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When we’re discussing nutritional strategies for strengthening your immune system and staying healthy, many people immediately think about vitamins and herbal remedies. But trace minerals are also essential, and minerals for immunity are especially necessary for antibody responses and natural killer cell activity. Don’t ignore this important category of supplements if you want to avoid getting sick this winter. 

Minerals For Immunity: 4 Minerals To Add to Your Diet Today

1. Zinc

Of all the different minerals that impact your wellness, no other mineral has been as studied and researched as zinc

An estimated one in three adults are deficient in zinc, and low zinc levels are correlated with a weaker immune system and increased susceptibility to infections

Your Zinc Recommended Daily Allowance:

  • Men: 11mg a day
  • Women: 8mg a day

Some of the best sources of zinc include oysters, beef, turkey, soybeans, cashews, pecans and almonds. If you’re shopping for a zinc supplement, zinc in the form of zinc picolinate may have the best absorption rates.

2. Copper

minerals for immunity

Crab and other shellfish are rich in copper.

Copper indirectly and directly influences the state of your immune system. For example, it plays a direct role in the activation of your immune system, and copper deficiencies lead to low levels of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell).

Copper also supports your immunity indirectly by improving your absorption of other nutrients, and helping with the production of your red blood cells. 

Your Copper Recommended Daily Allowance:

  • Men: 900μg a day
  • Women: 900μg a day

Some of the best foods to eat if you want to raise your copper levels include beef liver, crab, cashews, hazelnuts and lentils. If you’re buying a supplement, there is currently no research showing that a specific form of copper is better or worse for you.

3. Selenium

Selenium has widespread effects on your immune system. For example, low levels of selenium have been associated with reduced immune system responses, and researchers have found that this mineral is needed for the proper production, activation and circulation of your immune cells.

Your Selenium Recommended Daily Allowance:

  • Men: 55μg a day
  • Women: 55μg a day

Shellfish like shrimp, clams and crab are rich in selenium. You’ll also find this mineral in salmon, tuna, and whole grains. Choosing a selenium supplement is a little tricky:

  • Sodium selenate has the highest absorption rate, but your body releases a lot of it through your urine 
  • Sodium selenite has a much lower absorption rate of approximately 50%, but your body is better able to retain it

4. Calcium

minerals for immunity

Some of the best dietary sources of calcium include cow’s milk and other dairy products, as well as calcium-rich plants like broccoli, kale and rhubarb.

Calcium “plays a central role in the activation of cells of the immune system.” Many groups of adults are at a higher risk of not getting enough calcium, including pregnant women, older women, athletes, vegetarians, and those who are lactose intolerant.

Your Calcium Recommended Daily Allowance:

  • Men: 1000mg a day
  • Women: 1000mg a day (1200mg a day if your ages 51 or older)

Some of the best dietary sources of calcium include cow’s milk and other dairy products, as well as calcium-rich plants like broccoli, kale and rhubarb.

Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about whether you need to add more of these minerals to your lifestyle. But remember, minerals aren’t the only way to enhance your immunity. You may also want to support your immune system with thymic proteins. These proteins help your immune system respond to threats. BioProPlus-500 includes five bioidentical thymic proteins to support your immunity, and also includes the essential mineral zinc. 

Keep Reading More:

Selenium Facts: Why Selenium is Important For Your Immune System

Selenium Foods: A Full Meal Plan Rich in This Vital Mineral