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Zinc Could Help Fight Infections
Everyone knows that vitamins "from A to zinc" are important for good health. Now, a new research study in the August 2009 print 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.
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.
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