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Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 1997 Jan-Feb;17(1):47-58.

Serum zinc and blood rheology in sportsmen (football players).

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Département de Physiologie, Institut de Biologie, Faculté de Médecine, Montpellier, France.


We aimed at investigating relationships between zinc status, blood rheology and blood glucose during exercise. Twenty-one professional football players underwent a triangular maximal exercise test on cycloergometer, with progressively increasing work loads until VO2max. On the whole these subjects had a low serum zinc because nine of them had a hypozincemia (0.54 +/- 0.01 mg/l) which suggested a zinc deficiency. Subjects with low serum zinc were able to perform a lower power output (123 +/- 8.71 vs. 166.27 +/- 14.84 watts, p = 0.029) and exhibited a higher increase in blood lactate during exercise (7.51 +/- 0.81 vs. 5.57 +/- 0.33 mmol/l, p = 0.024) resulting in a lower 2 mmol lactate threshold (44.7 +/- 3.9% vs. 58.9 +/- 4.8% of maximal power output, p = 0.04). They were less able to maintain their plasma glucose and exhibited a tendency towards hypoglycemia (p = 0.0153). Hypozincemia was associated with a higher viscometric RBC rigidity index (p = 0.0009), and this index was negatively correlated to serum zinc (r = -0.68, p = 0.7 x 10(-3)). Blood viscosity at high shear rate (MT90 viscosimeter) corrected for hematocrit (45%) remained higher during exercise in these hypozincemic subjects (p = 0.003). This study suggests that zinc status may influence blood rheology during exercise, either by its direct action on RBC flexibility (demonstrated in vitro) or by its effect on lactate accumulation which may in turn modify erythrocyte fexibility.

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