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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2001;15(2-3):175-8.

Zinc supplementation increases bone alkaline phosphatase in healthy men.

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Department of Rheumatology, Brugmann University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium.


Zinc takes part in the metabolism of bone as a constituent of the matrix and as an activator of several metallo-enzymes. Animal in vitro and in vivo studies strongly suggest that zinc supplementation could stimulate bone formation and inhibit bone resorption but data in humans remain rare. The biological effects of 50 mg zinc given orally as gluconate in 20 healthy male volunteers were investigated in a 12 weeks double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. To investigate bone turnover, total alkaline phosphatases activity (ALP), bone specific alkaline phosphatase activity (BAPE) and BAP mass (BAP-M) concentration were measured as parameters of bone formation while urine calcium and C-terminal collagen peptide were determined as parameters of bone resorption. Samples were obtained in fasting subjects at baseline and after 6 and 12 weeks. In zinc treated subjects, a significant increase was observed at least after 12 weeks in total ALP (p < 0.01), BAP-M (p < 0.05) and BAP-E (p < 0.02). These parameters did not significantly change in the placebo group. Urine zinc/creatinine ratio significantly increased after 6 (p < 0.03) and 12 weeks (p < 0.04) in the zinc-treated group and was significantly different from the placebo group (p < 0.002). There was no significant effect of zinc supplementation on parameters of bone resorption. In conclusion, zinc supplementation at supraphysiological doses increased parameters of bone formation in healthy men while parameters of bone resorption remained unchanged.

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