• The Body’s Crying Demand For Zinc
With Advancing Age

    Posted April 27, 2018: by Bill Sardi

    & Why You Will Not Likely Ever Get Enough Zinc Out Of Your Multivitamin

    There has never been such an increased demand for a single nutrient a there is for the trace mineral zinc with advancing age.  That is because more and more Americans are living longer but also in states of chronic inflammation and disease associated with poor zinc nutriture.

    Researchers at the National Institute of Health & Science on Aging in Italy report that the common age-related increase in inflammation throughout the body, a phenomenon called inflammaging, results in an increase in copper over zinc in tissues, which adversely affects zinc/copper balance.

    During childhood growth and the young adult reproductive years, more copper may be needed than zinc, write these researchers in a recent issue of Mechanisms of Ageing and Development.  More copper is required to produce connective tissue (collagen) but with advancing age zinc needs to dominate over copper to maintain important functions of the immune systems.

    In other words, during the reproductive years copper is in greater demand to facilitate “growth and reproduction,” while in the later years of life zinc is in greater demand to facilitate “repair and maintenance,” say these researchers.

    One major aspect of immunity is to maintain function of the thymus gland that produces active T-cells (thymus cells), necessary to develop memory antibodies against new incoming biological threats (bacteria, viruses).  Zinc is required for proper thymus gland function and competition by provision of excess copper may be counterproductive and result in a shrinking thymus gland.

    One explanation for decreased zinc levels in blood plasma with advancing age is that chronic inflammation induces zinc to be bound up with its storage protein (metallothionein) rendering it non-bioavailable.

    A shortage of zinc is associated with low blood albumin levels, a well known indicator of impending death.   In fact about 75-95% of zinc in the blood circulation is bound to albumin.

    Metabolic disease is characterized by insulin resistance (less insulin gets into cells to produce energy) and therefore higher blood insulin blood counts can reduce zinc levels.

    Moreover, these same researchers in an earlier report that older adults with a relatively high copper over zinc ratio in the body incur a doubling of their risk for death.  Therefore, the copper/zinc ratio is a predictor of mortality.

    Furthermore, senior adults are more likely to exhibit chronic inflammation that is associated with poor zinc status.  Indeed, other reports also raise an alert to the fact the elderly are more susceptible to zinc deficiency.  A shortage of zinc and chronic inflammation go hand-in-hand.  Senior adults, in particular women, are more likely to have a high copper-to-zinc blood plasma level.

    The eminent authority on zinc and nutrition, Ananda S Prasad, says 45 milligrams of zinc can be taken safely without side effect.  Most multivitamins provide the Daily Value for zinc (~15 milligrams) but less than 20% is likely to be absorbed and even if absorbed may end up being bound to its transport protein (metallothionein) and be rendered useless biologically.

    The common use of zinc oxide, an insoluble zinc salt, in multivitamins further exacerbates the problem.  The co-provision of vitamin B6 to improve zinc absorption to over 60-70% and the trace mineral selenium to release zinc from its binding protein, suggests the best format for senior adults to acquire zinc is a multivitamin.

    The human body has ~200 milligrams of stored copper.  Copper should be acquired from the diet.

    The MOLECULAR MULTI is the only multivitamin to provide a full 30 milligrams of zinc citrate + important co-factors vitamin B6 and selenium. 

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