A new study conducted by Technical University of Munich showed that the level of zinc in the body affects the heart muscle.
Researchers have focused on studying the heart muscle since it has a lower antioxidative capacity than other tissues. This makes heart muscle more susceptible to oxidative stress, which occurs when more free radicals are generated in the cell than can be intercepted by antioxidants such as vitamin E.
By examining the heart muscle, researchers are able to determine a shortage of zinc in the body.
As the results of the research showed, even short-term deficiency of zinc in a diet affects heart’s ability to deal with oxidative stress, which is considered to be a predisposing factor for heart diseases.
The key findings of the study include:
- When examining the concentration of such antioxidants as glutathione and vitamin E, researchers noticed that their level declined alongside the body’s zinc status.
- After the first phase of cell stress, during which a reduction in tissue zinc concentration was observed, the heart muscle intervened and increased the amount of zinc back to the basal (control) level. However, this increase took place at the expense of the zinc content of other organs — above all the liver, kidneys, and the pancreas.
P.S. Young piglets were deprived of nutritional zinc to different extents for a few days. Thereby, the scientists were able to determine how a declining amount of zinc in the body affected the animals’ heart muscles. Read the publication “Short-Term Subclinical Zinc Deficiency in Weaned Piglets Affects Cardiac Redox Metabolism and Zinc Concentration” by Daniel Brugger and Wilhelm M. Windisch here.
by Natalie Myhalnytska
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