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October 28, 2008

Reduced serum zinc levels predict death in patients at risk of cardiovascular events

Reduced serum zinc levels predict death in patients at risk of cardiovascular events

Research published online on October 24, 2008 in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed a correlation between insufficient zinc levels and a higher risk of death among patients referred for coronary angiography. To the authors’ knowledge, the study is the first to examine the relationship between zinc and mortality in men and women at an intermediate to high risk for future cardiovascular events.

Stefan Pilz, of the University of Heidelberg in Germany and the Medical University of Graz in Austria, and his associates evaluated data from 3316 participants in the Ludwigshafen Risk and Cardiovascular Health study of patients referred to coronary angiography in southwest Germany. Blood samples collected prior to angiography were analyzed for zinc, glucose and other factors.

The patients were followed for a median of 7.75 years, during which 484 participants died from cardiovascular disease and 261 died of noncardiovascular causes. For those whose zinc levels were among the lowest 25 percent of participants at less than 780 micrograms per liter there was a 44 percent greater adjusted risk of dying from all causes compared with those whose levels were among the top 25 percent, at greater than 960 mcg/L. Cardiovascular deaths were 24 percent greater among those whose zinc levels were lowest, and the risk of dying from noncardiovascular causes was more than double that of participants whose zinc levels were highest.

Oxidative stress, immune dysfunction and inflammatory processes are among the mechanisms proposed by the authors to explain the effects observed in the current study. While these mechanisms have been associated with zinc deficiency as well as age-related degenerative diseases such as infections and atherosclerosis, supplementation with zinc has been shown to reduce inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress markers while lowering the incidence of infections. Zinc’s positive role in cardiovascular disease may be due to its antioxidant effects on endothelial cells which could help prevent early atherosclerotic lesion formation, although the mineral may be more important in early rather than late phases of the disease.

“The present results show that low serum zinc concentrations predict mortality in patients scheduled for coronary angiography and thus support considerations for supplementation of zinc plus other micronutrients in aging individuals with a deficiency for this essential trace element,” the authors conclude.

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Health Concern Life Extension Highlight

Bacterial infections

Bacterial infections are occasionally life-threatening health concerns. Older and newly emerging antibiotic-resistant infections are an increasing danger for children, the elderly, and people who have chronic diseases. Bacterial infections can disrupt normal intestinal flora, reduce nutrient and mineral supplies, and compromise immune responses. A healthy immune system can prevent or neutralize bacterial infections.

When dealing with a possible bacterial infection, it is impossible to tell, short of laboratory tests, which pathogen is causing the problem. Therefore, it is important to visit a physician for proper testing and, if necessary, to obtain prescription antibiotics. In addition, many nutrients have been shown to help strengthen the immune system and inhibit bacterial infection. Nutrients that have been demonstrated to inhibit bacterial activity or enhance the immune system include:

  • Lactoferrin—300 milligrams (mg) daily
  • Oregano oil—400 to 1000 mg of essential oils daily
  • Garlic extract—600 to 1200 mg of Kyolic garlic daily
  • Norwegian shark liver oil—200 mg of active alkylglycerols
  • Bromelain—500 mg before each meal
  • L-arginine—900 mg daily
  • L-glutamine—1 to 2 grams (g) daily
  • Cranberry extract—500 mg daily
  • Probiotics—Follow directions on label.
  • Whey protein—1 to 2 scoops daily
  • Green tea extract—725 mg daily
  • Garlic bulb powder—1800 to 9000 mg of Pure Gar daily (if you already have an infection)

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