Woman supplementing with Zinc to support immune system standing in a winter landscape

Is Zinc Good for Your Immune System?

Published: December 2021

Chilly winter months call for more time indoors, which can present unique immune challenges. Having the right immune-supporting tools in your wellness arsenal is critical to stay healthy and strong all season long.

You may be drinking vitamin-fortified orange juice, washing your hands and wearing a mask, but have you considered taking your immune support one step further and trying a powerful mineral like zinc?

If not, next time you aren't feeling at the top of your game, think zinc!

How does zinc help the immune system?

Zinc is a powerful mineral that helps keep your immune system functioning at peak performance. Zinc is required for the activity of over 300 enzymes and also contains antioxidant properties and helps support a healthy inflammatory response.

Supplementing with zinc is an important way to help support immune system health, particularly as you age. More importantly, your body does not naturally produce zinc, so you need to eat a diet rich in zinc or incorporate a high-quality zinc supplement into your wellness routine to get its benefits.

Which zinc is best for the immune system?

Woman taking a zinc supplement

When you aren't at your best, it can often be confusing to select the best zinc formula to keep your immune function strong. Luckily, Life Extension offers three different ways for you to supplement your zinc intake: capsules, lozenges and powder.

  • Zinc capsules:

    If you're looking to protect and support your immune system function as part of your daily wellness routine, zinc capsules are an easy addition to your supplement regimen. Each zinc capsule supports your immune system health by providing 50 mg of zinc. Not only will you reap the immune supporting benefits with these capsules, but you'll also be supporting cardiovascular, neurological and vision health as well.
  • Zinc lozenges:

    For those who aren't a fan of swallowing capsules, zinc lozenges are for you. These powerful, immune supporting lozenges are in the form of a tablet that disintegrates in your mouth. Each lozenge provides 18.75 mg of zinc and promotes healthy protein synthesis while offering powerful support to your overall immune health. Besides their ease and convenience, they are made with a natural citrus-orange flavor with no unpleasant aftertaste.
  • Zinc powder:

    An even easier way to get all the immune supporting benefits of zinc is through a mixable powder you can add to your favorite beverage. Three scoops of this all-in-one multivitamin mix not only provides 35 mg of zinc, but also 970 mg of vitamin C & 50 mcg of vitamin D3 as well as dozens of other necessary nutrients.

What is the best zinc dosage for immune support?

When incorporating a zinc supplement into your wellness routine it is always best to first speak with your healthcare provider to make sure this mineral does not negatively interact with any medication or other dietary supplements you are currently taking. It is always important to follow the dosage instructions on the supplement bottle and not to take more than what is recommended.

Pro tip: Be proactive! Take zinc as part of your everyday wellness routine and not just when you are feeling a bit off your game to support your immune health and function all year long.

Other immune support supplements that pair well with zinc:

Man taking immune support supplements

When it comes to supporting your immune system health, zinc is a great first line of defense. However, there are other immune supporting nutrients you can pair with zinc to give your body an extra edge.

  • Echinacea

    – Feeling a bit "eh"? Try supplementing with echinacea. Tried and true for centuries, this flowering plant has been used to help support immune system responses.
  • Vitamin D

    – Especially during winter months everyone needs a little sunshine in their life and that's where vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, comes into play. This is an important letter vitamin that helps protect and support your immune system health and should be taken on a regular basis for overall full body support.
  • Elderberry

    – Elderberry extract has a reputation for promoting a healthy immune system because this powerful plant is chock full of antioxidants to keep you healthy. Most commonly elderberry is taken orally, either by syrup or a convenient, 5-day formula for fast-acting immune support.
  • Vitamin C

    – If you have tried chugging endless amounts of orange juice to support your immune system, you may want to try an easier solution to get the health supporting benefits of vitamin C. Vitamin C is the go-to letter vitamin to help support a strong immune system by protecting against oxidation with 1,000 mg per tablet.
  • Probiotics

    Probiotics are more than just gut friendly bacteria. In fact, these microorganisms help support your immune system in a variety of ways. A specific strand of five different probiotics in Life Extension's FLORASSIST® Winter Immune Support can help you keep your immune system ready to go. This proprietary blend helps support nose, throat and respiratory health while encouraging immune cells to respond in a timely manner for on-the-go seasonal support.
  • NAC

    N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine or NAC is an easily absorbed nutrient and powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from oxidative stress. Each NAC capsule provides over 600 mg of targeted support to help protect your overall health and keep your immune system strong—no matter what the season throws your way.

Ways to support the immune system as we age

Older couple with healthy immune systems taking a selfie by the coast

Keeping your immune system strong is critical for overall health and wellness, especially since as you age, this vital system starts to weaken. Luckily, there are lifestyle changes you can incorporate to keep your body's first line of defense in tip-top shape:

  • Sleep well:

    Getting a full seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night helps revitalize and restore your body. Quality sleep is critical to feeling your best because this "downtime" is when your internal systems get the opportunity to get you ready for the next day. Without this regenerative time, you may feel sluggish and run down, and a tired immune system may not have the resilience to fight challenges.
  • Exercise:

    Breaking a sweat does a body (and immune system) good. Exercising and secreting sweat helps support your lymphatic system while also supporting your general immune system. You don't have to run a 5k or compete in a triathlon, either. An hour of daily exercise goes a long way, so try running, walking, jogging, tennis, swimming or take an indoor cycling class. All of these are great ways to get your heart pumping and your endorphins flowing.
  • Eat zinc-rich foods.

    Since your body does not produce zinc naturally, you must consume this immune supporting mineral through supplementation and/or diet. Pack your plate with foods rich in zinc like shellfish, legumes, seeds, dairy, eggs, whole grains and dark chocolate.

Not sure if your zinc levels are low? Order a convenient blood test panel to see where you stand.

References

By: Andrew Davis, Health & Wellness Writer

Andrew Davis is a graduate of Pace University NYC with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He has more than a decade's worth of experience in content and social media in the health and wellness space. An avid traveler, Andrew also has volunteered as an English teacher and humanitarian in countries throughout Asia.

Scientifically Reviewed By: Michael A. Smith, MD