Comment: 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.
“As the debate over zinc supplementation in healthy individuals continues,” said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, “studies like this help shed light on how zinc may enhance the ability of our immune systems to fight off foreign invaders. Equally important, this work 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.” “Age-related declines in immune function have also been related to zinc deficiency in the elderly.”
Aydemir TB, Liuzzi JP, McClellan S, Cousins RJ. Zinc transporter ZIP8 (SLC39A8) and zinc influence IFN-gamma expression in activated human T cells.J Leukoc Biol. 2009 Aug;86(2):337-48. Epub 2009 Apr 28. View Abstract