Zinc (Zn) is a trace mineral that’s essential to a multitude of body functions, including both the immune and digestive system, wound healing, skin health and reducing stress levels. Zinc’s health benefits are numerous and one of the leading ones are its ability to activate several hundred enzymatic reactions in the body.

As per the study conducted in Ohio State University zinc helps control infections by gently tapping the brakes on the immune response in a way that prevents out-of-control inflammation that can be damaging and even deadly.

Scientists determined in human cell culture and animal studies that a protein lures zinc into key cells that are first-responders against infection. The zinc then interacts with a process that is vital to the fight against infection and by doing so helps balance the immune response. The study revealed that zinc determinants this pathway and helps shut it down, effectively ensuring that the immune response does not spiral out of control.

The team led by Ohio State University researchers also found that if there is not enough zinc available at the time of infection, the consequences include excessive inflammation. These findings might also help explain why taking zinc tablets at the start of a common cold appears to help stem the effects of the illness.

Without zinc on board to begin with, it could increase vulnerability to infection. Once you get an infection – if there is a deficiency of zinc you are at a disadvantage because your defense system is amplified, and inappropriately so.

"The benefit to health is explicit: Zinc is beneficial because it stops the action of a protein, ultimately preventing excess inflammation."