by Dr. Leo Galland

 

Zinc Boosts Recovery from Stroke

Zinc is known to have significant effects on neurological and immune function. But for vegetarians and the elderly, zinc intake is often lower than the recommended daily allowance.

 

Physicians at a rehabilitation hospital in Italy looked at how zinc could impact victims of stroke.  They studied recovery from recent stroke among patients who were adequately nourished except for a zinc consumption of under 7 milligrams per day.

 

In the study, patients whose diet was supplemented with 10 milligrams of zinc per day showed superior recovery to those who were given placebo. The Italian researchers, writing in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience concluded: “The normalization of Zn2+ (zinc) intake in stroke patients with low mineral intake may enhance neurological recovery.” (Aquilani et al.)

 

Reference and Abstract:

 

Nutr Neurosci. 2009 Oct;12(5):219-25. Normalization of zinc intake enhances neurological retrieval of patients suffering from ischemic strokes.

 

Aquilani R, Baiardi P, Scocchi M, Iadarola P, Verri M, Sessarego P, Boschi F, Pasini E, Pastoris O, Viglio S.Metabolic Service and Nutritional Pathophysiology, Salvatore Maugeri Foundation, Montescano, Italy.

 

INTRODUCTION: The objective of this study was to investigate whether zinc (Zn2+) supplementation could contribute to neurological retrieval of patients suffering from strokes and low Zn2+ intake.

 

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-six patients with subacute stroke, having adequate daily energy (> or = 24 kcal/kg/day) and protein (> or = 0.8 g/kg/day) intake (EPI) and Zn2+ ingestion lower than two-thirds of the recommended allowance of 10 mg/day, were randomly allocated either to a control group (n = 13) or Zn2+ group (n = 13) where Zn2+ supplementation consisted of 10 mg Zn2+/day. Neurological gravity was tested with the NIH stroke scale (NIHSS) at patient admission and after 30 days of protocol commencement.

 

RESULTS: At day 30, the improvement in NIHSS was higher in the zinc group than in the placebo (-4.7 +/- 1.3 points versus -3.3 +/- 1.1 points; P < 0.02). NIHSS and Zn2+ intake were negatively correlated (r = -0.46; P < 0.02).

 

CONCLUSION: The normalization of Zn2+ intake in stroke patients with low mineral intake may enhance neurological recovery.

 

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