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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Zinc Supplement Boosts Immunity in Older Adults

Ensuring adequate zinc consumption by older adults could have a significant impact on reducing the incidence of infection, according to a study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health  researcher.

In a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers examined the effects of increasing serum zinc concentrations in elderly nursing home residents through zinc supplements. The 25 study participants were given either zinc supplements or a placebo for three months.

The researchers found that zinc supplementation improved the number and function of T-cells, important to the immune system. The increase of serum zinc rose higher in the treatment group, at a rate of 16 percent, compared to those in the control group.

Dr. Davidson Hamer, professor of global health at BU and of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, was a co-author on the new study. He is an adjunct researcher in the Nutritional Immunology Lab at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University.

To read more about the study, go to: