Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Zinc status and the effect of zinc supplementation on the immune function of healthy older individuals aged 55 -70 yrs

Older individuals (>55 years) are at risk of developing age-associated immune deficiencies that may be exacerbated by inadequate Zinc (Zn) status. Maintenance of optimal Zn status with advancing age may mitigate against the effect of immunosenescence and allow for successful ageing. The current study aimed to explore the associations between Zn status and marker of immunity and determine if 15mg or 30mg of Zn (as Zn gluconate) per day for six months affected the immune function of 93 individuals (45 men & 48 women) aged 55-70 years. Zn status was assessed by dietary intakes, and putative biochemical indices of Zn. Multiple flow cytometric methods were used to assess immune function. At baseline mean ± SD, serum and erythrocyte Zn concentrations, and dietary Zn intake were 13.0 (±1.4)µM/l and 22.2 (±4.8)µM/l, 9.28 (± 3.28)mg/d, respectively. Serum and erythrocyte Zn concentrations were associated with increased numbers of lymphocyte subpopulations and T-lymphocyte activation. Treatment effect was determined using repeated-measures ANOVA.

A significant time x treatment interaction was observed for monocyte count (P = 0.030), total naive T-lymphocytes (% expression P = 0.036), and B-lymphocytes absolute count P = 0.028). B-lymphocytes were significantly lower in individuals receiving 30mg Zn/ d compared to 15 mg Zn/d and control groups, month 3 only. In conclusion, these findings indicate that Zn intakes of up to 40mg Zn/d do not appear to affect immune function in apparently healthy 55-70 year olds.

Reported by

Univ. Ulster
BT52 1SA Coleraine
United Kingdom
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