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Why Combining Zinc and Vitamin C is Key for Immunity

Why Combining Zinc and Vitamin C is Key for Immunity


If you strive to maintain a healthy mind and body, finding ways to boost your immune system is key. A combination of vitamin C and zinc make perfect partners in assisting our immune systems. They can help not just with maintenance of our health, but also boosting our immune defenses and playing an important role in nutrition too. Here we look at why combining zinc and vitamin C is key for immunity, as well as the other health benefits this powerful combo offers. (1)

Why Is Zinc Important For Overall Health?

Zinc is what is known as a trace mineral. The term “trace” is used because it occurs naturally in our bodies in smaller amounts. However, despite its small numbers, zinc helps close to 100 enzymes carry out vital chemical reactions in our bodies. This mineral is involved in many functions including: (2)

  • Creating DNA
  • Cell growth
  • Building proteins
  • Healing
  • Immunity

Because zinc helps our cells multiply, it is important for children, teens and pregnant women. However, everyone can benefit from zinc thanks to its healing and immunity boosting powers. (2)

Why Is Vitamin C Important For Overall Health?

Vitamin C also helps with important functions including: (3)

  • Producing collagen, L-carnitine, and certain neurotransmitters
  • Helping to remove reactive oxidative species (ROS) which can harm our body
  • Helping to absorb iron
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Facilitating wound healing

If we don’t get enough vitamin C we can also get scurvy which causes bleeding gums, loose teeth, swollen joints, fatigue and anemia. (3)

Who Is At Risk For Vitamin C Deficiency?

People at risk for vitamin C deficiency include those who smoke, those who don’t eat a healthy diet, and those who suffer from health conditions that interfere with absorption of vitamins and minerals. If you are at risk, taking a vitamin C and zinc combo can help. (3)

What Are Reactive Oxidative Species?

These substances, such as free radicals, enter our bodies through exposure to pollution, through foods we eat, and products we use. Free radicals are bad because they lead to cell damage caused by oxidative stress. Vitamin C is an “antioxidant” which means it helps remove these free radicals from our bodies so they can’t cause inflammation and damage that increase risk of some types of cancers. (3)

Zinc And Vitamin C Combo For Colds

Two studies looking at combining vitamin C and zinc in patients with the common cold showed the combination was significantly more efficient than the placebo at reducing runny nose over 5 days of treatment. It also helped relieve cold symptoms quicker. (1)

Zinc And Vitamin C Combo For Eye Disease Protection

When combined, zinc and vitamin C may help prevent vision loss in older people. This is because it can delay progress of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). According to a study by the Office of Dietary Supplements, taking zinc and antioxidants such as vitamin C, can reduce the risk of AMD in elderly people. Other studies show zinc alone is of benefit to those who are at high-risk of developing AMD. (3,4)

Zinc And Vitamin C Combo For Wound Healing

As mentioned, vitamin C plays an important role in developing collagen. Collagen is part of the connective tissues in our skin, helping our skin heal from damage such as cuts and other types of wounds. Zinc is also important for our skin and mucous membranes as it also contributes to healing. (3.4)

Zinc And Vitamin C Combo From Diet

We can help boost our zinc and vitamin C intake through a healthy diet. Zinc is found in legumes, whole grains, meat and seafood which can help you get a good dose each day including: (2)

  • Oysters
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Legumes
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin C is found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables including: (3)

  • Guava, raw
  • Sweet red pepper, raw
  • Tomato juice
  • Orange juice
  • Sweet green pepper
  • Hot green chilli pepper, raw
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Papaya
  • Pink grapefruit juice
  • Broccoli
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Potatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mango, raw
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Lemon
  • White grapefruit

Enjoying a diverse diet with plenty of protein, fresh fruits and vegetables is always advisable.

Why A Zinc And Vitamin C Combo Supplement Is Important

Although you can eat a good balance of the zinc and vitamin C rich foods above, it is important to keep in mind that cooking can reduce the amount of vitamin C in your fruits and vegetables. You can try to eat more of these fruits and vegetables raw to reap their full benefits. Another option is to steam or microwave your vegetables to help retain their vitamins. It can be hard to know if you are getting enough vitamin C as it is water soluble, so our bodies don’t store it. Zinc is also not stored. As a result, taking supplements is the best way to ensure you are getting enough to boost your immunity. (4,5,6,7,8)

For more information about zinc and vitamin C supplements click here.