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:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... alumni Hannah Randall, PharmD ‘17, and Jennifer Huggins, PharmD ’17, along with ... for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases during the 15th Annual Women’s ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills ... specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise ... offered by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Talented host, actor Rob Lowe, is introducing a segment ... of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational program broadcasted on PBS Member ... with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve in the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... First Healthcare Compliance ... management, will showcase a range of technology and learning solutions at the 68th ... and Expo to be held October 14–18, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Resort ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ... products, announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. ... so you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/28/2017)... Sept. 28, 2017 Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ... conference call and webcast on Friday, November 3, 2017, ... and ending at approximately 8:30 a.m. (CDT) / 9:30 ... company,s 2017 financial performance and guidance for 2018, Hill-Rom ... to enhance operational performance, and long-range financial outlook through ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... --  Montrium , an industry leader in powerful ... Trial Master Files & Inspection Readiness Conference ( ... Services has selected eTMF Connect to ... a leading European contract research organization (CRO), will ... enable greater collaboration with sponsors, improve compliance and ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... Sept. 22, 2017 AVACEN Medical (AVACEN) announced ... now successfully helping those with the widespread pain associated ... diagnosed Amanda in Essex, England ... my hair, experiencing no sleep at all, tremendous pain, ... I cannot recommend [the AVACEN 100] enough, how this ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: