Saturday, January 24, 2009

Something about zinc

The importance of zinc for human health was first documented in 1963. Ananda S. Prasad had studied it first in Iran and then in Egypt where he discovered that a syndrome marked by short stature and hypogonadism, which delays bone maturation, was caused by zinc deficiency. As late as 1991 he wrote that it is required for DNA synthesis, cell division and gene expression. It is needed for enzyme activity as well as cell mediated immunity.

Discovery of Human Zinc deficiency and Studies in an Experimental Human Model, by Ananda S. Prasad; Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:403-12.

I was first made aware of the need for zinc when my son Erik was found to be deficient in that element in 1999. This was discovered through a set of circumstances I do not want to go into right now. The story is too long. But what is significant is that his deficiency was discovered many years after Prasad's first report. Erik is very short and his bone age in 1999 was at about age 12 at a time he was already 28 years old. It leaves me at a loss that zinc supplementation long ago might have kept him from suffering. Erik has many broken bones. With zinc supplementation he might have reached his genetically intended height, and he might have had fewer broken bones.

I discovered by reading this report that there is a connection of zinc to Vitamin D. Without zinc in the intestines a person cannot absorb calcium very well from food. Interesting, isn't it?


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