Zinc & zinc deficiency: Zinc is very important trace mineral which is involved in more than 100 zinc-dependent enzymes in nucleic acid metabolism and protein synthesis. Mild zinc deficiency occurs frequently in infants and children. Some of the etiologic factors of zinc deficiency include malnutrition, zinc deficiency diet, total parenteral nutrition without zinc supplementation, malabsorption, urinary losses and prematurity.
Some of the clinical features of zinc deficiency are: Decrease in growth velocity of stunted growth; poor appetite and decrease food intake; increased susceptibility to infection with associated abnormalities of the immune system; delayed adolescence; skin lesions, glossitis, alopecia, and nail dystrophy; delayed healing of wounds, burns and ulcers; acrodermatitis enteropathica and behavioral changes in severe zinc deficiency.
Zinc dependent enzymes which are involved in nucleic acid synthesis include DNA and RNA polymerases, reverse transcriptase and thymidine kinase. The water-soluble vitamin B complex, vitamin B1 [thiamine], vitamin B6 [pyridoxine] and vitamin B12 [cyanocobalamin] function as cofactors in nucleic acid synthesis.
Thiamine pyrophosphate [B1] is necessary for the production of ribose which is the major component of DNA and RNA.
Pyridoxine [B6] as pyridoxal phosphate plays a key role in amino acid metabolism as it is needed in the production of enzymes like transaminases, decarboxylases, and others. Vitamin B12 has an important function in synthesis of purine and pyrimidine bases which are component of nucleic acids. Deficiency of vitamin B12 decreases DNA synthesis. Vitamin B1, B6, and B12 (cyanocobalamin) with zinc, therefore are important cofactors in amino acid metabolism and protein synthesis.
Zinc and lysine: The absorption of zinc in the small intestine is mediated in part by the presence of low molecular weight [LMW] ligand. Since zinc has a high affinity for protein and semi-digested peptide fragments, it is chelated with LMW ligands and then absorbed by passive or active transport mechanism.
Several investigators have confirmed that certain amino acids, which act as LMW ligands, enhance the intestinal absorption of zinc. One of these amino acids is lysine which produces a higher zinc level. The addition of lysine in Z-Vita is, therefore, necessary to enhance the maximal absorption to zinc in the small intestine.