Selenium is a trace-element the name of which is taken from the Greek word for ‘moon’, selene, (in a similar way to the closely-related element tellurium, which gets its name from the Latin for ‘earth’, tellus). This essential micronutrient helps maintain healthy hair and nails, normal thyroid function, etc.
Selenium is also known for the role it plays in the body’s immune responses, particularly through its incorporation into selenoproteins (1). It is thus considered by the EFSA to support normal immune system function (2).
The best dietary sources of selenium are herring, canned tuna, seafood, pork chops, offal, dehydrated Brazil nuts … You can also take a selenium supplement, the most bioavailable form being L-selenomethionine (such as in the product L-Selenomethionine).
Iron is a very important trace-element , a component of both haemoglobin in red blood cells, and myoglobin in muscles (both of which are essential proteins for the oxygenation of cells). There are two forms of iron: haem and non-haem iron. This mineral plays a role in reducing fatigue, and in ensuring both normal energy metabolism and normal cognitive function ...
We also know that iron affects immunity(3). When iron metabolism is disrupted, for example, it is known to have an impact on the body’s natural defences. Thus according to the EFSA, iron supports normal immune system function (4).
Absorption of non-haem iron from the diet is only around 5%. It is found in legumes, tofu, eggs,, dairy products ... Haem iron on the other hand, is absorbed considerably better by the body (25%-50%) and is thus much more beneficial. It is found in animal-source products only: black pudding (or sausage), lamb’s kidneys, chicken livers, braised beef … If you’re lacking in iron, you can also take an iron supplement, such as Iron Bisglycinate.
However, before starting to supplement with iron, it’s important to consult a health professional for confirmation that you are indeed iron-deficient.
Zinc is a trace-element required for the activity of more than 200 enzymes in the body. It is primarily concentrated in muscles and bones. It plays a role in the normal synthesis of DNA and proteins, and in maintaining healthy skin, hair, nails and bones, as well as in protecting cells against oxidative stress ...
Zinc also plays a key role in immunity. For example, zinc ions are involved in regulating intracellular signalling pathways within innate and adaptive immune cells (5). So, as the EFSA confirms, zinc is a mineral that supports normal immune system function (6).
Oysters, calves’ liver, wholemeal bread, pecan nuts and dried figs are all rich in zinc. You can also supplement with zinc orotate, a form of zinc bound to an organic substance which enables it to pass freely into the bloodstream. Zinc orotate is thus significantly better absorbed than other forms of the mineral (choose, for example, the product Zinc Orotate).
To obtain the benefits not only of different minerals, but also vitamins that support normal immune system function, you could take a multivitamin supplement. Good options, for example, include the multivitamins Daily 3® (taken 3 times a day) or Daily 1® (just once a day), both of which are packed with minerals and vitamins.
Not sure how long a course of zinc supplements should last? Here’s a summary, by health issue, of the durations and doses required for effective supplementation.
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