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Prescription 2015: Zinc Requirements

March 16, 2015 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

If you regularly eat garbanzo beans or hummus, lamb, lentils, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds or tahini you’re well on your way to following my latest prescription. All of these foods are stellar sources of zinc, an essential trace mineral. For all of those who don’t eat zinc-rich foods on a daily basis, I highly recommend a daily multivitamin providing at least 100% of the RDA of most minerals including zinc. In fact, since zinc is both essential to health maintenance and safe when taken in conservative amounts, I recommend multivitamins to just about everyone. Now, you may think that I’m focusing on zinc because of its widely known benefits to the immune system. After all, zinc lozenges are probably the most popular natural cold aids currently on the market. While true, there’s so much more to zinc than just that.

My recent review of zinc in the medical literature substantiates the importance of this trace element in protecting against some of the most common and threatening diseases of our time. For starters, a new study in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Clinical Diagnosis and Research, reveals that female breast cancer patients have lower than normal levels of zinc in their systems. This is important in part because a previous inquiry discovered that inadequate zinc concentrations are associated with higher cancer rates in those exposed to environmental toxins such as cadmium. Those with hypothyroidism ought to take note of two trials which report that supplemental zinc is capable of improving thyroid function in overweight females and response to thyroid replacement therapy. Diabetics should likewise keep zinc on their radar. An evaluation and trial from 2014 determined that low zinc status is common in diabetics and is linked to the progression of diabetic kidney disease or nephropathy. Additionally, supplementing with 30 mg of zinc daily was found to “benefit immune response against cancer in patients with DM (diabetes mellitus) and metabolic syndrome”.

Both old and young should strive to maintain optimal zinc status via diet and supplementation. The February 2015 edition of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease explains that “serum zinc appears significantly decreased in AD (Alzheimer’s Disease) patients compared to healthy controls”. Another investigation from the very same month points to a shift in copper to zinc ratio that typically occurs with aging. The authors summarize that a higher copper to zinc ratio is associated with higher mortality in seniors and is likely impacted by hormonal changes, inadequate nutrition, inflammation and oxidative stress. In children, supplemental zinc (10 mg/day) seems to beneficially stimulate appetite in such a way as to increase consumption of fat and protein, but not carbohydrates. Increasing zinc also lead to higher levels of select hormones which stimulate childhood growth, namely growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) and osteocalcin (OCN). Interestingly, the children in this particular study were not zinc-deficient at the start of the study suggesting that higher levels of zinc may be beneficial even in those not expressly lacking in zinc.

Finally, a fascinating study just published offers a novel way for breastfeeding mothers to support healthier infant growth: by taking a synbiotic supplement containing pre- and probiotics. Surprisingly, mothers taking synbiotics demonstrated increased levels of certain minerals (calcium and zinc) independent of dietary choices. What’s more, the use of breastfeeding with synbiotics lead to small improvements in height and weight in infants. These studies and many others strongly indicate that zinc is absolutely necessary from the start of life and throughout it in order to live at our very best.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Serum Levels of Metal Ions in Female Patients with Breast Cancer (link)

Study 2 - Increased Risk of Cancer Mortality Associated with Cadmium Exposures (link)

Study 3 - Effects of Zinc and Selenium Supplementation on Thyroid Function in (link)

Study 4 - Zinc Deficiency Associated with Hypothyroidism: An Overlooked Cause (link)

Study 5 – Zinc Status in Type 2 Diabetic Patients: Relation to the Progression of (link)

Study 6 - Zinc Supplementation Improves Anticancer Activity of Monocytes in (link)

Study 7 - Zinc in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Serum, Plasma  and (link)

Study 8 - Serum Copper to Zinc Ratio: Relationship with Aging and Health Status (link)

Study 9 – Effect of Zinc Supplementation on GH, IGF1, IGFBP3, OCN & ALP in (link)

Study 10 - A Pilot Study of Synbiotic Supplementation on Breast Milk Mineral (link)

Aging Increases Urinary Iron and Zinc Clearance

Source: Nutr Metab Insights. 2014 May 26;7:47-50. (link)

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20 Comments & Updates to “Prescription 2015: Zinc Requirements”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: More evidence that zinc is vital in aging populations …

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.201400784/abstract

    Zinc supplementation influences genomic stability biomarkers, antioxidant activity and zinc transporter genes in an elderly Australian population with low zinc status

    Scope: An increased intake of Zinc (Zn) may reduce the risk of degenerative diseases but may prove to be toxic if taken in excess. This study aimed to investigate whether Zinc carnosine supplement can improve Zn status, genome stability events and Zn transporter gene expression in an elderly (65-85y) South Australian cohort with low plasma Zn levels.

    Methods and results: A 12 week placebo-controlled intervention trial was performed with 84 volunteers completing the study, (Placebo, n = 42) and (Zn group, n = 42). Plasma Zn was significantly increased (p<0.05) by 5.69% in the Zn supplemented group after 12 weeks. A significant (p<0.05) decrease in the micronucleus frequency (-24.18%) was observed for the Zn supplemented cohort relative to baseline compared to the placebo group. Reductions of -7.09% for tail moment and -8.76% for tail intensity were observed for the Zn group (relative to baseline) (p<0.05). Telomere base damage was found to be also significantly decreased in the Zn group (p<0.05). Both MT1A and ZIP1 expression showed a significant increase in the Zn supplemented group (p<0.05).

    Conclusion: Zn supplementation may have a beneficial effect in an elderly population with low Zn levels by improving Zn status, antioxidant profile and lowering DNA damage.

    Be well!

    JP

  2. JP Says:

    Update: Certain diet and lifestyle choices affect zinc status …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25675801

    Ginekol Pol. 2014 Nov;85(11):838-42.

    Effects of substances on serum zinc levels in postmenopausal women.

    INTRODUCTION: Demographic facts and forecasts about lengthening life expectancy motivate to systematize the knowledge of health problems experienced by women at the age of 50 and older. It refers to the whole health policy including health economics. Longer female life spans cause that an increasing number of women suffer from health problems associated with the perimenopausal period, and become health care recipients. Also a shift of retirement age is the reason to take interdisciplinary actions for women’s health and quality of life. This study describes a decline in the levels of many bioelements in hair, urine and blood serum, which progresses with age. It not only correlates with a decrease in the synthesis and secretion of estrogen, but also environmental pollution, unhealthy lifestyle and the use of substances.

    AIM OF THE STUDY: The aim of this study was to determine the correlation between serum zinc levels in postmenopausal women and such variables as the use of substances (cigarettes, alcohol) and menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). Material and method: The study was conducted among 152 healthy women being 1-16 years after menopause. The women were divided into study group (MHT users) and control group (MHT non-users). A sub-division criterion was the use of substances (cigarettes, alcohol). Serum zinc levels were determined in all women. Results: The use of substances significantly contributed to the lowering of serum zinc levels in postmenopausal women. MHT users had statistically higher average zinc levels in blood serum, which referred both to smokers and consumers of alcohol and those who did not use these substances.

    CONCLUSIONS: (1) The use-of substances (cigarettes, alcohol) contributes to the lowering of zinc levels in blood serum. (2) MHT positively affects serum zinc levels in postmenopausal women regardless of whether they use substances (cigarettes, alcohol) or not.

    Be well!

    JP

  3. JP Says:

    Update: Inadequate zinc linked to poor mental health in nursing home residents …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4311908/

    PLoS ONE. 2015;10(1):e0117257.

    Serum Zinc Concentrations Correlate with Mental and Physical Status of Nursing Home Residents. van Wouwe J, ed.

    “Conclusions: Nursing home residents seem at risk of marginal Zn status, which correlates with their mental status as measured by the AMTS and GDS. Their low FS is associated with mental health deterioration and obesity.”

    Be well!

    JP

  4. JP Says:

    Update: A client asked about dietary substances which affect zinc absorption. Here’s an older paper which addresses this very topic …

    http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/5/1378S.long

    J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1378S-83S.

    Dietary factors influencing zinc absorption.

    Marginal zinc deficiency and suboptimal zinc status have been recognized in many groups of the population in both less developed and industrialized countries. Although the cause in some cases may be inadequate dietary intake of zinc, inhibitors of zinc absorption are most likely the most common causative factor. Phytate, which is present in staple foods like cereals, corn and rice, has a strong negative effect on zinc absorption from composite meals. Inositol hexaphosphates and pentaphosphates are the phytate forms that exert these negative effects, whereas the lower phosphates have no or little effect on zinc absorption. The removal or reduction of phytate by enzyme (phytase) treatment, precipitation methods, germination, fermentation or plant breeding/genetic engineering markedly improves zinc absorption. Iron can have a negative effect on zinc absorption, if given together in a supplement, whereas no effect is observed when the same amounts are present in a meal as fortificants. Cadmium, which is increasing in the environment, also inhibits zinc absorption. The amount of protein in a meal has a positive effect on zinc absorption, but individual proteins may act differently; e.g., casein has a modest inhibitory effect of zinc absorption compared with other protein sources. Amino acids, such as histidine and methionine, and other low-molecular-weight ions, such as EDTA and organic acids (e.g., citrate), are known to have a positive effect on zinc absorption and have been used for zinc supplements. Knowledge about dietary factors that inhibit zinc absorption and about ways to overcome or remove these factors is essential when designing strategies to improve the zinc nutrition of vulnerable groups.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. JP Says:

    Update: Another consideration is the negative impact of PPI medications – typically used to control GERD symptoms …

    http://gastrores.org/index.php/Gastrores/article/viewFile/379/424

    Gastroenterology Research • 2011;4(6):243-251

    Proton Pump Inhibitors Interfere With Zinc Absorption and
    Zinc Body Stores

    Background: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) cause a sharp elevation of gastro-duodenal luminal pH which in turn has resulted in
    reports of reduced absorption of magnesium and certain other nutrients.

    Methods: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients on
    long-term PPI therapy (> 6 months) or healthy test subjects (not on
    any acid preventive or neutralizing medication) were administered
    oral doses of zinc gluconate (26.2 mg zinc, twice daily) for 14 days
    followed by 5 cc venous blood samples. Plasma was analyzed for
    total zinc content by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Baseline plasma and red blood cell zinc levels were also measured in these two groups when not taking any zinc supplementation.

    Results: Plasma zinc levels of healthy controls increased by 126%
    during the period of zinc supplementation compared to only a 37%
    increase for individuals on long-term PPI therapy. On their normal
    diet (with no zinc supplementation), PPI-users had a 28% lower
    plasma zinc level than healthy controls (P < 0.005).

    Conclusions: PPI use dramatically reduces supplemental zinc uptake and can result in decreased zinc body stores. Certain individu

    Be well!

    JP

  6. JP Says:

    Update: A reader inquired about the validity of liquid zinc sulfate as a means of assessing zinc status. Here’s a recent review which addresses this diagnostic tool …

    http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2011.0298

    J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jun;18(6):541-50.

    The accuracy of the Zinc Taste Test method.

    BACKGROUND: Diminished taste acuity (hypogeusia) has been linked to zinc deficiency in humans and animals. This phenomenon has been exploited in the Zinc Taste Test (ZTT), a taste acuity test commonly employed by Australian naturopaths. However, its validity has not yet been firmly established.

    METHODS: A systematic search of several key databases was conducted. Only studies in which there were full reports of clinical trials comparing the ZTT to at least one other zinc test within the same sample population were included.

    RESULTS: Three (3) studies matched the criteria for inclusion. Study I compared the ZTT with sweat zinc in patients with food intolerance, reporting moderate correlation. Study II recruited pregnant women using the ZTT and serum zinc to assess zinc status, with above 70% congruence between the two tests at the start of the trial and 100% congruence at the end. Study III also recruited pregnant women at three stages during gestation, assessing ZTT and leukocyte zinc initially, later adding dietary zinc intake and at delivery cord blood zinc. No significant correlation was found between the results of these different methods; however, statistically significant differences in the ZTT responders (tasters and nontasters) were found for pregnancy outcomes.

    DISCUSSION: The methodology of the three studies is critically discussed. Although depletion of zinc leads to decreased taste acuity, it does not explain all cases of hypogeusia. Various other influences on taste perception are discussed in relation to the validity of the ZTT. Stringent exclusion criteria are therefore mandatory to increase specificity. Large variations from the original test design have been identified. The laboratory assays of zinc in these studies are also lacking sensitivity to accurately assess zinc status.

    CONCLUSIONS: To date, there are no tests that are both sensitive and specific that accurately assess marginal zinc status in humans. The ZTT, albeit widely used, does not fill this void, and further research is needed.

    Be well!

    JP

  7. JP Says:

    Update: In the news …

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150323142839.htm

    Zinc deficiency linked to immune system response, particularly in older adults

    “Zinc, an important mineral in human health, appears to affect how the immune system responds to stimulation, especially inflammation, new research shows. Zinc deficiency could play a role in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes that involve inflammation. Such diseases often show up in older adults, who are more at risk for zinc deficiency.”

    Be well!

    JP

  8. Paul F. Says:

    Hi JP,

    Very thorough article on this often neglected mineral so important for our immune system, inflammation etc…

    Could you recommend a home test which will clue me if the zinc present in my body is sufficient to perform its important role?

    I suspect deficiency since I am 81 years old.

    Thank you!
    Paul

  9. JP Says:

    Paul,

    A home test which uses a zinc sulfate solution may be useful. The test is controversial and isn’t considered a stand alone diagnostic tool. But, some holistic practitioners believe it has merit.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8112809

    Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1993 Oct;37(4):318-22.

    Zinc taste test in pregnant women and its correlation with serum zinc level.

    Pregnant women in different trimesters of pregnancy were divided into control (n = 58) and study (n = 104) groups. Study group subjects were given 45 mg zinc/p.o./day as 200 mg ‘zinc sulphate tablets from the day of reporting till term. Body zinc status was clinically assessed by ‘zinc taste test’. Blood samples were drawn at the same time and serum zinc levels measured. Zinc taste test scores decreased with advancement of pregnancy (P < 0.05) and increased significantly following zinc administration (P < 0.05). Serum zinc level declined significantly with advancement of pregnancy (P < 0.001). Following zinc administration, serum zinc level increased significantly (P < 0.001). Accuracy of zinc taste test in individual cases ranged between 70 and 100 percent. On the whole, zinc taste test was well correlated with serum zinc level, and provides a fair idea of zinc deficiency.

    Be well!

    JP

  10. JP Says:

    Here’s a review you might find interesting, Paul …

    http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2011.0298

    J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jun;18(6):541-50.

    The accuracy of the Zinc Taste Test method.

    BACKGROUND: Diminished taste acuity (hypogeusia) has been linked to zinc deficiency in humans and animals. This phenomenon has been exploited in the Zinc Taste Test (ZTT), a taste acuity test commonly employed by Australian naturopaths. However, its validity has not yet been firmly established.

    METHODS: A systematic search of several key databases was conducted. Only studies in which there were full reports of clinical trials comparing the ZTT to at least one other zinc test within the same sample population were included.

    RESULTS: Three (3) studies matched the criteria for inclusion. Study I compared the ZTT with sweat zinc in patients with food intolerance, reporting moderate correlation. Study II recruited pregnant women using the ZTT and serum zinc to assess zinc status, with above 70% congruence between the two tests at the start of the trial and 100% congruence at the end. Study III also recruited pregnant women at three stages during gestation, assessing ZTT and leukocyte zinc initially, later adding dietary zinc intake and at delivery cord blood zinc. No significant correlation was found between the results of these different methods; however, statistically significant differences in the ZTT responders (tasters and nontasters) were found for pregnancy outcomes.

    DISCUSSION: The methodology of the three studies is critically discussed. Although depletion of zinc leads to decreased taste acuity, it does not explain all cases of hypogeusia. Various other influences on taste perception are discussed in relation to the validity of the ZTT. Stringent exclusion criteria are therefore mandatory to increase specificity. Large variations from the original test design have been identified. The laboratory assays of zinc in these studies are also lacking sensitivity to accurately assess zinc status.

    CONCLUSIONS: To date, there are no tests that are both sensitive and specific that accurately assess marginal zinc status in humans. The ZTT, albeit widely used, does not fill this void, and further research is needed.

    Be well!

    JP

  11. JP Says:

    Update 04/21/15:

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2296/16/24

    BMC Fam Pract. 2015 Feb 25;16(1):24.

    The effectiveness of high dose zinc acetate lozenges on various common cold symptoms: a meta-analysis.

    BACKGROUND: A previous meta-analysis found that high dose zinc acetate lozenges reduced the duration of common colds by 42%, whereas low zinc doses had no effect. Lozenges are dissolved in the pharyngeal region, thus there might be some difference in the effect of zinc lozenges on the duration of respiratory symptoms in the pharyngeal region compared with the nasal region. The objective of this study was to determine whether zinc acetate lozenges have different effects on the duration of common cold symptoms originating from different anatomical regions.

    METHODS: We analyzed three randomized trials on zinc acetate lozenges for the common cold administering zinc in doses of 80-92 mg/day. All three trials reported the effect of zinc on seven respiratory symptoms, and three systemic symptoms. We pooled the effects of zinc lozenges for each symptom and calculated point estimates and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).

    RESULTS: Zinc acetate lozenges shortened the duration of nasal discharge by 34% (95% CI: 17% to 51%), nasal congestion by 37% (15% to 58%), sneezing by 22% (-1% to 45%), scratchy throat by 33% (8% to 59%), sore throat by 18% (-10% to 46%), hoarseness by 43% (3% to 83%), and cough by 46% (28% to 64%). Zinc lozenges shortened the duration of muscle ache by 54% (18% to 89%), but there was no difference in the duration of headache and fever.

    CONCLUSIONS: The effect of zinc acetate lozenges on cold symptoms may be associated with the local availability of zinc from the lozenges, with the levels being highest in the pharyngeal region. However our findings indicate that the effects of zinc ions are not limited to the pharyngeal region. There is no indication that the effect of zinc lozenges on nasal symptoms is less than the effect on the symptoms of the pharyngeal region, which is more exposed to released zinc ions. Given that the adverse effects of zinc in the three trials were minor, zinc acetate lozenges releasing zinc ions at doses of about 80 mg/day may be a useful treatment for the common cold, started within 24 hours, for a time period of less than two weeks.

    Be well!

    JP

  12. JP Says:

    Update 05/13/15:

    http://www.em-consulte.com/article/970202/alertePM

    Diabetes Metab. 2015 Apr 20. pii: S1262-3636(15)00052-X.

    Lower serum zinc levels are associated with unhealthy metabolic status in normal-weight adults: The 2010 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

    AIM: This study investigated whether serum zinc concentration is associated with glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and metabolic health status in Korean adults.

    METHODS: Subjects with available serum zinc levels were recruited from the fifth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANESV) cohort. Those in the highest quartile on homoeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and with a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5-25kg/m2 were classified as metabolically obese and normal weight (MONW).

    RESULTS: A total of 1813 subjects with a mean age of 45.2±0.5 years and a mean BMI of 24.01±0.11kg/m2 were enrolled. Those in the lower serum zinc quartiles exhibited higher levels of fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance indices compared with those in the higher quartiles. However, these associations were positive only in normal-weight subjects. Those categorized as MONW exhibited significantly lower serum zinc levels than the metabolically healthy and normal weight (MHNW) subjects (131.6±3.0μg/dL vs 141.7±2.8μg/dL, respectively; P=0.0026), whereas serum zinc levels did not differ according to metabolic health in obese subjects. The odds ratio for being categorized as MONW was 4.12 (95% CI: 1.75, 9.72) among those in the lowest serum zinc quartile compared with those in the highest quartile even after adjusting for possible confounding factors.

    CONCLUSION: Lower serum zinc levels were associated with unhealthy metabolic status in normal-weight adults. Further prospective studies are required to define the role of zinc in metabolic health.

    Be well!

    JP

  13. JP Says:

    Update 05/18/15:

    http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/1476830513Y.0000000105

    Nutritional Neuroscience – Volume 18, Issue 4

    Objective: Previous studies have shown a positive effect of zinc as an adjunctive therapy on reducing depressive symptoms. However, to our knowledge, no study has examined the effect of zinc monotherapy on mood. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of zinc monotherapy on depressive symptoms and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in overweight or obese subjects.

    Methods: Fifty overweight or obese subjects were randomly assigned into two groups and received either 30 mg zinc or placebo daily for 12 weeks. At baseline and post-intervention, depression severity was assessed using Beck depression inventory II (BDI II), and serum BDNF and zinc levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and atomic absorption spectrophotometry, respectively.

    Results: The trial was completed with 46 subjects. After a 12-week supplementation, serum zinc and BDNF levels increased significantly in the zinc-supplemented group compared with the placebo group. BDI scores declined in both the groups at the end of the study, but reduction in the zinc-supplemented group was significantly higher than the placebo group. More analysis revealed that following supplementation, BDI scores decreased in subgroup of subjects with depressive symptoms (BDI ≥ 10) (n = 30), but did not change in the subgroup of non-depressed subjects (BDI < 10) (n = 16). Moreover, a significant inverse correlation was observed between serum BDNF levels and depression severity in all participants. Interestingly, a significant positive correlation was found between serum BDNF and zinc levels at baseline.

    Conclusion: Zinc monotherapy improves mood in overweight or obese subjects most likely through increasing BDNF levels.

    Be well!

    JP

  14. JP Says:

    Updated 07/19/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4469681/

    PLoS One. 2015 Jun 16;10(6):e0130016.

    The Relationship between Zinc Status and Inflammatory Marker Levels in Rural Korean Adults Aged 40 and Older.

    BACKGROUND: Serum cytokines and C-reactive protein (CRP) are known as one of the major risk factors in atherosclerosis. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of zinc have been suggested, but few data are available on the relationship between zinc status and inflammatory markers in epidemiological studies.

    OBJECTIVE: The present study aims to investigate the cross-sectional relationships of serum cytokines and CRP with dietary zinc intake and serum zinc levels in healthy men and women aged 40 and older in rural areas of South Korea.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: A group of 1,055 subjects (404 men, 651 women) was included in dietary zinc analysis while another group of 695 subjects (263 men, 432 women) was included in serum zinc analysis. Serum IL-6, TNF-α, and CRP were measured as inflammatory markers.

    RESULTS: There was no significant inverse relationship between dietary zinc intake and inflammatory markers. We found a significant inverse relationship between serum zinc levels and all three inflammatory markers in women (P for trend = 0.0236 for IL-6; P for trend = 0.0017 for TNF-α; P for trend = 0.0301 for CRP) and between serum zinc levels and a single inflammatory marker (IL-6) in men (P for trend = 0.0191), although all R2 values by regression were less than 10%.

    CONCLUSION: In conclusion, serum zinc levels may be inversely related to inflammatory markers (IL-6, TNF-α, and CRP), particularly in women.

    Be well!

    JP

  15. JP Says:

    Updated 08/06/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26244049

    Nutr Metab (Lond). 2015 Aug 4;12:26.

    Effects of Zinc supplementation on serum lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

    Zinc is a mineral that plays a vital role in many biological processes and plays an important role in insulin action and carbohydrate metabolism. It may also have a protective role in the prevention of atherogenesis. Numerous studies have evaluated the effects of Zinc supplementation on serum lipids in humans and have demonstrated varying results. We systematically evaluated the literature and performed a meta-analysis on the effects of Zinc supplementation on serum lipids. A five staged comprehensive search of the literature was conducted in the following databases; PubMed, Web of Science and SciVerse Scopus for studies published before 31st December 2014. All controlled clinical trial in humans, that included a Zinc supplement intervention, either alone or in combination with other micronutrients and evaluated effects on serum lipids (total cholesterol [TC], triglycerides [TG], LDL cholesterol [LDL-c] and HDL cholesterol [HDL-c]). A meta-analysis of selected studies was performed using RevMan v5.3. The Jaded scale was used to assess the methodological quality of the trials included in the systematic review. A total of 24 studies were included in Meta analysis, which included a total of 33 Zinc interventions, in a total of 14,515 participants in the Zinc intervention or control group. The duration of Zinc supplementation ranged from 1 month to 7.5 years. The dose of elemental Zinc supplemented ranged from 15-240 mg/day. The pooled mean difference for TC between Zinc supplemented and placebo groups from random effects analysis was -10.92 mg/dl (95 % CI: -15.33, -6.52; p < 0.0001, I(2) = 83 %), while for HDL cholesterol it was 2.12 mg/dl (95 % CI: -0.74, 4.98; p = 0.15, I(2) = 83 %). The pooled mean difference for LDL-c between Zinc supplemented and placebo group from random effect analysis was -6.87 mg/dl (95 % CI: -11.16,-2.58; p < 0.001, I(2) = 31) and for TG it was -10.92 mg/dl (95 % CI: -18.56, – 3.28; p < 0.01, I(2) = 69 %). In conclusion, Zinc supplementation has favourable effects on plasma lipid parameters. Zinc supplementation significantly reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Therefore it may have the potential to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis related morbidity and mortality.

    Be well!

    JP

  16. JP Says:

    Updated 08/06/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26233572?dopt=Abstract

    J Diabetes Complications. 2015 Jul 4.

    Zinc supplementation and the effects on metabolic status in gestational diabetes: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

    OBJECTIVE: To the best of our knowledge, no reports are available indicating the effects of zinc supplementation on metabolic status in women with gestational diabetes (GDM). This study was designed to determine the effects of zinc supplementation on glucose homeostasis parameters and lipid concentrations in GDM women.

    METHODS: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed among 58 women diagnosed with GDM, primigravida and aged 18-40years old. Patients were randomly divided into two groups to receive 233mg zinc gluconate (containing 30mg zinc) supplements (n=29) or placebo (n=29) per day for 6weeks. Fasting blood samples were taken at the beginning and end of the trial to quantify glucose, insulin and lipid concentrations.

    RESULTS: Patients who received zinc supplements had significantly higher serum zinc concentrations (+6.9±13.2 vs. -1.5±16.5mg/dL, P=0.03) than those received the placebo. In addition, zinc-supplemented patients had reduced fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (-6.6±11.2 vs. +0.6±6.7mg/dL, P=0.005), serum insulin levels (-1.3±6.6 vs. +6.6±12.2μIU/mL, P=0.003), homeostasis model of assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (-0.5±1.6 vs. +1.5±2.7, P=0.001), homeostatic model assessment-Beta cell function (HOMA-B) (-0.7±25.0 vs. +26.5±49.5, P=0.01) and increased quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI) (+0.01±0.01 vs. -0.01±0.02, P=0.004) compared with the placebo. Additionally, significant differences in serum triglycerides (+13.6±61.4 vs. +45.9±36.5mg/dL, P=0.01) and VLDL-cholesterol concentrations (+2.7±12.3 vs. +9.2±7.3mg/dL, P=0.01) were observed following the administration of zinc supplements compared with the placebo.We did not observe any significant effects of taking zinc supplements on other lipid profiles.

    CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, 30mg zinc supplementation per day for 6weeks among GDM women had beneficial effects on metabolic profiles.

    Be well!

    JP

  17. JP Says:

    Updated 05/19/16:

    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ascp/tcp/2016/00000031/00000005/art00005?token=0054168c8a92a07b76504c48662a2544493e465f31512d386a332b25757d5c4f6d4e227acf9b83a7f03d

    Consult Pharm. 2016;31(5):267-70.

    Zinc and Taste Disturbances in Older Adults: A Review of the Literature.

    According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, 35% to 45% of adults 60 years of age or older had zinc intakes below the estimated average requirement of 6.8 mg/day for elderly females and 9.4 mg/day for elderly males. Zinc deficiency may lead to loss of appetite, impaired immune function, weight loss, delayed healing of wounds, eye and skin lesions, and smell and taste disturbances. Older adults are especially affected by changes in taste sensations because of age-related gustatory dysfunction, use of multiple medications, increased frailty, and zinc deficiency. This article reviews the finding of clinical studies investigating the use of zinc supplementation for improvement with taste disturbances in older adults.

    Be well!

    JP

  18. JP Says:

    Updated 08/16/16:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27524540

    J Pak Med Assoc. 2016 Aug;66(8):1019-1023.

    Zinc: A precious trace element for oral health care?

    This review will discuss the importance of Zinc in the maintenance of oral health. Zinc (Zn) is a trace element of valuable importance. In the oral cavity, it is naturally present at various sites such as dental plaque, dental hard tissues and saliva. It is proven to be effective against common prevalent oral health problems such as dental caries, gingivitis, periodontitis and malodour. It is being used in various oral health care products to control the formation of dental plaque and inhibiting the formation of dental calculus. It has the potential to sustain and maintain its elevated concentrations for a longer time particularly in the dental plaque and saliva on delivery from the mouth rinses and toothpastes. It has been reported that low concentrations of zinc have the capability to reduce dissolution and promote remineralization under caries simulating conditions. Most importantly low Zn2+ levels in the serum are useful as a tumour marker. Thus taking a note of its potentials, it can be concluded that zinc is a precious element for the maintenance of oral health.

    Be well!

    JP

  19. JP Says:

    Updated 01/09/17:

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12011-016-0917-7

    Biol Trace Elem Res. 2017 Jan 7.

    Association of Mood Disorders with Serum Zinc Concentrations in Adolescent Female Students.

    Among various factors influencing mood disorders, the impact of micronutrient deficiencies has attracted a great attention. Zinc deficiency is considered to play a crucial role in the onset and progression of mood disorders in different stages of life. The main objective of this study was to assess the correlation between serum zinc levels and mood disorders in high school female students. This cross-sectional study was conducted on a random sample of 100 representative high school female students. The participants completed 24-h food recall questionnaires to assess the daily zinc intakes. Serum zinc status was assessed using flame atomic absorption spectrometry, and zinc deficiency was defined accordingly. Mood disorders were estimated by calculating the sum of two test scores including Beck’s depression inventory (BDI) and hospital anxiety depression scale (HADS) tests. General linear model (GLM) and Pearson’s regression test were applied to show the correlation of serum zinc levels and mood disorder scores and the correlation between zinc serum levels and BDI scores, respectively. Dietary zinc intake was higher in subjects with normal zinc concentrations than that of zinc-deficient group (p = 0.001). Serum zinc levels were inversely correlated with BDI and HADS scores (p < 0.05). Each 10 μg/dL increment in serum zinc levels led to 0.3 and 0.01 decrease in depression and anxiety scores, respectively (p < 0.05). Serum zinc levels were inversely correlated with mood disorders including depression and anxiety in adolescent female students. Increasing serum levels of zinc in female students could improve their mood disorders.

    Be well!

    JP

  20. JP Says:

    Updated 05/24/17:

    http://www.clinicalnutritionespen.com/article/S2405-4577(15)00151-5/fulltext

    Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2016 Feb;11:e21-e25.

    Zinc sulfate taste acuity reflects dietary zinc intake in males.

    Gauging an individual’s response after they taste a solution of zinc sulfate has been proposed as a method of determining nutritional zinc deficiency, a so-called “zinc taste test.” Despite the lack of evidence regarding any relationship between dietary zinc intake and zinc sulfate taste acuity, clinicians continue to utilize zinc sulfate taste testing with their patients. Therefore, assessing the relationship between zinc sulfate taste acuity and dietary zinc intake is warranted. This report assessed 363 individuals (77 males, 286 females) for zinc sulfate taste acuity and dietary zinc intake. Zinc sulfate taste acuity was assessed by both the Bryce-Smith & Simpson zinc taste test (BSZTT) and the taste intensity visual analog scale (TIVAS). Dietary intake of zinc was assessed by a zinc-specific food frequency questionnaire (ZnFFQ). Zinc sulfate taste acuity, as measured by the TIVAS, was found to be significantly different between the sexes (U = 8766; p = 0.013). Males averaged a TIVAS score of 21.58 ± 2.52 (Mean ± SEM) whereas females had a TIVAS score averaging 31.49 ± 1.67. No correlations were found between female zinc sulfate taste perception and dietary zinc intake as measured by both the BSZTT (rs = 0.014; p = 0.816) and the TIVAS (rs = 0.025; p = 0.679). Similarly, male zinc intake was not correlated with BSZTT scores (rs = 0.199; p = 0.099). However, zinc sulfate taste acuity, measured by the TIVAS, was significantly correlated with dietary zinc intake in the male population (rs = 0.237; p = 0.048). These findings suggest that zinc sulfate taste acuity measurement may aid in the assessment of zinc nutriture among males.

    Be well!

    JP

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