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Table 2 Zinc supplementation studies in elderly.

From: The immune system and the impact of zinc during aging

Subjects Number Intervention1 Effect Reference
institutionalized > 70 years 15 (C)
15 (Z)
100 mg zinc as sulfate
one month
increased T cell numbers, DTH, and response to tetanus vaccine compared to control group [130]
anergic to DTH, 64–76 years 5 (Z) 55 mg zinc as sulfate
four weeks
improved DTH [132]
free-living, 60–89 years 36 (P)
36 (Z,15)
31(Z,100)
15 or 100 mg Zn as acetate
3 months
no effect on DTH or in vitro lymphocyte proliferation [137]
zinc-deficient males, 65–78 years 8 (Z) 60 mg zinc
as acetate
4.5 months
increase in DTH after supplementation [131]
free-living, 60–89 years 24 (P)
20 (Z,15)
19(Z,100)
15 or 100 mg Zn as acetate
12 months
negative effect on DTH, NK cell activation only after 3 months [138]
institutionalized, 73–106 years 44 (P)/(Z) crossover 20 mg zinc
as gluconate
8 weeks
increased thymulin activity [136]
zinc deficient, 50–80 years 13 (Z) 30 mg zinc
as gluconate
6 months
increase in plasma thymulin activity, IL-1, and DTH after supplementation [115]
institutionalized, 64–100 years 190 (C)
160 (Z)
90 mg zinc as sulfate
60 days
no effect of zinc on response to influenza vaccination [149]
institutionalized, ≥ 65 years 30 (P)
28 (Z)
25 mg zinc
as sulfate
3 months
increase in CD4+DR+ T cells and cytotoxic T cells compared to placebo [133]
free-living, 65–82 years 19 (Z) 10 mg zinc as aspartate
7 weeks
reduced levels of activated T helper cells and basal IL-6 release from PBMC, improved T cell response [140, 141]
institutionalized 25(P)
24(Z)
6(P)
6(Z)
45 mg as gluconate
12 months
45 mg as gluconate
6 months
reduced incidence of infections
increased IL-2 mRNA in response to ex vivo stimulation with PHA
[33, 128]
healthy, 55–70 y. 31 (P)
28/34 (Z)
15/30 mg zinc as gluconate
6 months
no effect on markers of inflammation or immunity [134]
  1. 1The values are given as elemental zinc
  2. DTH: delayed type hypersensitivity reaction, (C) control group without supplementation, (P) placebo, (Z) zinc supplementation