Zinc impacts our gut health in 3 major ways:
1. Zinc is important for healthy stomach acid production and release. Zinc is highly concentrated in our parietal cells, which secrete stomach acid and intrinsic factor (helps us absorb B12). We use zinc along with other minerals like sodium and potassium to make stomach acid. Zinc deficiencies can lead to lower stomach acid production.
If we aren’t breaking down our food well, this can lead to imbalances in beneficial and non beneficial bacteria and put our immune system on high alert. Optimal digestion is essential for a healthy gut.
2. Zinc carnosine can help heal the gastric lining and gastric ulcers. In Japan, it’s approved for the management of stomach ulcers after a randomized controlled, double blind trial showed it was even more effective than a prescription medication known for how it protects the mucosal layer called cetraxate hydrochloride).
3. Zinc is crucial for our immune system health. We need it for the normal development and function of our innate immune system. Phagocytosis, intracellular killing, and cytokine production are all affected by zinc deficiency. These are some of the main ways our immune system protects us from pathogenic bacteria.
Zinc is also a powerful antioxidant that can stabilize membranes, which is important for the healing process.
This doesn’t mean we want to run out and start supplementing with zinc. Taking too high of a dose of zinc can actually negatively impact how our immune system functions and can also lead to deficient iron markers.
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