In the developed countries nearly 30% of the elderly are zinc deficient. Many chronic diseases seen in the elderly such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, neuro-degenerative disorders, Parkinson's disease and age related macular degeneration (AMD) may be due to chronic inflammation and increased oxidative stress. Zinc in human plays an important role in cell mediated immunity and is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Zinc supplementation studies in the elderly have shown decreased incidence of infections, decreased oxidative stress, and decreased generation of inflammatory cytokines. Decreased incidences of blindness in patients with AMD and increased atheroprotective effect have been observed in the zinc supplemented elderly. Zinc is a molecular signal for immune cells and many transcription factors involved in gene expression of inflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules are regulated by zinc.
Keywords: Anti-inflammatory agent; Antioxidant agent; Inflammatory cytokines; Oxidative stress; Zinc.
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