5′-nucleotidase activity (Beck et al., 1997a), and various abnormalities of laboratory indexes of immune status (Beck et al., 1997b).
Other Criteria for Women. Twenty-six percent of a group of apparently healthy Canadian omnivore women had prebreakfast serum zinc concentrations below the cut-off of 70 μg/dL (Gibson et al., 2000). The zinc intake of these subjects averaged 7.3 mg/day, which by this criterion is slightly above the EAR. These data are consistent with an EAR of 6.8 mg/day.
Elderly. Reported values on the fractional absorption of zinc in the elderly have been quite variable (Couzy et al., 1993; Hunt et al., 1995; Turnlund et al., 1982, 1986), and no consistent evidence indicates that aging affects absorption adversely. Results of balance studies are again, predictably, variable (Bunker et al., 1982; Hallfrisch et al., 1987; Wood and Zheng, 1997). No evidence suggests that the zinc requirements of the elderly are higher than those of younger adults, but possible differences in zinc metabolism (Wastney et al., 1986) merit further investigation.
Other Criteria for the Elderly. Zinc supplementation of 53 elderly men and women whose diet contained an average of 9.2 mg/day of zinc was not associated with any detectable benefits (Swanson et al., 1988). Specifically, there were no changes in circulating protein or immunoglobulin concentrations. In contrast, dietary zinc was positively correlated with serum albumin in a group of 82 elderly Canadians whose zinc intakes averaged 5 mg/day for women and 6.5 mg/day for men (Payette and Gray-Donald, 1991). Several studies in which improvements in laboratory indexes of zinc status with zinc supplementation were reported did not, unfortunately, include information on habitual zinc intake (Boukaiba et al., 1993; Cakman et al., 1997; Duchateau et al., 1981; Fortes et al., 1998). Fifteen older men and women whose habitual dietary zinc averaged 8.8 mg/day had a significant decline in the activity of 5′-nucleotidase activity after a 2-week period during which zinc intake was restricted to 4 mg/day (Bales et al., 1994). Subsequently, a 6-day supplementation period in which total zinc intake averaged 28 mg/day was associated with a significant increase in 5′-nucleotidase activity, but not beyond baseline levels. In 119 elderly women, serum IGF-1 concentration was weakly correlated with dietary zinc over a range of 5 to 17 mg/day (Devine et al., 1998). A nonplacebo controlled study of zinc supplementation in 13 elderly subjects, part of a larger group of 180 subjects whose average calculated zinc intake was 9 mg/day,