Nursing home study evaluates effect of zinc on immune function

A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study published by Barnett et al. look at the effect of Zinc on the body’s immune response. The study posed the question – Could a zinc deficiency, or deficiency in other immune-important nutrients such as vitamin D3, be putting a damper on your immune response? Do you know your levels of other immune-important nutrients as well? identified 31 elderly individuals (ages 65 and older) in nursing homes, out of 53 who were screened, with low zinc levels (serum zinc below 70 ug/dL). Those 31 were then assigned to receive either 30 mg of zinc per day or a placebo with only 5 mg zinc per day. Both of these groups received supplementation for 3 months, with serum zinc measured at baseline and again at 3 months. Additional measures for immune response were also taken to get a better idea of how zinc supplementation and serum level affected lymphocyte proliferation, with measurements of T cells, helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells, B cells, natural killer cells, and natural killer T cells

STUDY FINDINGS: Of the initial 31 participants, 25 completed the study (12 from the zinc group and 13 from the placebo group). At the end of the 3-month period, while the average change in zinc level was 16% higher in the zinc group compared to the placebo group. 42% of those who received 30mg of zinc per day did not achieve adequate levels of zinc (70 µg/dL). Suggesting that a higher dose or more time than the 3-month study period may have been necessary to achieve the target level.

Interestingly, the study also found that those in the zinc group experienced improvements in lymphocyte proliferation and saw a significant increase in the number of T cells – a good thing. A correlation was found between the change in zinc concentration, lymphocyte proliferation and the number of T cells in the blood. Combined with the importance of T cells for resisting infection, this study suggests that improving zinc status in those who are deficient may help to reduce the risk of infections such as pneumonia

Could the effect of a zinc deficiency, or deficiency in other immune-important nutrients such as vitamin D3, be putting a damper on your immune response? Do you know your levels of other immune-important nutrients as well? Do you know what your vitamin D level is? You can take a blood test to find out, and take steps to keep it within a target of 40-60 ng/ml at the very least. or 100-150 nmol/L! Give your immune system the nutrients it needs. This will help to support a healthy body and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially during this time of COVID-19.

Specific nutrients which experts are saying greatly influence immune health during this time of crisis include:

All the above will be found at – make sure you keep your immune system supported all year round, not just at a time like this.



You can simply click on the name of each product mentioned above (in bold) and a hyperlink will take you directly to the product for an easy purchase.

Originally published on in 2020.

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