Consequences of zinc deficiency

July 10, 2013 by
Filed under: Research, Spinewave Bulletin 

zincZinc is arguably the most important trace mineral.

To date, researchers have found more than 200 enzymes (molecules that make the body work) which are zinc dependent in all major biochemical pathways in the human body. That’s more than all the other mineral dependent enzymes in the body combined.

Zinc is vital for the growth and repair of all tissues, the activity of many hormones, and for a healthy immune system. Signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency may include:

Poor immune function, poor appetite, poor sense of taste and smell, skin problems, low sex drive, infertility, behavioural and emotional problems.

A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry underscores the importance of zinc supplementation, especially as we get older, as means to help prevent cancer, support immune function, and control inflammation associated with many health problems, including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease and diabetes.

The latest study suggests that zinc deficiency leads to systemic inflammation.

Immune cells are particularly vulnerable to zinc deficiencies because intracellular zinc homeostasis (balance), regulated by zinc transporter expression, is critically involved in the signaling and activation of immune cells. Zinc is essential to protect against oxidative stress and help repair DNA damage.

Based on findings with laboratory animals, the researchers found that the mechanisms to transport zinc are disrupted by age-related epigenetic changes, which can cause an increase in DNA methylation and histone modifications related to cancer development. More specifically, 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.

How do I know if I need zinc?

zinc-drinkA specially formulated “zinc taste test” reacts with zinc-dependent enzymes in the taste buds of the tongue to demonstrate functional zinc status of the body. When zinc levels are low, the formula will taste like water, and you know you require zinc supplementation. Pip can perform this check in the office in under a minute.

Stress, poor diet or infection can drain the body of zinc very quickly. If you are currently undergoing a relatively high degree of stress, or are unwell, it is advisable to take the zinc taste test.

Unfortunately, when you are zinc deficient, the digestive system struggles to absorb zinc efficiently through tablets. So we recommend the more “bioavailable” zinc drink which is more readily absorbed by the body. Ask Pip for the Zinc Drink.

Reference: Increased inflammatory response in aged mice is associated with age-related zinc deficiency and zinc transporter dysregulation. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2012.07.005

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