Zinc controls many of the reactions of the human immune system to invading bacteria, viruses and cancer cells. Zinc is required for white blood cells to track down and kill invading bacteria and viruses (called chemotaxis). Without sufficient zinc the thymus gland (which produces a white blood cells called a T-cell) shrinks (called atrophy). While the most prominent effect of zinc deficiency is a functional decline in late-responding T-cells (thymus cell), zinc is also needed for fast-responding white blood cells called neutrophils. Without adequate zinc the immune response runs out of control and massive inflammation results.
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