Zinc supplementation decreases incidence of infections in the elderly

Zinc supplementation decreases incidence of infections in the elderly: effect of zinc on generation of cytokines and oxidative stress

Background: Zinc deficiency, cell-mediated immune dysfunction, susceptibility to infections, and increased oxidative stress have been observed in elderly subjects (ie, those >55 y old). Zinc is an effective antiinflammatory and antioxidant agent.

Objectives: The primary objective was to determine the effect of zinc on the incidence of total infections in healthy elderly subjects. The secondary objective was to determine the effect of zinc on cytokines and oxidative stress markers.

Design: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of zinc supplementation was conducted in elderly subjects. Fifty healthy subjects of both sexes aged 55–87 y and inclusive of all ethnic groups were recruited for this study from a senior center. The zinc-supplemented group received zinc gluconate (45 mg elemental Zn/d) orally for 12 mo. Incidence of infections during the supplementation period was documented. The generation of inflammatory cytokines, T helper 1 and T helper 2 cytokines, and oxidative stress markers and the plasma concentrations of zinc were measured at baseline and after supplementation.

Results: Compared with a group of younger adults, at baseline the older subjects had significantly lower plasma zinc, higher ex vivo generation of inflammatory cytokines and interleukin 10, and higher plasma oxidative stress markers and endothelial cell adhesion molecules. The incidence of infections and ex vivo generation of tumor necrosis factor α and plasma oxidative stress markers were significantly lower in the zinc-supplemented than in the placebo group. Plasma zinc and phytohemagglutin-induced interleukin 2 mRNA in isolated mononuclear cells were significantly higher in the zinc-supplemented than in the placebo group.

Conclusions: After zinc supplementation, the incidence of infections was significantly lower, plasma zinc was significantly higher, and generation of tumor necrosis factor α and oxidative stress markers was significantly lower in the zinc-supplemented than in the placebo group.

If you read the full paper, you find this:

In the zinc-supplemented group, the total incidence of infections was 7 (2 from January through March, 0 from April through June, 3 from July through September, and 2 from October through December). In the placebo group, the total incidence of infections was 35 (8 from January through March, 11 from April through June, 7 from July through September, and 9 from October through December).

The zinc-supplemented group had only 20% of the incidence of infections of the placebo group, a huge difference.

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5 comments
AboutLiftinf says February 28, 2018

mate, what can you say about zinc sulfate. I have to say I was quite impressed.. I was buying some Sodium Ascorbate caps recently since I was taking supplementation seriously now as I am developin skin infections proly due to.my inate asthmatic skin and stress levels due to working at night. So that’s when I saw I remembered your recommendations on zinc so I checked this syrup has 29.92mg of Zinc Sulfate Heptahydrate (equivalent to 6.8mg of elemental zinc) per tablespoon. So now I take 3 tablespoons a day. Is that too much? is the dosage quite right? or is it just so weak on that form.
cheers!

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says March 1, 2018

    That doesn’t sound like too much. The upper daily limit is 15 mg if I recall, so your dose is just a bit over that. In some studies, people have taken 50 mg for a long period without ill effects.

    Reply
      Aboutlifting says March 6, 2018

      Indeed, I see.. So I am in reality taking approx 20.4/day. I see doubling that would be a great idea indeed, is it not?And in fact this syrup is quite cheap anyway. You, personally, mate:…how much elemental zinc do you take per day? (for longevity and testosterone boost)

      Reply
        P. D. Mangan says March 6, 2018

        I don’t take zinc daily, but in the past I’ve taken 25 mg just a couple times a week, as insurance. I figure with my whole food diet with plenty of meat and eggs, I likely get plenty of zinc.

        Reply
          Aboutlifting says March 6, 2018

          thanks, mate!! Alright then..I guess the amount would be sufficient.

          Reply
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