IMMUNE POWER DIET: ZINC—THE SUPER MINERAL
If I had to pick the one "most vital" immune mineral, it would be zinc. Study after study has shown that zinc rebuilds every area of our immune health. Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, a researcher at the Princeton Brain Bio Center, was the first to shed light on the amazing immune-positive effects of zinc, several years ago. Unfortunately, his work was largely unrecognized until recently, when scores of studies have confirmed his work.
Dr. R. K. Chandra, an internationally acclaimed immunologist now working at MIT, treated a group of children suffering from a rare and deadly skin disease. All of the children had very poor immune responses, and they had very low levels of zinc in their blood. Remarkably, their immune responses returned to normal only a short time after these children began taking zinc supplements.
I recently treated a patient for whom zinc spelled the difference between tragedy and hope. A sixteen-year-old named Jonathan was left severely brain damaged after a tragic auto accident. This once-bright young man was paralyzed, unable to talk or communicate, dependent on intravenous nutrition. He also developed raw, ugly sores on his arms, legs, and face. My tests showed two interesting facts: first, his immune system was severely weakened and couldn't mount even an average immune response. Second, he had an abnormally low zinc level.
I started giving him zinc supplements, and an amazing change occurred. Within three weeks, his immune response was back to normal, and the angry skin sores were well on the way to healing. He began to be able to eat solid foods. After three months, his weight had increased to normal, he had learned to use a wheelchair, was more alert and, for the first time since the accident, he could communicate with others.
While zinc supplementation produces dramatic results in sick people, it also powerfully benefits those of us who seem absolutely healthy. For example:
Zinc keeps crucial immune organs like the thymus and lymph nodes healthy
Zinc boosts the number of your fighting T cells
Zinc makes your T cells fight microorganisms more effectively
Zinc strengthens your macrophages (scavenger cells)
It is vital to get enough zinc daily because your body is able to store very little of this essential immune mineral. You do have reserves of several kinds of "strategic minerals" (calcium, iodine, and iron, for example), but scientists have discovered that the body has very small zinc reserves. Because of this, if we do not get enough zinc in our diet, or if factors in our lives deplete our small reserves, we may find ourselves with a deficiency of this immune power mineral.