Zinc deficiency has been associated to many types of chronic illnesses including chronic kidney disease. In a recent study, researchers have found lower-than-normal zinc levels might be part of the cause for high blood pressure as they change the way the kidneys handle sodium.
Kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood of toxins and waste material. The material is then expelled from the body through urine. When one or both kidneys develop a reduced ability to do so or lose their ability to do so, a person has chronic kidney disease.
In the study performed by Emory University, scientists fed one group of adult mice a zinc adequate diet and another group a zinc deficient diet. When the two groups were examined and compared to a healthy group of mice used as a control zinc deficient mice were discovered to have high blood pressure. In addition, these mice were found to be less capable of excreting sodium in their urine.
Another group of mice was fed a zinc deficient diet then switched to a zinc sufficient diet half-way through and their blood pressure decreased to adequate levels. Scientists have warned individuals with low zinc levels are at greater risk for hypertension. Hypertension is another term for high blood pressure which is known to lead to stroke, heart disease or death.
Zinc deficiency tends to be very common in those suffering from type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. The kidneys excrete or allow the body to reabsorb sodium through a pathway called the sodium chloride co-transporter, abbreviated as NCC. The NCC has a part in blood pressure as less sodium in urine means higher blood pressure. Zinc may be helping the body regulate proteins which regulate the NCC.
Scientists are still examining the link between zinc-deficiency induced hypertension. Scientists were encouraged by the results but say they still need to conduct more research on to understand how zinc deficiency contributes to high blood pressure as this can lead to more effective treatments for hypertension.
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