Zinc deficiency increases with age and is associated with increased levels of inflammation and immune system impairment. Inflammation is associated with a variety of chronic health problems, including heart disease, autoimmune disease and diabetes. Older people just don’t seem to take zinc up as well as a younger people.
Zinc is also involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is a part of enzyme activity, plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis and wound healing. A steady intake of zinc is required as the body has no specialized zinc storage system. Zinc is essential to protect against oxidative stress and help repair DNA damage. In zinc deficiency, the body”s ability to repair genetic damage may be decreasing even as the amount of damage is going up.
The current RDA for zinc is 11 mg a day for men and 8 mg per day for women, with an upper limit set at 40 mg. The bottom line is it is really important to make sure you are getting enough zinc, especially if you are an older adult.
In office testing to see if you need zinc supplementation is easy. Ask me about it on your next visit.
Resource: Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry – study conducted at Oregon State University (OSU)