Zinc is an essential mineral with an important relationship with vitamin D. Studies have shown that reducing blood zinc levels could predict vitamin D deficiency in adolescent girls, while zinc supplementation increased vitamin D levels in postmenopausal women. Both vitamin D and zinc play important roles in health; for example, vitamin D controls physiological processes, including the regulation of blood pressure and cell growth, while zinc maintains reproductive health. While zinc and vitamin D don't interact directly, they share several connections due to their complementary effects on various organs in the body.
Include both nutrients in your diet and you'll help keep tissues strong and prevent diseases. Elderly individuals are particularly prone to zinc and vitamin D deficiency. These two micronutrients are capable of modulating the immune response by reducing the inflammatory storm. Don't take zinc supplements and copper, iron, or phosphorus supplements at the same time.
It's best to space the doses of these products 2 hours apart to get the most out of each dietary supplement. If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use zinc without first talking to your healthcare provider. Amiloride (Midamor): Amiloride is a potassium-sparing diuretic (water pill) that can increase zinc levels in the blood. Do not take zinc supplements if you are taking amiloride.
However, doxycycline (vibramycin) doesn't seem to interact with zinc. Cisplatin (Platinol-AQ): This drug, used as chemotherapy to treat some types of cancer, may cause more zinc to be excreted in the urine. If you are receiving chemotherapy, do not take zinc or any other supplement without consulting your oncologist. Deferoxamine (Desferal): This medication, used to remove excess iron from the blood, also increases the amount of zinc lost in the urine.
Immunosuppressive drugs: Because zinc can strengthen the immune system, it should not be taken together with corticosteroids (such as prednisone), cyclosporine, or other medications intended to suppress the immune system. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Zinc interacts with NSAIDs and may reduce the absorption and effectiveness of these medications. Examples of NSAIDs, which help reduce pain and inflammation, include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naprosyn (Aleve), piroxicam (Feldene), and indomethacin (Indocin). Penicillamine: This medication, used to treat Wilson's disease (in which excess copper builds up in the brain, liver, kidneys, and eyes) and rheumatoid arthritis, reduces levels of zinc in the blood.
Once vitamin D binds to its receptor, it can interact with DNA, activating or suppressing genes, which triggers a response in cells. Simply adding fatty fish and dairy products to your diet helps you consume more vitamin D. For example, a 6-ounce serving of canned salmon contains all of the recommended daily intake, while each 8-ounce serving of cow's milk contains 2.5 micrograms. Fish, meat and seafood increase zinc intake, while chickpeas and almonds are vegetarian-friendly sources of zinc.
Zinc helps healthy cell signaling by forming a component of transcription factors (proteins that control gene activity) and because it controls the release of hormones. Consuming enough vitamin D also helps prevent overactivation of the immune system, which in turn helps control autoimmune diseases. Dietary zinc also contributes to healthy immune function: it promotes the development of immune cells to help fight infections. Vitamin D regulates the body's calcium levels, and too much or too little vitamin D can cause calcium to leak from bone tissue into the blood, triggering bone loss, while healthy levels of vitamin D help maintain strong bone tissue.
You can also get vitamin D from being exposed to the sun, although some climates require longer exposure to the sun than others. The Institute of Medicine recommends small amounts of vitamin D and zinc a day: just 15 micrograms of vitamin D and 8 or 11 milligrams of zinc for women and men, respectively. Antibiotics: Zinc may decrease the body's absorption of two types of antibiotics, quinolones and tetracyclines. When zinc is combined with certain foods, it may not be absorbed by the body and will be of no use to you.