Zinc Carnosine, a Health Food Supplement That Stabilises Small Bowel Integrity and Stimulates Gut Repair Processes

Gut. 2007 Feb;56(2):168-75. doi: 10.1136/gut.2006.099929. Epub 2006 Jun 15.

Abstract

Background: Zinc carnosine (ZnC) is a health food product claimed to possess health-promoting and gastrointestinal supportive activity. Scientific evidence underlying these claims is, however, limited.

Aim: To examine the effect of ZnC on various models of gut injury and repair, and in a clinical trial.

Methods: In vitro studies used pro-migratory (wounded monolayer) and proliferation ([(3)H]-thymidine incorporation) assays of human colonic (HT29), rat intestinal epithelial (RIE) and canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cells. In vivo studies used a rat model of gastric damage (indomethacin/restraint) and a mouse model of small-intestinal (indomethacin) damage. Healthy volunteers (n = 10) undertook a randomised crossover trial comparing changes in gut permeability (lactulose:rhamnose ratios) before and after 5 days of indomethacin treatment (50 mg three times a day) with ZnC (37.5 mg twice daily) or placebo coadministration.

Results: ZnC stimulated migration and proliferation of cells in a dose-dependent manner (maximum effects in both assays at 100 micromol/l using HT29 cells), causing an approximate threefold increase in migration and proliferation (both p<0.01). Oral ZnC decreased gastric (75% reduction at 5 mg/ml) and small-intestinal injury (50% reduction in villus shortening at 40 mg/ml; both p<0.01). In volunteers, indomethacin caused a threefold increase in gut permeability in the control arm; lactulose:rhamnose ratios were (mean (standard error of mean)) 0.35 (0.035) before indomethacin treatment and 0.88 (0.11) after 5 days of indomethacin treatment (p<0.01), whereas no significant increase in permeability was seen when ZnC was coadministered.

Conclusion: ZnC, at concentrations likely to be found in the gut lumen, stabilises gut mucosa. Further studies are warranted.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Carnosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Carnosine / therapeutic use
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Dogs
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiopathology
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / therapeutic use
  • Intestine, Small / drug effects
  • Intestine, Small / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Models, Biological
  • Organometallic Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Permeability / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Stomach / drug effects
  • Stomach / pathology
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Zinc Compounds / therapeutic use

Substances

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Zinc Compounds
  • polaprezinc
  • Carnosine
  • Indomethacin