Washington: Researchers have revealed that zinc is one of the most essential trace metals found in human nutrition and lifestyle and it affects the human body in many ways.
The adult body contains about two to three grams of zinc. It could be found in organs, tissues, bones, fluids, and cells. Foods with high protein content, specifically animal protein, would be major sources of zinc in the human diet. Zinc could also be used as fortification for other foods as well. Nearly half of the world's population could be at risk for inadequate zinc intake.
In a new article 'Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety' the researchers reviewed numerous studies and found that Zinc was not only a vital element in various physiological processes; but it was also a drug that helps in the prevention of many diseases.
It was established that the blood zinc level was less in patients brain with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease (Brewer, and others 2010).In a rodent study, it was observed that zinc behaves like an antidepressant (Nowak and others, 2005). It performs a noteworthy role in the regulation of arterial blood pressure. Males and females were reported to metabolize zinc differently when suffering from hypertension (Tubek, 2007).
Zinc deficiency in the liver occurred not only in those with liver cirrhosis, but also in less advanced alcoholic and nonalcoholic liver disease (Bode and others, 1998). A mild deficiency of zinc during a pregnancy could cause increased maternal morbidity, abnormal taste sensation, prolonged gestation, inefficient labor, atonic bleeding, and an increased risk to fetuses (Jameson, 1993).
The metal was very important in the synthesis, storage, and secretion of insulin (Chausmer 1998). A low level of zinc has been shown to play a role in diabetics with associated disease conditions such as coronary artery disease and several related risk factors including hypertension, and elevated levels of triglycerides (Singh and others, 1998). Zinc might also shorten the duration of severe pneumonia and time in the hospital (Brooks, 2004).
Studies show a correlation between zinc deficiency in geriatric patients and reduced activity of the thymus gland and thymic hormones, decreased response to vaccinations, and reduced immunity (Haase and Rink, 2009) and its deficiency has also been linked with delayed wound healing, and has been found to be crucial to the healing of gastric ulcers especially at the early stage (Kennan and Morris, 1993; Andrews and Gallagher-Allred, 1999; Watanabe, 1995).
The article is published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT).