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Zinc and micronutrient combinations to combat gastrointestinal inflammation

Scrimgeour, Angus G; Condlin, Michelle L

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: November 2009 - Volume 12 - Issue 6 - p 653–660
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283308dd6
Micronutrients: Edited by Hans K. Biesalski and Henry C. Lukaski

Purpose of review To examine current evidence for dietary supplementation with zinc and other micronutrients for primary prevention of multiple micronutrient deficiencies that are known to result from therapies used in the treatment of gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders.

Recent findings Epidemiological observations and clinical findings have strengthened the concept that both nutritional deficiencies and nutritional excesses impair the gastrointestinal response(s) and alter susceptibility to inflammation and other diseases. The interaction of micronutrient intake, biochemical indicators of nutritional status, and four specific gastrointestinal inflammation states are reviewed. These conditions include celiac disease and concomitant micronutrient deficiencies resulting from the sustained adherence to a gluten-free diet; micronutrient nutrition as an important determinant of immunity for two major types of inflammatory bowel disease: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease; and HIV/AIDS-related diarrhea and concomitant micronutrient deficiencies which may be exacerbated by the initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy.

Summary For each inflammation ‘state’, enhancement of micronutrient status can improve immunocompetance and minimize therapeutic side-effects. The impact of single-micronutrient deficiencies on immune responses, and the possible impact of uncorrected micronutrient status are discussed.

Military Nutrition Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Angus Scrimgeour, PhD, Military Nutrition Division, USARIEM, Kansas Street, Natick, MA 01760, USA Tel: +1 508 233 5155; fax: +1 508 233 4869; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.