The Effect of Zinc Supplementation on Circulating Levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF): A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Int J Prev Med. 2022 Sep 20:13:117. doi: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_478_20. eCollection 2022.


Background: There are randomized controlled trials (RCTs) about the zinc supplementation effect on circulating levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, the findings of these studies are inconsistent. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the zinc supplementation effect on BDNF and zinc levels in published RCTs.

Methods: We searched PubMed/Medline, Cochrane, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, EMBASE, "", "Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials", "IRCT" and also key journals up to 2019. RCTs with two intervention (zinc) and control (placebo) groups that evaluated zinc supplementation efficacy on BDNF levels were included. Study heterogeneity was assessed, and then, meta-analysis was performed using the fixed-effects model.

Results: Four studies were included in the present secondary analysis. Compared with placebo, zinc supplementation significantly enhanced circulating levels of BDNF [(SMD): 0.31, 95% confidence interval (CI): (0.22, 0.61)] and zinc [(SMD): 0.88, 95% CI: (0.54, 1.22)] with no considerable heterogeneity among the studies [(Q = 3.46; P = 0.32; I2% = 13.4); (Q = 2.01; P = 0, 37; I2% = 0.5), respectively].

Conclusions: Our results propose that zinc supplementation can increase the circulating levels of BDNF and zinc. This study was registered at PROSPERO as CRD42020149513.

Keywords: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; meta-analysis; randomized controlled trial; systematic review; zinc.

Publication types

  • Review