Skip to comments.Zinc deficiency mechanism linked to aging, multiple diseases
Posted on 10/12/2012 4:34:27 PM PDT by neverdem
A new study has outlined for the first time a biological mechanism by which zinc deficiency can develop with age, leading to a decline of the immune system and increased inflammation associated with many health problems, including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease and diabetes.
The research was done by scientists in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University and the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences. It suggests that it's especially important for elderly people to get adequate dietary intake of zinc, since they may need more of it at this life stage when their ability to absorb it is declining.
About 40 percent of elderly Americans and as many as two billion people around the world have diets that are deficient in this important, but often underappreciated micronutrient, experts say.
The study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, based on findings with laboratory animals. It found that zinc transporters were significantly dysregulated in old animals. They showed signs of zinc deficiency and had an enhanced inflammatory response even though their diet supposedly contained adequate amounts of zinc.
When the animals were given about 10 times their dietary requirement for zinc, the biomarkers of inflammation were restored to those of young animals.
"The elderly are the fastest growing population in the U.S. and are highly vulnerable to zinc deficiency," said Emily Ho, an LPI principal investigator. "They don't consume enough of this nutrient and don't absorb it very well."
"We've previously shown in both animal and human studies that zinc deficiency can cause DNA damage, and this new work shows how it can help lead to systemic inflammation," Ho said.
"Some inflammation is normal, a part of immune defense, wound healing and other functions," she said. "But in excess, it's been associated with almost every degenerative disease you can think of, including cancer and heart disease. It appears to be a significant factor in the diseases that most people die from."
As a result of this and what is now know about zinc absorption in the elderly, Ho said that she would recommend all senior citizens take a dietary supplement that includes the full RDA for zinc, which is 11 milligrams a day for men and 8 milligrams for women. Zinc can be obtained in the diet from seafood and meats, but it's more difficult to absorb from grains and vegetables a particular concern for vegetarians.
"We found that the mechanisms to transport zinc are disrupted by age-related epigenetic changes," said Carmen Wong, an OSU research associate and co-author of this study. "This can cause an increase in DNA methylation and histone modifications that are related to disease processes, especially cancer. Immune system cells are also particularly vulnerable to zinc deficiency."
Research at OSU and elsewhere has shown that zinc is essential to protect against oxidative stress and help repair DNA damage. In zinc deficiency, the risk of which has been shown to increase with age, the body's ability to repair genetic damage may be decreasing even as the amount of damage is going up.
Medical tests to determine zinc deficiency are rarely done, scientists say, and are not particularly accurate even if they are done. The best approach is to assure adequate intake of the nutrient through diet or supplements, they said, especially in the elderly.
Even though elderly people have less success in absorbing zinc, the official RDA for them is the same as in younger adults. That issue should be examined more closely, Ho said.
Levels of zinc intake above 40 milligrams per day should be avoided, researchers said, because at very high levels they can interfere with absorption of other necessary nutrients, including iron and copper. Source : Oregon State University
Zinc supplementation is also important for males who weight lift regularly. ZMA is a good one, as it has magnesium too.
This article makes me want to go to GNC and buy some more vitamins.
With all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about diabetes, I was hoping against hope that it could stay test sidebar of News/Activism. Sure enough, when I check, it's in chat. I don't chat. If I find news, I try to spread it.
Ha, me too. If you have a Vitamin Shoppe, go there instead. The pricing is far better.
I zinc I’ll take my minerals before bed. Thanks neverdem.
Zinc is an element, aka a mineral.
Saw my doctor this morning in part because I get leg cramps at night and he said, besides the potassium I take I should take some calcium and magnesium. The pills I bought also contain zinc so I hope that helps as well.
Would you please add me to your list? I am always interested in any new findings with respect to nutrition and prevention/treatment of disease.
With Obama care staring me in the face and the scaling back of Medicare looking over Obama Care’s shoulder, I figure staying healthy with food, herbs, supplements etc. is my only chance to see my grandkids graduate.
GNC,got lots of disposable income do ya?
Better add me too please.
Ok. Dietary supplements. :-)
add me to the list please....I do a lot of research on magnesium and iodine as well and may be able to contribute
it’s best to buy supps on line and the sites to go to are swansonsvitamins.com and iherb.com. I used to buy tons from vitacost but they dissed Rushy.
No, my wife spends all my money. I am just a beast of burden who occasionally gets the biggest piece of chicken at the dinner table.
be sure you didn’t buy mag oxide. If you did, throw it out it won’t absorb. Buy mag glycinate or malate. You probably do not need to take calcium and should take 600-800 mg of mag. Your leg cramps will go away w/ mag.
"As a result of this and what is now know about zinc absorption in the elderly, Ho said that she would recommend all senior citizens take a dietary supplement that includes the full RDA for zinc, which is 11 milligrams a day for men and 8 milligrams for women."
Zicam works...... very well
I only have cash.
A goodly portion of inflammation can be eliminated by simply grounding ones self. Walk barefoot in the grass. It’ll do wonders for inflammation. Check out “Earthing”. It sounds hippy dippy but the science is sound.
A bunch of twists and turns to this one.
To start with, not all zinc supplements are equal. While most are readily absorbed, “(blood) Plasma zinc has a rapid turnover rate and it represents only about 0.l percent of total body zinc content. This level appears to be under close homeostatic control.”
So zinc goes in, and zinc goes out. But there is a problem that a lot of tissues do not readily absorb most varieties of zinc. So most of the zinc supplement is lost before it can be absorbed by these tissues.
However, some forms of zinc, like zinc gluconate (found in
Cold-Eeze lozenges), and zinc aceticum and zinc gluconimum (Found in Zicam lozenges and spray) *are* readily uptaken by these tissues. In that case, zinc is known to inhibit viral reproduction, so these medicines can legally say that they “lessen duration and severity of the common cold” (though they might against influenza, they wouldn’t dare say so.)
But the point is both they get in your tissues quicker and stay there longer than zinc supplements in your blood.
“Zinc is an essential component of a large number (>300) of enzymes participating in the synthesis and degradation of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids as well as in the metabolism of other micronutrients.
“Zinc stabilises the molecular structure of cellular components and membranes and contributes in this way to the maintenance of cell and organ integrity. Furthermore, zinc has an essential role in polynucleotide transcription and thus in the process of genetic expression.”
Zinc works best in the body when there are sufficient amounts of vitamin A, calcium and phosphorus. If you increase your zinc levels, you should also increase your vitamin A and B6 levels (and vice versa).
Interestingly, zinc helps to decrease cholesterol deposits, so over time is good for the blood vessels, liver, and pancreas.
I found that ZERO Water(TM,coke product) helped me eliminate those excruciating cramps.I discovered it one time in the midst of an episode and downed a bottle and the cramp subsided after a minute or so.I try to drink some before crashing and keep it bed side and it has rescued me on numerous occasions.
Check out the ingredients when you go to the store
“This article makes me want to go to GNC and buy some more vitamins.”
You’d be better served buying minerals. Magnesium, Selenium, iodine, and zinc. Check out fulvic acid.
ahhh....then vitamin shoppe is a good choice.
Thanks for the info though. I really need to get a credit card for emergency use.
there are really only 2 forms of iodine worth taking: Lugol’s (liquid) and Iodoral (pill form) due to the ratio of iodine to iodide and the fact that you get a high enough dose. They both dose in mg’s not mcg’s.
Where do you buy your fulvic acid?
Add me to your ping, please.
Zinc is great if you battle sinus or any infections.
Like a Salamander?
Hi neverdem, I used to be on your ping list but haven’t been getting them. Can you check and add me?
My 16 ..year old was experiencing migraines (M).
Guess what fixed him... not the Neurologist with his stupid drugs...
Good ole Mom giving him Zinc, copper and Magnesium!
Centrum Silver for women has 15 mg zinc at 100% dv.
plus much more. Should be enough for most women.
I will make a better effort to remember to take mine from now on.
2) Living in MN wont' help with this as frostbite of the feet becomes an issue (bare feet at -10o F don't do so well)
Interesting about vegan and meat eaters.
My meals do not fit around meat but I’m not a vegan either.
Wonder if not taking my zinc plus has anything to do with hair loss.
Def. going to take ‘em every day now. Along with all those other damn pills.
There’s a reason Zicam and Cold-Eeze work. I take a couple of Zicams each week whether I am sick or not.
That sounds as crazy as sunshine giving you vitamin D.
thanks so much for the post. :-D
Eat a spoon of mustard before bedtime.
Thanks for posting.
Here’s some additional, interesting info on zinc as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease:
“A relatively old study allows finding indication of the
potential benefit of a zinc therapy in AD [Alzheimer’s Disease], even though its design raised many concerns... Constantinidis (1992)... started an original study using zinc compounds for the treatment of AD. Ten patients were treated, all of them receiving 50 mg of oral Zinc bis-(DLhydrogenaspartate) TID (three times daily). Improvement of memory, understanding, communication, and social contact were evident in eight patients. In one patient, aged 79, relatively less demented and who received both oral and intravenous ZINC ASPARTATE, the improvement of memory was qualified as ‘unbelievable both by the medical staff and the family.’ The discontinuation of the treatment decreased and even reversed the improvement, in all patients. However, the small size of the patients sample, the design of the study neither blind nor placebo-controlled, makes these results at least concerning. Even though those conclusions have to be taken very cautiously, it seems surprising that nobody tried to replicate them in larger samples and using proper study design.”
Alzheimer’s memory loss linked to zinc
Copper excess, zinc deficiency, and cognition loss in Alzheimer’s disease
Issues Raised Involving the Copper Hypotheses in the Causation of Alzheimer’s Disease
Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease by Zinc Compounds
Does Zinc Help the Brain With Memory? http://www.livestrong.com/article/390781-does-zinc-help-the-brain-with-memory/
Pauling got it wrong about massive doses of vitamin C. Why should we trust him with zinc?
Doctor can we chat?
Neither list was specified so I added you to my health and science ping list.
They also get pinged for noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO. Here’s an example:
Some topics go there, e.g. Obamacare, global warming, ocean acidification, etc.
That’s the one I try to make sure my wife and mom take
I take CS for men,they seem to work well for us
Expensive,but we’re worth as the old commercial went
You can OD on zinc to where you get nausea. Inspecting zinc lined ballast tanks made myself and my crew sick. An old welders trick of drinking milk quickly cured us.
I now get my zinc from home grown pumpkin seeds. I can tell the difference when I don’t get enough.