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Biometals. 2014 Jun;27(3):495-505. doi: 10.1007/s10534-014-9724-9. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

The bioavailability of different zinc compounds used as human dietary supplements in rat prostate: a comparative study.

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Department of Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Lodz, Muszynskiego 1, 90-151, Lodz, Poland.


The normal human prostate accumulates the highest levels of zinc (Zn) of any soft tissue in the body. The pool of zinc available to the body is known to significantly decrease with age. It is suggested that dietary Zn supplementation protects against oxidative damage and reduces the risk of cancer. Zinc sulfate and zinc gluconate were the most frequently mentioned in per os administration in studies on Zn supplementation. The major aim of the study was to compare the bioavailability of different Zn compounds (sulfate, gluconate and citrate) in the prostate after their daily administration to male rats at three different doses (3.0; 15.0; and 50.0 mg Zn/kg b.w.) for 30 days. The results show that bioavailability in the prostate differs significantly between individual zinc preparations. A significantly elevated Zn concentration in the dorso-lateral lobe of the prostate, compared to controls, was found in the rats supplemented with two compounds only: zinc gluconate and zinc citrate. However, after administration of zinc gluconate, this effect occurred even at the lowest dose. The lowest zinc bioavailability in the prostate was found in the rats administered zinc sulfate: no significant Zn increase was seen in particular zones of the prostate. To sum up, the use of zinc gluconate is worth considering as a possible means of zinc supplementation in men.

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