Assessing zinc status in humans

Lowe, Nicola M orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6934-2768 (2016) Assessing zinc status in humans. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 19 (5). pp. 321-327. ISSN 1363-1950

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Purpose of Review
To examine the most recent literature that provides new data regarding the potential and emerging biomarkers for zinc status in individuals.

Recent findings
Suboptimal dietary zinc intake is estimated to affect 17% of the world’s population, however the assessment of zinc status is notoriously difficult. A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies investigating biochemical biomarkers of zinc status was conducted by the European Micronutrient Recommendations Aligned (EURRECA) network. This review summarised the data published from inception to 2007. More recently (2016), an international expert panel, convened by the Biomarker of Nutrition for Development (BOND) initiative, published an extensive review the literature addressing biomarkers of zinc status in populations and individuals and categorised the biomarkers as useful (dietary intake, serum [Zn], stunting), potentially useful (hair [Zn], urine [Zn], neurobehavioural function), and emerging (nail [Zn], oxidative stress and DNA integrity, zinc kinetics, zinc dependent proteins, taste acuity).

The most recent data on the potentially useful biomarkers support the further investigation of hair [Zn] and indices of neurological function, particularly those assessing memory and attention. Of the emerging biomarkers, the measurement of DNA integrity and the expression of zinc transport proteins look promising.

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