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Performance Trace Minerals Enhance Immune Function

Part 4 of a 4-part series on viruses in animal production

Part 1 discussed what viruses are and how they impact animal production

Part 2 discussed how the immune system protects animals from viral infections

Part 3 discussed how trace minerals help prevent virus replication

Viruses and viral infections are important topics in both the human health and animal health industries. Viruses can affect just about any tissue in the body and are present in plants, animals, insects and the environment all around the world. Once a virus infects an animal it can cause disease and negatively affect performance if not met with an adequate immune response.

We know from previous articles in this series that good trace mineral nutrition is key to preventing viral infections and stopping viruses from replicating if an animal does become infected. Zinc, for instance, works as an antiviral agent by inhibiting RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) – an enzyme that causes the replication of RNA viruses, like the coronavirus and many others that are known to affect livestock and poultry.

Additionally, selenium works as an antioxidant, which reduces oxidative stress and improves the abilities of neutrophils and lymphocytes to identify and clear viral infections. Copper also helps relieve oxidative stress, stimulates T-cell proliferation and helps to produce antibodies and to kill cells that have been infected by viruses. Manganese plays a role in mucin production, which helps prevent pathogens from entering the body in the first place.

An animal’s immune response to viruses and viral infections is highly dependent on these trace minerals, but all trace minerals are not created equal. By supplementing animal nutrition programs with Zinpro Performance Minerals, the only performance trace minerals on the market, producers can maximize their animals’ immune response against viruses and viral infections.

Not All Trace Minerals Are Created Equal

Trace mineral absorption is highly regulated by the body. For trace minerals to be utilized by an animal, they have to reach the small intestine, be absorbed by the intestinal cells or enterocytes and pass into the blood. 

Zinpro utilizes a patented process to create performance trace minerals. Zinpro bonds the metal to the amino acid, such as methionine, in a 1:1 metal to amino acid ratio. This allows the mineral to be uniquely absorbed through the amino acid transporter. Through this mode of absorption, performance trace minerals are able to avoid the various antagonistic interactions to which other trace mineral sources are subject and, therefore, reach the intestinal lining and be absorbed in the intestinal cells or enterocytes and pass into the blood. Once in the blood (circulation), Zinpro Performance Minerals are excreted in the urine at a much slower rate than inorganic or low-quality organic trace minerals. This means that the minerals remain in circulation longer, allowing time for the tissues and cells to utilize the trace minerals more effectively to improve the animal’s ability to fight viral infections. 

Inorganic trace minerals, on the other hand, are metal ions and must utilize the metal ion transporter for absorption into the enterocytes. Only so much of an inorganic trace mineral can be absorbed through this transporter pathway while the rest is excreted by the animal. Additionally, when metal ions travel through the gastrointestinal tract, some are captured by antagonists, which are agents that can bind or block an inorganic in its pathway, making the mineral unavailable to the animal. This ultimately limits the animal’s ability to absorb the essential trace minerals and reach its full genetic potential.

The Proven Path to Virus Prevention

By supplementing your animal nutrition program with Zinpro Performance Minerals® – the only performance trace mineral on the market – you can ensure that more essential nutrients are being utilized to maximize your animals’ immune response against viruses.

Visit us online to see our variety of performance trace mineral products. To learn more about supplementing your animal nutrition program with performance trace minerals, contact your Zinpro representative today.