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Panting Through Your Workouts? Try Getting Enough
Zinc By Rosalie
Marion Bliss April 3, 2006
Consuming lower than recommended levels of dietary zinc could be
especially hard on the body during exercise, according to an Agricultural
Research Service (ARS) study. Thats
because tiny amounts of the mineral are contained in hundreds of zinc-dependent
enzymes that play a role in regulating energy expenditure.
One such friendly, zinc-dependent enzymecarbonic
anhydrasehelps the body clear away byproducts of daily cellular activity.
The enzyme actually escorts carbon dioxide out of the bodyfrom body
tissue to blood, from blood to air sacs in the lungs, and from the lungs out
into the air.
The findings were reported by ARS physiologist
C. Lukaski in the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition. Lukaski is assistant director of the ARS
Forks (N.D.) Human Nutrition Research Center. ARS is the
U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief
scientific research agency.
During the study, a group of active young men in their 20s and early
30s experienced a significant drop in physiological efficiency while
exercising, when their zinc intake had been reduced to about one-third of their
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for nine weeks. They were fed a low-zinc
diet of slightly more than 3.5 milligrams (mg) daily, compared to the RDA of 11
For contrast, when the same group exercised the same way for nine
weeks while consuming the same foods, but supplemented with 15 mg of zinc
daily, their physiological response was normal during exercise.
When zinc intake is too low, carbon dioxide backs up all the way to
muscle cells, according to Lukaski. That results in acid-laden cells that
require more oxygen for clearing toxic byproducts.
about this research in the April 2006 issue of Agricultural Research