By now, you are somewhat familiar with the immune-boosting “heavy-hitters” like vitamin C and vitamin D. It seems that every other article I read these days is about how to enhance our body’s immune function, but few of them discuss the importance of trace minerals. What’s a trace mineral? Trace minerals, also known as trace elements or microminerals, include iodine, iron, manganese, and chromium to name a few. All trace minerals are important to maintain proper bodily functions like hormone production, healthy metabolism, muscle contraction, carrying oxygen in the blood, proper nerve signals, and ideal thyroid function.
Being a trace mineral implies that your body does not require very much. While this is true, this should not diminish their importance. There are 8 trace minerals that are classified as essential, meaning we must get them from our diet.
For today, in light of our world’s heightened interest in immune function, I want to focus our attention on 3: copper, zinc, and selenium. These 3 trace minerals prove to be the most effective in fighting and preventing viral infections.
Scientists still do not totally understand copper’s mechanism of action in regards to the immune system. However, they do know this:
→ Even marginal copper deficiency results in reduced neutrophils (a type of white blood cell that defends against infection).
Not only that, it reduces the neutrophils’ ability to generate the substance that engulfs and kills pathogens.
Fun Fact: Coronaviruses can survive for 3-7 days on most surfaces. But on surfaces that contain high concentrations of copper, they die within 15 minutes.
How to do you eat copper?
- Organ Meats-1 ounce: 4 milligrams (200% of the daily value)
- Dark Chocolate (Minimum 75% cacao) Watch out for too much sugar!-1 bar: 1.8 milligrams (89% percent of the daily value)
- Sunflower Seeds -1 cup: 0.8 milligram (41% of the daily value)
As for the immune system, zinc’s role is much better understood:
In short, it interferes with a virus’ ability to replicate.
→ If there’s NOT enough zinc at the time of infection, consequences can include a hyperactive immune response with excessive inflammation.
This is precisely what makes this virus dangerous for some.
How do you eat zinc?
- Organ Meats-1 ounce: 4 milligrams (48% of the daily value)
- Pumpkin Seeds (Sprouted)-1 cup: 6.6 milligrams (44% of the daily value)
- Hemp Seeds-1 ounce: 5 milligrams (34% of the daily value)
One of the primary symptoms of selenium deficiency is…
Increased susceptibility to viruses.
That may be because selenium is involved in antibody production.
How do you eat selenium?
- Organ Meats-1 ounce: 4 milligrams (over 100% of the daily value)
- Brazil nuts (remarkable!)-1 nut (5 grams): 95.9 micrograms (over 100% of the daily value)
- Wild-caught salmon-3 ounces: 40 micrograms (57% of the daily value)
Trust me, I am avoiding the grocery store just as much as the rest of you right now. I understand the importance of shelf-stable foods in a time like this. The following items are staples in my pantry and are all potent sources of the trace minerals we just discussed.
Wondering when I am going to mention the organ meats? Guys, I have a strong, strong dislike for eating organ meats. You won’t find me at home cooking up a liver for dinner. However, I do understand the health benefits. Organ meat from grass-fed cows can be argued as being the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Here is what I do: I take PaleoValley’s Grass-Fed Organ Complex every day. It has no taste and is sourced from a company I trust.