Zinc Deficiency Impacts Chronic Inflammation in HIV Patients

Lower concentrations of serum zinc can cause difficulties during treatment of patients with HIV.

Recent research revealed an association between zinc deficiency and chronic inflammation in HIV patients.

In study published in Biological Trace Element Research used the Positive Living with HIV (POLH) study, which consists of a cohort of approximately 322 HIV patients in the Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur districts in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley.

Researchers performed a cross-sectional survey among 311 HIV POLH participants, consisting of 177 men and 134 women between the ages of 18 to 60-years-old.

Serum and zinc C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations were measured using standard methods. In person interviews, blood samples, a questionnaire, and Indian food tables were also used to estimate dietary zinc intake and CRP levels.

“The fact that several studies have suggested that zinc might be something important for us to be aware of led us to analyze this micronutrient in HIV-positive patients,” said researcher Krishna Poudel. “We hypothesized that lower concentrations of serum zinc would be associated with increased CRP concentrations in HIV-positive individuals, taking into account of ART (antiretroviral therapy).”

Researchers used linear regression statistical analyses and adjusted for demographic, lifestyle, and HIV-clinical factors. The results of the study found that average CRP concentration significantly decreased, while serum zinc concentrations increased in both men and women of all age groups.

The study authors said that if the findings are confirmed, it could lead to intervention strategies that reduce inflammation and improve health and quality of life for HIV patients, including those who use ART.

However, more research needs to be done and a more powerful prospective design study should be conducted, as opposed to cross-sectional, the study concluded. This would allow researchers to rule out that inflammation could influence zinc levels instead of vice versa.