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Zinc supplements lower weight and triglycerides in obese men and women

Zinc supplements lower weight and triglycerides in obese men and women

Friday, December 20, 2013. An article published this year in Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin reports the findings of a randomized, double-blinded trial which revealed a weight loss and triglyceride-lowering benefit for zinc supplementation among obese men and women.

Sixty participants between the ages of 18 and 45 years were divided to receive 30 milligrams zinc gluconate or a placebo for one month. Weight, waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) were determined, and blood samples were analyzed for serum zinc, lipids and fasting glucose levels before and after the treatment period.

In their discussion of the findings, authors Laleh Payahoo and colleagues of Tabriz University of Medical Science in Iran remark that the dose of zinc used in the study was higher than the Institute of Medicine's Dietary Reference Intake level of 8 to 11 milligrams per day. Although no significant changes were observed in lipids and fasting blood glucose among those who received zinc in the current study, they note that higher doses and longer periods of zinc supplementation have been suggested as a therapy to lower triglycerides as well as total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Possible mechanisms for the results observed in the current research include a role for zinc in appetite suppression, a protective role for the mineral against an obesity-promoting mutation, and improvement of insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance.

"The results of this study indicated that one month supplementation of zinc gluconate (30 mg/day) in obese male and female adults resulted in a remarkable reduction in weight and BMI indices as well as an increase in serum zinc concentration," the authors write. "To the best of our knowledge, this was the first study in the region that investigated the effect of zinc supplementation on obese adults in both genders and it can be considered as the strength of the study."

"It can be suggested that increasing the period of intervention and determining the safety and effectiveness of doses of zinc supplementation be considered in future studies."

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"Healthy obesity" questioned

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The results of a review and meta-analysis published on December 2, 2013 in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggest that so-called "healthy obesity," characterized by an obese body mass index (BMI) in the absence of adverse metabolic features such as disordered lipids, elevated blood glucose or hypertension, is not as healthy as was once believed.

Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto selected twelve observational studies that included a total of 67,127 subjects for their review. Studies included those that evaluated all-cause mortality and/or cardiovascular events, BMI, and metabolic status as defined by the presence of metabolic syndrome components. While normal weight, overweight and obese subjects that were considered metabolically unhealthy had an elevated risk of mortality and/or cardiovascular events in comparison with metabolically healthy subjects over the course of the studies, those who were metabolically healthy but obese had a 24% greater risk of dying from all causes over ten years or more of follow-up compared to metabolically healthy normal-weight individuals.

"These data suggest a model in which excess weight is associated initially with the development of subclinical metabolic and vascular dysfunction that ultimately leads to an increased incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality over the long term," Caroline K. Kramer, MD, PhD, and her coauthors write. "In this regard, previous reports that evaluated metabolically healthy obese individuals over short-term follow-up or that compared these individuals to control groups not fully characterized for cardiovascular risk might have contributed to the concept of a 'benign obesity' phenotype that is not associated with adverse outcomes. Our results do not support this concept of 'benign obesity' and demonstrate that there is no 'healthy' pattern of obesity."

The authors of an editorial published in the same issue of the journal remark that physicians should focus on treating the obesity in the same manner as any other chronic disease that requires long term treatment.

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