Summer 2016

Zinc and Infections

Supplements help seniors boost their immunity

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Zinc can keep older adults in the pink, research shows.

As the body ages, it becomes more susceptible to infections, thanks to the natural weakening of the immune system. Having too little zinc in your system can add to the problem.

But a recent study of 25 nursing home residents found that supplements can help older adults bring their zinc levels up and increase the number and function of their T-cells—white blood cells that are integral to the immune response.

The researchers, part of the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, say the findings suggest that getting enough zinc could help reduce the incidence and severity of infections in seniors, wherever they may reside.

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