IHN Database

Osteoporosis and zinc

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA. A low dietary intake of zinc and accompanying low blood levels has been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis in women. Researchers at the University of California now report that an adequate zinc intake is equally important for men. Their study involved 396 men aged between 45 and 92 years who had their bone mineral density (BMD) measured at baseline (in 1988-1992) and 4 years later. Plasma zinc level correlated well with the total intake from diet and supplements. The average daily intake was 11.2 mg and the mean plasma zinc concentration was 12.7 micromol/L.

The researchers observed that men with a low zinc intake and plasma concentration were significantly more likely to have osteoporosis of the hip and spine. Other researchers have observed correlations between a low zinc intake and an increase risk of inflammation, liver disease, cancer, kidney stones, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Hyun, TH, et al. Zinc intakes and plasma concentrations in men with osteoporosis: the Rancho Bernardo Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, September 2004, pp. 715-21

Editor's comment: Zinc is clearly an important mineral for human health. The current RDA for men is 11 mg/day and for women 8 mg/day. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level is 40 mg/day for adults. Most multivitamins provide 10-15 mg per daily dose.

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