Special Issue "Alleviating Zinc Dietary Deficiency, and Monitoring Poor Physiological Zinc Status in Sensitive Populations"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Micronutrients and Human Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Elad Tako
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Stocking Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-7201, USA
Interests: dietary micronutrients; Fe and Zn deficiencies; anemia; Zn status biomarkers; bioactive compounds; prebiotics; microbiome; nutrigenomics; intestinal functionality and development; polyphenols; in vivo models of human nutrition
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Zinc is a trace mineral essential to all forms of life because of its fundamental role in gene expression, cell development, and replication. Severe or clinical zinc deficiency was defined last century as a condition characterized by short stature, hypogonadism, impaired immune function, skin disorders, cognitive dysfunction, and anorexia. Although severe zinc deficiency is considered rare, mild-to-moderate zinc deficiency is likely prevalent throughout the world today. Lack of consensus on indicators of zinc deficiency has hampered efforts to document prevalence of zinc deficiency. For this reason, it is important to attempt to quantify the prevalence of zinc deficiency and its contribution to the global burden of disease.

Millions of people throughout the world may have inadequate levels of zinc in the diet due to limited access to zinc-rich foods (animal products, oysters, and shellfish) and the abundance of zinc inhibitors, such as phytates, common in plant-based diets. Zinc deficiency is largely related to inadequate intake or absorption of zinc from the diet, although excess losses of zinc during diarrhea may also contribute. The distinction between intake and absorption is important, because although some intakes of zinc may be acceptable, the levels of inhibitors (e.g., as phytates) in the diet may mean that inadequate amounts of zinc are absorbed. For this reason, zinc requirements for dietary intake are adjusted upward for populations in which animal products, the best sources of zinc, are limited, and in which plant sources of zinc are similarly high in phytates. Because zinc is not well conserved in the body and because zinc deficiency is directly related to dietary zinc intake, an indirect approach to quantify the prevalence of zinc deficiency would be to examine the adequacy of zinc in the diet in various regions worldwide.

Dietary surveys are conducted in many countries, but few such surveys exist in developing countries. Even when dietary intake data are available, incomplete information on the content of zinc and its bioavailability in local foods has made calculation of zinc bioavailability and physiological status challenging. In this regard, the assessment of marginal zinc status is problematic (current common markers: urine, serum, hair), as there is no universally accepted single measure to assess zinc status (Lowe et al., 2009, 2011; Gibson et al., 2016). Recently, it was again suggested that serum zinc concentrations are unrelated to zinc intake from either diet or supplements. This is not the first report that serum zinc concentrations are unrelated to zinc intakes. Three recent meta-analyses came to the same conclusion (Lowe et al., 2012; Moran et al., 2012; King, 2018). Hence, the need to develop additional robust indicators of zinc status and to further expand the already known clinical markers, for which limited data of reliability exists, is evident.

Furthermore, recent zinc animal model (Gallus gallus) studies followed by human studies showed that enzymes involved in metabolizing linoleic acid (specifically, the conversion of linoleic acid to dihomo-γ-linolenic acid, or the LA:DGLA ratio) may also be sensitive to modest changes in dietary zinc (Reed et al., 2014, Chimhashu et al., 2018; Knez et al., 2017, 2018). Yet again, the need to move beyond the three target indicators of zinc nutrition (i.e., zinc intake, serum zinc, and stunting) is evident when assessing the zinc status of populations. Metabolic studies show that tissues use multiple mechanisms to conserve zinc if the dietary supply is low. It also appears that some functions are more readily sacrificed than others. In the future, a zinc assessment model that combines key metabolic indicators of zinc status along with routine measurements needs to be developed to better diagnose the zinc status of populations.

Hence, the aim of the current Special Issue is to further explore dietary approaches that are aimed to alleviate zinc dietary deficiency and present and discuss strategies to monitor physiological zinc status in sensitive populations.

Dr. Elad Tako
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Zinc deficiency
  • Biomarkers of Zinc status
  • Monitoring Zinc status
  • Improve dietary zinc absorption
  • Zinc dietary inhibitors

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
Micronutrient Status and Dietary Diversity of Women of Reproductive Age in Rural Pakistan
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3407; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113407 - 06 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 976
Abstract
Consuming a diverse diet is essential to ensure an adequate intake of micronutrients. The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional status and dietary diversity of women of reproductive age (WRA) living in a marginalized community in rural Pakistan. Forty-seven WRA [...] Read more.
Consuming a diverse diet is essential to ensure an adequate intake of micronutrients. The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional status and dietary diversity of women of reproductive age (WRA) living in a marginalized community in rural Pakistan. Forty-seven WRA (35 ± 7 years old) who were not pregnant or lactating at enrollment, were recruited to participate in the study. Twenty-four-hour dietary recall interviews were conducted by the study nutritionist, and the data collected were used to create a minimum dietary diversity for women score (MDD-W) on five occasions during the monsoon and winter seasons (October to February). Nutritional status was assessed using anthropometry and biochemical markers of micronutrient status. Height and weight were used to determine body mass index (BMI), and mid-upper-arm circumference was measured. Plasma zinc, iron, and selenium concentrations were measured using inductively coupled mass spectrometry, and iron status was assessed using serum ferritin and blood hemoglobin concentrations. The mean (±SD) food group diversity score was 4 ± 1 with between 26% and 41% of participants achieving an MDD-W of 5. BMI was 27.2 ± 5.5 kg/m2 with 28% obese, 34% overweight, and 6% underweight. The prevalence of zinc deficiency, based on plasma zinc concentration, was 29.8%; 17% of the participants had low plasma selenium levels; 8.5% were iron deficient; and 2% were suffering from iron deficiency anemia. The findings indicate that the women living in this community consume a diet that has a low diversity, consistent with a diet low in micronutrients, and that zinc deficiency is prevalent. Public health interventions aimed at increasing the dietary diversity of WRA are needed to improve the micronutrient intake, particularly of zinc, in this population. Full article
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Article
Is There a Link between Zinc Intake and Status with Plasma Fatty Acid Profile and Desaturase Activities in Dyslipidemic Subjects?
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010093 - 28 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1241
Abstract
The prevalence of obesity and dyslipidemia has increased worldwide. The role of trace elements in the pathogenesis of these conditions is not well understood. This study examines the relationship between dietary zinc (Zn) intake and plasma concentrations of Zn, copper (Cu) and iron [...] Read more.
The prevalence of obesity and dyslipidemia has increased worldwide. The role of trace elements in the pathogenesis of these conditions is not well understood. This study examines the relationship between dietary zinc (Zn) intake and plasma concentrations of Zn, copper (Cu) and iron (Fe) with lipid profile indicators, fatty acid composition in plasma phospholipids and desaturase enzyme activities in a dyslipidemic population. The role of the newly proposed biomarker of Zn status, the linoleic:dihomo-gama-linolenic acid (LA:DGLA) ratio, in predicting Zn status of dyslipidemic subjects has been explored. The study included 27 dyslipidemic adults, 39–72 years old. Trace elements were determined using atomic absorption spectrometry and fatty acid composition by a liquid gas chromatography. Desaturase activities were calculated from product-precursor fatty acid ratios. Dietary data were obtained using 24 h recall questionnaires. Insufficient dietary intake of Zn, low plasma Zn concentrations and an altered Cu:Zn ratio is related to modified fatty acid profile in subjects with dyslipidemia. Plasma Zn status was associated with obesity. There was no correlation between dietary Zn intake and plasma Zn status. The LA:DGLA ratio was inversely linked to dietary Zn intake. Cu, in addition to Zn, may directly or indirectly, affect the activity of desaturase enzymes. Full article
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Review

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Review
Effects of Iron and Zinc Biofortified Foods on Gut Microbiota In Vivo (Gallus gallus): A Systematic Review
Nutrients 2021, 13(1), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010189 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Dietary iron and zinc deficiencies are a global health concern. Bacteria that colonize the gastrointestinal tract depend on minerals to maintain their activities; thus, recent evidence suggests that biofortified foods can modulate the host’s beneficial bacterial taxa. The current review analyzed the research [...] Read more.
Dietary iron and zinc deficiencies are a global health concern. Bacteria that colonize the gastrointestinal tract depend on minerals to maintain their activities; thus, recent evidence suggests that biofortified foods can modulate the host’s beneficial bacterial taxa. The current review analyzed the research data that linked between iron and zinc biofortified foods and gut microbiota modulation. The data analysis was based on the PRISMA guidelines and the data search was performed at PubMed, Web of Science, Science Direct, and Scopus databases for experimental studies published from January 2010 until December 2020. The five selected studies were conducted in an experimental in vivo model (Gallus gallus). The identified and discussed research showed positive effects of biofortified foods on the composition and function of the gut microbiota. Further, an increase in short chain fatty acids producing bacterial populations as Lactobacillus and Ruminococcus, and a decrease in potentially pathogenic bacteria as Streptococcus, Escherichia, and Enterobacter was identified due to the consumption of biofortified foods. In conclusion, biofortified foods may contribute to improved gut health without increasing the colonization of pathogenic bacteria. The dietary inclusion of approximately 50% of iron/zinc biofortified foods has a significant beneficial effect on the gut microbiota. Additional studies in humans and animal models are warranted to further establish the suggested effects on the intestinal microbiome. PROSPERO (CRD42020184221). Full article
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Review
Zinc Adequacy Is Essential for the Maintenance of Optimal Oral Health
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 949; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040949 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2352
Abstract
Zinc, a metal found in the Earth’s crust, is indispensable for human health. In the human body, around 60% of zinc is present in muscles, 30% in bones, and the remaining 10% in skin, hair, pancreas, kidneys and plasma. An adequate zinc balance [...] Read more.
Zinc, a metal found in the Earth’s crust, is indispensable for human health. In the human body, around 60% of zinc is present in muscles, 30% in bones, and the remaining 10% in skin, hair, pancreas, kidneys and plasma. An adequate zinc balance is essential for the maintenance of skeletal growth, development and function. It is also necessary for basic cellular functions including enzyme activation, cell signaling and energy metabolism. Inadequate zinc status is associated with a wide variety of systemic disorders including cardiovascular impairment, musculoskeletal dysfunctions and oromaxillary diseases. In this article, we briefly discuss the role of zinc deficiency in the genesis of various oromaxillary diseases, and explain why adequate zinc homeostasis is vital for the maintenance of oral and general health. Full article
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