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Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 25;6:21850. doi: 10.1038/srep21850.

Infants and elderlies are susceptible to zinc deficiency.

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La Belle Vie Research Laboratory, Tokyo 103-0006, Japan.


The importance of zinc for human health has been recognized since the early 1960s, but today there is little concern about zinc deficiency in developed countries. In this study, we measured the zinc concentration in hair from 28,424 Japanese subjects (18,812 females and 9,612 males) and found that 1,754 subjects (6.17%) had zinc concentrations lower than 2 standard deviations (86.3 ppm) below the control reference range, which qualifies as zinc deficiency. In particular, a considerable proportion of elderlies and children (20% or more) were found to have marginal to severe zinc deficiency. A zinc concentration of 9.7 ppm was the lowest observed in a 51-year-old woman; this concentration was approximately 1/13 of the mean reference level. The prevalence of zinc deficiency in adults increased with aging to a maximum of 19.7% by the 8(th) decade of life, and decreased to 3.4% above 90-year-old. The proportion of zinc deficiency in infants 0-4 years was 36.5% in males and 47.3% in females; these percentages were higher than the maximum prevalence in elderly subjects. These findings suggest that infants and elderlies are prone to zinc deficiency and that intervention of zinc deficiency is necessary for normal human development, health and longevity.

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