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Zinc is a catalyst for many different enzyme reactions required by the body. It also helps to regulate thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Zinc may become depleted in those with hypothyroidism who overproduce TSH. When TSH is high, it may be a sign that the body is under producing the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). So, proper concentrations of zinc are needed to support the production of thyroid hormone.
Zinc is essential for overall immune function by regulating the communication between immune cells. Balanced zinc concentrations help protect the body against autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammation, or allergies. One double-blind study in The Journal of Infectious Diseases recruited 50 volunteers within 24 hours of developing symptoms of the common cold. Each participant was randomly assigned to receive zinc or a placebo every few hours. Compared to the placebo group, the group treated with zinc had reduced the duration and severity of cold symptoms, including cough and nasal discharge.
Intestinal permeability (a.k.a leaky gut) is often associated with an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Typically, there is a tight seal between adjacent intestinal cells to keep pathogens from entering the bloodstream. It’s important to maintain the integrity of this seal to protect the body from antigens and bacteria “leaking." However, zinc deficiency can lead to inflammation, which can weaken this barrier. Supplementing with zinc may help to tighten the intestinal junctions.
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