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New Zinc Research Suggests
Major Therapeutic Benefits


Everyone knows that vitamins and minerals
"from A to Zinc" are important for good health...


Now, a new research study in the August 2009 issue of the
Journal of Leukocyte Biology
suggests that Zinc may be
pointing the way to new therapeutic targets for fighting infections.

Specifically, scientists from Florida found that Zinc not only
supports healthy immune function, but increases activation
of the cells (T cells) responsible for destroying viruses and
bacteria.

"Previous studies have shown that Zinc supplementation
significantly reduces the duration and severity of childhood
diarrhea, lower respiratory infections, and incidence of
malaria in Zinc-deficient children," noted the director of the
Center for Nutritional Sciences within the Food Science and
Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida.

Age-related declines in immune function have also been related
to zinc deficiency in the elderly.

Scientists administered either a zinc supplement or a placebo
to healthy volunteers to assess the effects of Zinc on T cell
activation. After isolating the T cells from the blood, scientists
then simulated infection in laboratory conditions. Results showed
that T cells taken from the Zinc-supplemented group had higher
activation than those from the placebo group. Specifically, cell
activation stimulated the Zinc transporter in T cells (called ZIP8) 
which transports stored Zinc into the cell cytoplasm where it then
alters the expression of a T cell protein in a way needed to
fight infections.

Studies such as this help shed light on how Zinc may enhance
the ability of our immune systems to fight off foreign invaders.
This research also points toward new possible targets for
entirely new drugs to help augment immune function and prevent
or stop infections that might be resistant to traditional antibiotics.

Journal Reference:
Zinc transporter ZIP8 (SLC39A8) and zinc influence
IFN-expression in activated human T cells.
Journal of Leukocyte Biology, 2009

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Supplementation With Zinc?
 
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