CFS and Zinc Deficiency

liverock

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Whilst this article does not specifically refer to zinc deficiency and CFS, zinc deficiency affects DNA repair and immune function as well as increasing oxidative stress.

Zinc deficiences a global concern
NewsRx.com

10-01-09

Other vitamins and nutrients may get more headlines, but experts say as many as two billion people around the world have diets deficient in zinc - and studies at Oregon State University and elsewhere are raising concerns about the health implications this holds for infectious disease, immune function, DNA damage and cancer (see also Oregon State University).

One new study has found DNA damage in humans caused by only minor zinc deficiency.

Zinc deficiency is quite common in the developing world. Even in the United States, about 12 percent of the population is probably at risk for zinc deficiency, and perhaps as many as 40 percent of the elderly, due to inadequate dietary intake and less absorption of this essential nutrient, experts say. Many or most people have never been tested for zinc status, but existing tests are so poor it might not make much difference if they had been.

"Zinc deficiencies have been somewhat under the radar because we just don't know that much about mechanisms that control its absorption, role, or even how to test for it in people with any accuracy," said Emily Ho, an associate professor with the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU, and international expert on the role of dietary zinc.

However, studies have shown that zinc is essential to protecting against oxidative stress and helping DNA repair - meaning that in the face of zinc deficiency, the body's ability to repair genetic damage may be decreasing even as the amount of damage is going up.

Two studies recently published, in the Journal of Nutrition and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found significant levels of DNA damage both with laboratory animals and in apparently healthy men who have low zinc intake. Zinc depletion caused strands of their DNA to break, and increasing the intake of zinc reversed the damage back to normal levels.

"In one clinical study with men, we were able to see increases in DNA damage from zinc deficiency even before existing tests, like decreased plasma zinc levels, could spot the zinc deficiency," Ho said. "An inadequate level of zinc intake clearly has consequences for cellular health."


Many zinc studies, Ho said, have focused on prostate cancer - the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men - because the prostate gland has one of the highest concentrations of zinc in the body, for reasons that are not clearly known.

When prostate glands become cancerous, their level of zinc drops precipitously, and some studies have suggested that increasing zinc in the prostate may at least help prevent prostate cancer and could potentially be a therapeutic strategy. There are concerns about the relationship of zinc intake to esophageal, breast, and head and neck cancers. And the reduced zinc status that occurs with aging may also contribute to a higher incidence of infection and autoimmune diseases, researchers said in one study in the Journal of Nutrition.

Zinc is naturally found associated with proteins in such meats as beef and poultry, and in even higher levels in shellfish such as oysters. It's available in plants but poorly absorbed from them, raising additional concerns for vegetarians. And inadequate intake is so prevalent in the elderly, Ho said, that they should usually consider taking a multivitamin to ensure adequate levels.

Zinc is an essential micronutrient for numerous cellular processes. But taking too much zinc can also be a concern, because in excess it can interfere with the absorption of other important nutrients such as iron and copper. The recommended daily allowance is eight milligrams a day for women, 11 for men, and anything over 50 milligrams a day could be considered excessive, Ho said.

"The consequences of zinc deficiency in adults have been understudied despite the recognition of symptoms of zinc deficiency for decades," researchers wrote in one recent report. "A considerable body of evidence suggests that zinc deficiency may increase the risk of some chronic diseases, including cancer. This link may be attributed to the role of zinc in antioxidant defense and DNA damage repair."
PWC's appear to have lower levels of zinc than normal people.
(Used up in repairing DNA and fighting oxidative stress?)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16338007

Lower serum zinc in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): relationships to immune dysfunctions and relevance for the oxidative stress status in CFS.
Maes M, Mihaylova I, De Ruyter M.
M-Care4U Outpatient Clinics, Olmenlaan 9, 2610 Antwerp-Wilrijk, Belgium. crc.mh@telenet.be

The present study examines serum zinc concentrations in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) versus normal volunteers. Serum zinc levels were determined by means of an atomic absorption method. We found that serum zinc was significantly lower in the CFS patients than in the normal controls.

There was a trend toward a significant negative correlation between serum zinc and the severity of CFS and there was a significant and negative correlation between serum zinc and the subjective experience of infection.
We found that serum zinc was significantly and negatively correlated to the increase in the alpha2 protein fraction and positively correlated to decreases in the expression of mitogen-induced CD69+ (a T cell activation marker) on CD3+ as well as CD3+CD8+ T cells. These results show that CFS is accompanied by a low serum zinc status and that the latter is related to signs of inflammation and defects in early T cell activation pathways. Since zinc is a strong anti-oxidant, the present results further support the findings that CFS is accompanied by increased oxidative stress. The results of these reports suggest that some patients with CFS should be treated with specific antioxidants, including zinc supplements.

PMID: 16338007 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Zinc has an antagonist, Cadmium, which reduces zinc levels and is not only found in cigarette smoke, car brake dust and other industrial applications but increasingly in the food chain and it can also act as an immune suppressant and disrupt thyroid function.

http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.asp?Id=2049&xcntr=1

I think the Zinc/cadmium ratio could have an important bearing on the extent of CFS symptoms, but I never hear much about it from those involved in treatment of PWC's.
 

Freddd

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Whilst this article does not specifically refer to zinc deficiency and CFS, zinc deficiency affects DNA repair and immune function as well as increasing oxidative stress.



PWC's appear to have lower levels of zinc than normal people.
(Used up in repairing DNA and fighting oxidative stress?)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16338007



Zinc has an antagonist, Cadmium, which reduces zinc levels and is not only found in cigarette smoke, car brake dust and other industrial applications but increasingly in the food chain and it can also act as an immune suppressant and disrupt thyroid function.

http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.asp?Id=2049&xcntr=1

I think the Zinc/cadmium ratio could have an important bearing on the extent of CFS symptoms, but I never hear much about it from those involved in treatment of PWC's.
Hi Liverock,

I found zinc to be a critical cofactor with the active b12 protocol. It caused substantial perceptable changes when I increased from 15mg to 65mg daily. Others have found it most helpful too.
 

liverock

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Freddd

It might be a good idea to have your copper levels checked if you are going to be taking that amount of zinc for any length of time.

Zinc and copper compete with each other for absorption and if you get too much zinc in relation to copper, you can prevent or lower copper absorption, which can weaken the strength of coronary artery walls. To compensate the body starts laying down plaque to help strengthen the arteries and this can create CHD.

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/28/7/764

Coronary heart disease: the zinc/copper hypothesis
LM Klevay

Epidemiologic and metabolic data are consonant with the hypothesis that a metabolic imbalance in regard to zinc and copper is a major factor in the etiology of coronary heart disease. This metabolic imbalance is either a relative or an absolute deficiency of copper characterized by a high ratio of zinc to copper. The imbalance results in hypercholesterolemia and increased mortaility die to coronary heart disease. The imbalance can occur due to the amounts of zinc and copper in human food, to lack of protective substances in food or drinking water and to alterations in physiological status that produce adverse changes in the distribution of zinc and copper in certain important organs. Because no other agent, with the possible exception of cholesterol, has been related so closely to risk, the ratio of zinc to copper may be the preponderant factor in the etiology of coronary heart disease.