And on we go with a look at our immune systems. From now on, Iâll just introduce some powerful natural remedies that could boost your immunity and thus your protection against disease. Here, in part six, I look at selenium and zinc.
This mineral influences your immune system mainly by its antioxidant function. It protects your body from the excess oxidative stress created by bacteria, viruses, or pathogens. Deficiency of selenium reduces the antibody response and causes impaired immunity.
In a double-blind study conducted in the UK, 22 adults with low selenium levels were given 50 or 100 micrograms (mcg) of selenium or placebo daily for 15 weeks. This was followed by a polio vaccine six weeks later with an intravenous dose of selenium. Selenium supplements helped enhance the immune respond in participants’ cells and helped the body more quickly produce T cells and T helper cells (important immune cells that fight invaders).
Another randomized, placebo-controlled study gave a high selenium yeast supplement (200 mcg a day) or placebo to in 450 HIV-positive adults. Results showed that the mineral suppressed the progression of HIV virus. In this amazing way, selenium may be a simple and inexpensive complementary treatment for AIDS.
This essential mineral helps produce cells, including those used in the immune system. The immune system depends on an adequate amount of zinc in the body. In zinc deficiency, the overall immune system is impaired. This leads to a higher incidence of infectious diseases. Zinc supplements have been shown to reduce the incidence of diarrhea by 18% and pneumonia by 41%. There are many other diseases for which zinc have shown a protective effect, including chronic hepatitis C, leprosy, tuberculosis, and acute lower respiratory infection. The effects on the common cold and malaria are inconclusive. Zinc supplements were ineffective in boosting most vaccines and in alleviating symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis.