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Zinc plays an important role in the proper functioning of the body's immune system. Several studies have shown that zinc lozenges shorten the duration of cold symptoms in adults. Zinc is required for a number of activities related to cell reproduction and wound healing. It has also been linked to improvements in one's senses of smell and taste, and is involved in the body's ability to metabolize carbohydrates for energy consumption.
The Consequences of Zinc Deficiency
Dynamic Chiropractic ~ July 15, 2013
A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry  underscores the importance of zinc supplementation, especially as we get older, as an important means to help prevent cancer, support immune function, and control inflammation associated with many health problems, including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease and diabetes.
New Zinc Research Reveals More Applications
Zinc is one of the nutrients most essential to health. In the last year, research has brought further understanding of zinc's critical role in immune system health. Zinc is now understood to maintain proper functioning of the epithelial cells lining the intestines and blood vessels. In addition, some studies have yielded intriguing results suggesting that zinc may protect against atherosclerosis and diabetes, as well as opportunistic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, and even the common cold.
Zinc Halts Colds
Zinc lozenges have been used to treat the common cold for a number of years, but research results on their effectiveness have been contradictory. Now, a comprehensive, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted by Ananda Prasad, M.D., Ph.D., of Wayne State University in Detroit has shown that zinc lozenges work.
Zinc, Not Iron, May Be the Answer to Anemia
Anemia, or low red blood cell count, is one of the most common medical conditions among pregnant women and almost inevitably secures a woman a megadose iron prescription. But zinc and iron are both required to build red blood cells (RBC), and deficiencies often occur concurrently. Now a Japanese study shows that supplementing with both minerals is more effective than either alone and that some prenatal anemia is due to a deficiency of zinc, not iron.
Increased Inflammatory Response in Aged Mice Is Associated With Age-related
Zinc Deficiency and Zinc Transporter Dysregulation
J Nutr Biochem. 2013 (Jan); 24 (1): 353–359 ~ FULL TEXT
Aging is a complex process associated with physiological changes in numerous organ systems. In particular, aging of the immune system is characterized by progressive dysregulation of immune responses, resulting in increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, impaired vaccination efficacy and systemic low-grade chronic inflammation. Increasing evidence suggest that intracellular zinc homeostasis, regulated by zinc transporter expression, is critically involved in the signaling and activation of immune cells. We hypothesize that epigenetic alterations and nutritional deficits associated with aging may lead to zinc transporter dysregulation, resulting in decreases in cellular zinc levels and enhanced inflammation with age. The goal of this study was to examine the contribution of age-related zinc deficiency and zinc transporter dysregulation on the inflammatory response in immune cells. The effects of zinc deficiency and age on the induction of inflammatory responses were determined using an in vitro cell culture system and an aged mouse model. We showed that zinc deficiency, particularly the reduction in intracellular zinc in immune cells, was associated with increased inflammation with age. Furthermore, reduced Zip 6 expression enhanced proinflammatory response, and age-specific Zip 6 dysregulation correlated with an increase in Zip 6 promoter methylation. Furthermore, restoring zinc status via dietary supplementation reduced aged-associated inflammation. Our data suggested that age-related epigenetic dysregulation in zinc transporter expression may influence cellular zinc levels and contribute to increased susceptibility to inflammation with age.
Zinc Intake From Supplements and Diet and Prostate Cancer
Nutrition and Cancer 2009; 61 (2): 206–215
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington evaluated the association between dietary and supplemental zinc and prostate cancer in 35,242 men participating in the VITAL cohort, a study specifically designed to evaluate the impact of dietary supplements on cancer risk. In this study, long-term supplemental zinc intake was associated with reduced risk of clinically relevant advanced disease.
Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Growth and Body Composition
in Children with Sickle Cell Disease
Amer J Clin Nutrit 2002 (Feb); 75 (2): 300–307
Thirty-eight children completed the study. No significant differences were observed at baseline. After 12 mo, the zinc group had significantly greater mean (±SE) increases in height (0.66 ± 0.29 cm/y), sitting height (0.97 ± 0.40 cm/y), knee height (3.8 ± 1.2 mm/y), and arm circumference z scores (0.27 ± 0.12 cm/y). Height-for-age and weight-for-age z scores decreased significantly by 0.11 ± 0.04 and 0.13 ± 0.05, respectively, in the control group but did not change significantly in the zinc group.
Nutrients and HIV Part II: Vitamins A and E, Zinc, B-Vitamins, and Magnesium
Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Feb); 5 (1): 39–51 – FULL TEXT
Vitamin A deficiency is a common occurrence in HIV infection, and serum levels appear to decrease as the disease progresses. (1) Low serum levels of vitamin A were found in 12-19 percent of HIV-positive, asymptomatic subjects in the United States. (1,2) Vitamin A deficiency was found in an increasingly higher proportion of women than men (p< .01) in an HIV-infected, intravenous drug-using population. (3)
Immune and Nutritional Recovery of Severely Malnourished Children
Cahiers Sante 1996; 6 (4): 201–208
Children receiving zinc attained immunological recovery within one month, whereas children not receiving zinc took two months. Thus zinc hastened immunological recovery concomitant with nutritional recovery such that the duration of hospitalization could be halved: after one month of this immuno-nutritional treatment, malnourished children appear to be sufficiently healthy to face their pathogenic home environment.
The Biological Significance of Zinc
Anaesthesist 1975 (Aug); 24 (8): 329–342
Zinc takes part in the catalytic function of many metalloenzymes. In others it plays a role in conformational stability. In zinc deficient animals protein synthesis is disturbed. Conversely zinc metabolism is influenced by protein deficiency. Zinc takes part in drug metabolism, in mobilizing vitamin A from the liver, and in a system defending the organism against free radical damage. Zinc distribution in the organism is influenced by steroid hormones and leucocytic endogenous mediators.
Effect of Zinc Supplementation in Fracture Healing
Anaesthesist 1975 (Aug); 24 (8): 329–342
After roentgenological, macroscopic and histological examination of healing of fractures of weekly intervals, it was concluded that the Zinc supplementation to an appreciable extent enhanced the process of bone healing which could be further hastened by addition of Vitamin C and Dianabol. No significant toxic or side effect of zinc supplementation was observed in any of the rabbits.
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