Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Enhance your parents/grandparents lives - purchase them some zinc supplements

We all love our elders and want them to live healthy for as long as possible. There are a number of issues with elderly diets. Firstly as there food intake is low they are at risk for sub optimal nutrition. Then there are the issues of spreading a low income over a range of activities resulting in less income for healthy foods through to lack of  appetite etc. supplementation is something that can help elderly keep in good health.

Studies looked at zinc supplementation (I would recommend a multi, not just a zinc supplement).

Study one gave elderly 45 mg/day (quite a high dose) for 12 months. Compared to the placebo group the zinc group:
the incidence of infections was significantly lower
Another study with 20 mg of zinc per day for 2 years concludes:
Low-dose supplementation of zinc and selenium provides significant improvement in elderly patients by increasing the humoral response after vaccination and could have considerable public health importance by reducing morbidity from respiratory tract infections
The next study was a "1-y randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled vitamin E supplementation trial; all were given daily doses of 50% of the recommended dietary allowance of essential vitamins and "minerals, including zinc." This equates to 7.5 mg of zinc per day. They measured zinc levels in the blood before and after the study. Those who had healthy zinc levels (>70µg/dL) :
in nursing home elderly are associated with a decreased incidence and duration of pneumonia, a decreased number of new antibiotic prescriptions, and a decrease in the days of antibiotic use. Zinc supplementation to maintain normal serum zinc concentrations in the elderly may help reduce the incidence of pneumonia and associated morbidity
Yet another study with healthy elderly supplemented 45mg/day for 6 months. What they found was a decrease in a bunch of inflammatory markers when compared to the placebo group. Because heart disease is a inflammatory disease they concluded with:
These findings suggest that zinc may have a protective effect in atherosclerosis because of its antiinflammatory and antioxidant functions
I could go on. This is not a comprehensive review of zinc supplementation and elderly. How many paper and studies will it take for people to determine that zinc supplementation preferable via multi mineral (and vitamin) supplement is a good thing. When will the medical profession start to acknowledge that zinc (and other) supplementation is a key part of looking after our elderly. 

You can to take control of your own life, and the lives around you because no one else cares as much about your family as you!

Ananda S Prasad et al  Zinc supplementation decreases incidence of infections in the elderly: effect of zinc on generation of cytokines and oxidative stress. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 85, No. 3, 837-844, March 2007  
François Girodon Impact of Trace Elements and Vitamin Supplementation on Immunity and Infections in Institutionalized Elderly Patients
Arch Intern Med. 1999;159:748-754
Simin N Meydani, Junaidah B Barnett, et al Serum zinc and pneumonia in nursing home elderly. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 4, 1167-1173, October 2007
Bin Bao, Ananda S Prasad, et al Zinc decreases C-reactive protein, lipid peroxidation, and inflammatory cytokines in elderly subjects: a potential implication of zinc as an atheroprotective agent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28836 Vol. 91, No. 6, 1634-1641, June 2010

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