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THE NITTY GRITTYB vitamin deficiency has been associated with decreased immunity. Specifically, when B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine) levels are low, your body’s ability to produce antibody-forming cells is decreased, thus lowering your ability to fight off disease.1 Additionally, B12 supports the growth of white blood cells, the cells of the immune system, while folic acid supports immune system maintenance. Many minerals are needed for optimum immune health. Zinc in particular impacts the immune system at the cellular and molecular levels.2 In fact, there are three major ways in which this mineral affects immune response:
- Zinc impacts immune cell function.
- Your body and a pathogen both compete for zinc, known as “nutritional immunity.”
- Zinc is a second messenger in signal transduction, meaning once a molecule activates a certain receptor protein on a cell membrane (in this case, an immune cell), zinc comes in as a second messenger and transmits the signal into the cell. This, in turn, elicits a physiological response, such as an immune response.
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