New research links zinc deficiency to hypertension. Zinc is involved with hundreds of enzyme systems and has other health implications. Zinc has been shown to be beneficial for learning and cognition and is also recommended for people with a genetic predisposition to heart disease. It may even mitigate certain degenerative effects of aging. Some research indicates zinc deficiency may be a component of anorexia.
The link to zinc deficiency and hypertension has been shown in an earlier cohort study, and a new animal study suggests a possible mechanism. Zinc deficient mice were compared to those with normal zinc levels. The researchers found that the zinc deficient mice had decreased sodium excretion and, therefore, higher blood pressure when compared to healthy controls. Zinc deficiency increases blood pressure by causing an upregulation of sodium chloride cotransporter (NCC) and a decrease in sodium excretion.
The researchers stated, “This study links dysregulated renal sodium handling to zinc deficiency induced hypertension. Furthermore, NCC is identified as a novel mechanism by which zinc regulates blood pressure. Understanding the mechanisms of zinc deficiency induced BP dysregulation may have important therapeutic impact on hypertension.”