People with chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease often have a zinc deficiency. Moreover, low levels of zinc are linked to an increased risk of hypertension. (Related: Zinc is the Essential Mineral for Optimum Health.)
Kidney function plays an essential role in managing blood pressure. The sodium chloride cotransporter (NCC) in the kidney reabsorbs sodium from fluids and returns it back to the body. Decreased levels of sodium are usually indicative of high blood pressure. That being said, when the NCC is too active, it tends to reabsorb more sodium back to the body, causing hypertension.
Earlier studies have suggested that zinc may help regulate NCC activity. However, a correlation between zinc deficiency and hypertension has not been established.
To find out more, researchers compared zinc-deficient male mice to healthy mice and found that they developed hypertension and had less sodium in their urine. However, these effects were not observed in the control group. The researchers also treated a small group of zinc-deficient mice with a diet rich in zinc. Once the animal’s zinc reached adequate levels, their blood pressure started decreasing to normal levels. Moreover, sodium in their urine increased.
“These significant findings demonstrate that enhanced renal [sodium] reabsorption plays a critical role in [zinc-deficiency]-induced hypertension,” the researchers explained in their study. “Understanding the specific mechanisms by which [zinc deficiency] contributes to [blood pressure] dysregulation may have an important effect on the treatment of hypertension in chronic disease settings.”
Zinc is not only important for sodium regulation in the kidney but is also involved in many important processes in the body, such as immune function, as well as growth and repair. The body cannot synthesize zinc; therefore, it must be obtained from the diet. Below is a list of natural sources of zinc.
For more information about the many health benefits of zinc, visit SupplementsReport.news.