The micronutrient appears to keep inflammation in check, which is increasingly being recognized as the cause of many conditions. But a poor diet and an inability to absorb zinc as we age often leads to deficiency in the elderly, say researchers from Oregon State University.
This deficiency leads to DNA damage and systemic inflammation, which is associated with most chronic degenerative diseases-and yet it remains an unsuspected cause because no one is measuring it.
The researchers recommend that all elderly people supplement with 11 mg of zinc a day, which is the recommended daily intake. Amounts over 40 mg should be avoided, as high levels of zinc prevent other nutrients, like iron and copper, from being absorbed.