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Smart way to live long life

Smart way to live long life

Zinc and immune system

Zinc and immune system

There are no doubts that food has a great impact on our health and some diseases and influences immunity system response. Healthy and varied diet provides us with a combination of important nutrients, which, among other things, affect the body's ability to effectively fight viruses and bacteria.

Almost all macro and micronutrients are directly or indirectly involved in the optimization of the immune system or somehow interfere with immune response. A nutritional deficiency suppresses immune functions and can result in an increased susceptibility to infection. Because vitamins and minerals are essential and cannot be produced by our body, we are dependent on proper food intake.

What is the role of zinc in immunity?

Zinc is a mineral that helps keep the immune system strong. It is present in every cell and it is important for many functions here, including metabolism. It is participating in the synthesis and degradation of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids as well as in the metabolism of other micronutrients.

Zinc - activator of an important antioxidant

There were more than 200 enzymes containing zinc found in human biological systems, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), which are essential components of the antioxidant defense system. It is affecting activity of SOD and stabilizing its molecular structure.

SOD has the ability to regenerate cells, prevent their decay and neutralize potentially harmful oxygen molecules in cells. It helps break down one of the most dangerous radicals - hydrogen peroxide, by turning it into water and oxygen. This might prevent damage to tissues.

There are several forms of SOD that differ in their metal binding ability (zinc, copper, mangan or iron). Metal binding in its reactive centre determines distribution in cell compartments and sensitivity to various reagents. Zinc superoxide dismutase is primarily distributed in cell cytosol to protect it.

How zinc bindings provide structural stability?

Zinc atom plays a structural role in small proteins called zinc fingers (the shape resembles a bend of a finger). It binds the protein structures and makes them more stable. Zinc fingers are structurally diverse and perform a broad range of functions in various cellular processes, such as replication and repair, transcription and translation, metabolism and signaling, cell proliferation and apoptosis. Zinc fingers typically function as interaction modules and bind to a wide variety of compounds, such as nucleic acids, proteins and small molecules. They can play a key role in the natural regeneration of tissues and the development of certain diseases of civilization or skin problems.

How zinc deficient influence our immunity?

The thymus gland is an essential organ for the development of the immune system. It is at its largest in children. Once you reach puberty, the thymus starts to slowly shrink and become replaced by fat. If you are low in zinc, activity of the thymus is reduced, because the activity of the thymic hormone thymulin depends on the presence of zinc.From the bone marrow lymphocytes migrate to the thymus where they mature under the influence of several hormones into several different types, including helper, killer and suppressor cells. It is like the education process of T lymphocytes that is taking place in Thymus and only that cells that can recognise particular types of pathogens are released from Thymus. 

Zinc, as a trace element present in all body tissues and fluids, is also important by helping to maintain the structural integrity of dermal tissue and mucosal membranes. Zinc is essential for many aspects of the immune system for its complex mechanism and phagocytosis, intracellular killing, and cytokine production all are affected by zinc deficiency. Adversely affected is the growth and function of T and B cells.


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