Navigation Links
Scientists Explore How Zinc Fights Off Infection
Date:2/7/2013

THURSDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans take zinc supplements to zap colds, and a new study seeks to explain how the mineral works.

Zinc helps fight infections by balancing the immune system's response, according to the study led by Daren Knoell, a professor of pharmacy and internal medicine at Ohio State University.

"We believe that our findings help to narrow an important gap that has existed in our understanding of how this relatively simple metal helps us defend ourselves from infection," Knoell said in a university news release.

Zinc deficiency affects about 2 billion people worldwide, including roughly 40 percent of the elderly in the United States. It can have severe consequences among vulnerable people, the researchers noted.

Red meat and poultry are rich in zinc, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Other foods that contain zinc are beans, nuts, some shellfish, whole grains, fortified cereals and dairy products.

The essential mineral works by stopping the action of a protein known to play an important role in the immune response to infection. As a result, it prevents out-of-control inflammation, the researchers said.

A zinc deficiency at the time of an infection, particularly sepsis -- a devastating systemic response to infection common among patients in a hospital's intensive care unit, or ICU -- could be damaging or even deadly, according to the researchers.

"We do believe that to some extent, these findings are going to be applicable to other important areas of disease beyond sepsis," Knoell said. "Without zinc on board to begin with, it could increase vulnerability to infection. But our work is focused on what happens once you get an infection -- if you are deficient in zinc you are at a disadvantage because your defense system is amplified, and inappropriately so."

After analyzing human cell culture and animal studies, the researchers found that a specific protein draws zinc into infection-fighting cells where it balances the immune response. In a previous animal study, Knoell's team found that unlike mice on a normal diet, those deficient in zinc developed significant inflammation in response to sepsis.

However, it's uncertain for now if very sick ICU patients would benefit from zinc supplements.

"I think the question is whom to give zinc to, if anybody at all. We predict that not everybody in the ICU with sepsis needs zinc, but I anticipate that a proportion of them would," added Knoell, also an investigator in Ohio State's Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute. "Zinc is a critical element that we get from our diet, but we do not think we can give zinc and fix everything. Usually, if there is zinc deficiency, we would expect to see other nutrient deficiencies, too."

Their findings could help explain why taking zinc supplements at the start of a cold seems to ease the effects of the illness, the researchers suggest.

"There might be therapeutic implications about giving supplemental zinc in a strategic manner to help improve some people with certain conditions. But also, could we learn from this so someday we can be more diagnostic about who it is that needs zinc? And if so, what dose and for how long?" Knoell said.

Most adults should get 8 milligrams to 11 milligrams of zinc daily. With supplements, the researchers noted it is possible but relatively uncommon to consume toxic levels of zinc.

The study appeared Feb. 7 in the journal Cell Reports.

More information

The U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements has more about zinc.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, Feb. 7, 2013


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Compound developed by scientists protects heart cells during and after attack
2. Scientists discover how chromosomes keep their loose ends loose
3. Meeting: Scientists to explore 60 topical issues related to human health and the environment
4. Scientists debate CDC recommendations during meningitis outbreak
5. Scientists discover protein that allows safe recycling of iron from old red blood cells
6. MU scientists build harness for powerful radiation cancer therapy
7. Monell scientists identify elusive taste stem cells
8. American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) Releases Nation's First Standard for Mitigating Radon (Radioactivity) in Multifamily Buildings
9. Scientists Find Clue to Aging Reversal in Mice
10. Leading researchers warn of brain drain as scientists struggle to find funding
11. UNC scientists unveil a superbugs secret to antibiotic resistance
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists Explore How Zinc Fights Off Infection
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Many women ... diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to not only alleviate ... that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving a pregnancy. The ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn ... to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization ... selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users can easily customize ... Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 hand-drawn pictures into ... Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or text in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar ... M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal ... complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department ... in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at ... Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic Chemical), Functionality ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their ... global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to reach USD ... in the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LOS ANGELES , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... (NASDAQ: CAPR ), a biotechnology company ... first-in-class therapeutics, today announced that patient enrollment in ... progrEssion in Duchenne) has exceeded 50% of its ... its enrollment in the third quarter of 2016, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... and INDIANAPOLIS , June ... receiving a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any ... scholarship winners, announced today online at www.diabetesscholars.org ... type 1 diabetes stand in the way of academic ... supported the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, and continues ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: