The relationship between the zinc nutritive status and biochemical markers of bone turnover in older European adults: the ZENITH study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Nov;59 Suppl 2:S73-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602303.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between indices of zinc nutritive status and biochemical markers of bone turnover in older adult European subjects.

Design: Use of baseline data from a multicentre prospective zinc intervention (ZENITH) study.

Setting: Centres in France, Italy and Northern Ireland.

Participants: A total of 387 healthy adults, aged 55-87 y.

Methods: Zinc intake was assessed by 4-day recall records. Circulating and urinary biochemical zinc status measures were assessed by atomic absorption spectrophometry. Serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin were assessed by ELISA and urinary pyridinoline (Pyr) and deoxypyridinoline (Dpyr) by HPLC.

Results: Zinc intake was negatively correlated with urinary Pyr and Dpyr (r = -0.298 and -0.304, respectively; P < 0.0001), but was not correlated with bone formation markers. There was a tendency for serum zinc to be negatively correlated with urinary Dpyr (r = -0.211; P = 0.080). Erythrocyte zinc was negatively correlated with serum osteocalcin (r = -0.090; P < 0.0001). None of the other correlations were significant. After adjustment for confounder (age, gender and research centre) the only significant association that remained was between serum osteocalcin and erythrocyte zinc (beta = -0.124; P = 0.011).

Conclusions: There was some, albeit inconsistent, evidence of a relationship between zinc nutritive status and bone turnover in the older adult participants of the ZENITH study.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Amino Acids / urine
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Diet Records
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Osteoporosis / blood*
  • Osteoporosis / urine*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic / methods
  • Zinc / administration & dosage
  • Zinc / blood*
  • Zinc / urine*


  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Osteocalcin
  • pyridinoline
  • deoxypyridinoline
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Zinc