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Importance of zinc in the elderly: the ZENITH study

Abstract

The elderly are at nutritional risk as a result of multiple physiological, social, psychological, and economic factors. Physiological functions naturally decline with age, which may influence absorption and metabolism. Social and economic conditions can adversely affect dietary choices and eating patterns. However, at the same time, the nutrient needs of the elderly for certain nutrient (such as vitamins, minerals, proteins) is higher than for younger adults. This article reviews the importance of zinc (Zn) in elderly people, particularly for behavioural and mental function, micronutrient status, immune and antioxidant system, and bone metabolism.

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The ZENITH Study is supported by the European Commission ‘Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources’ Fifth Framework Program, Contract No: QLK1-CT-2001-00168.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Nathalie Boirie for improving English.

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Correspondence to N Meunier.

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Guarantor: C Coudray.

Contributors: NM and CC wrote the paper; JMO, GM, AMR are the centre coordinators of the zenith study. All authors read and contributed to finalization of the manuscript.

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Meunier, N., O'Connor, J., Maiani, G. et al. Importance of zinc in the elderly: the ZENITH study. Eur J Clin Nutr 59 (Suppl 2), S1–S4 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602286

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602286

Keywords

  • zinc
  • elderly
  • psychological and biological functions

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