune response and zinc is definitely one of these “helpers” that can boost your natural reaction.
It’s important to remember that other factors play an important role on our immunity such as age, diet, exercise, psychological stress, among other things. Overall, healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.
How much zinc should one take? The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) includes the zinc you get from both the food you eat and any supplements you take. Women should take 8 mg/day, increasing to 11mg/day when pregnant and 12mg/day when breastfeeding. Men should take 11mg/day.
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