Zinc is important in bone health and immune function

Published on May 25, 2012 by

Zinc is important in bone metabolism, including alveolar bone, and is vital for wound healing, immune function, cell division and general growth of all tissues. Zinc is a natural enemy of bacteria; it inhibits the release of certain enzymes and histamine that cause inflammation. Zinc is a known immune stimulant. Zinc deficiency in humans is widespread. Experimental and clinical studies indicate that zinc deficiency can predispose individuals to glucose intolerance, diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease. Zinc deficiency also leads to hypogeusia in humans and rats. Symptoms of diminished taste can be reversed by administration of zinc. Human and animal studies report inverse relationships between low dietary zinc and intake of low nutrient-dense foods and patterns of food selection. Zinc deficiency is known to result in increased oxidative stress in tissues. High tissue levels of reactive oxygen species may promote progression of periodontal disease. The antioxidant effects of zinc include suppression of nitric oxide production, which is a known factor in the initiation of periodontal inflammation. The body does not store zinc and a constant dietary intake is required. Normal adult humans absorb approximately 3-4 mg of zinc/day from diet and excrete a similar amount . Zinc is also essential for fibroblasts. With zinc deficiency, fibroblast proliferation and collagen synthesis are impaired and wound healing is delayed . Periodontal disease is characterized by excessive host collagenase resulting in loss of gingival and periodontal ligament collagen and adjacent alveolar bone. Zinc is also a cofactor in many enzyme systems, some of which have been implicated in periodontal tissue destruction, mostly the collagens and gelatins.

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