High blood pressure is a serious cause of concern among a large number of people. In the US alone, more than 100 million people experience high blood pressure or hypertension. Moreover, heart problems are a leading cause of death in the country.
Undeniably, hypertension works as a risk factor in this case. It’s only now that research has found an association between zinc deficiency and high blood pressure. Previously, studies haven’t been able to pin point the exact link between high blood pressure and zinc deficiency.
Past Research On Zinc And Its Unclear Association With High Blood Pressure
Until recently, researchers have been unable to find the link between zinc and high blood pressure. What was known was that people with some health conditions such as chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes showed zinc deficiency and high blood pressure.
There is still no clarity on whether the zinc levels are a cause or an effect of increased blood pressure. Hence, the exact relationship is not known. Other studies have shown that people with low levels of zinc are more vulnerable to developing hypertension.
There is also evidence of zinc’s role in hypertension. Rats that are sensitive to salt and readily develop elevated blood pressure showcase low zinc levels in their blood. Recently, some researchers went out to find the link between blood pressure and zinc, which illuminated the association between the two.
This latest study appeared in the American Journal of physiology –Renal Physiology.
The Role Of Zinc In An Elevated Blood Pressure
Sodium absorption plays a crucial in managing blood pressure. The sodium chloride cotransporter (NCC) in the kidney helps in the reabsorption of sodium from the fluid that is going to be excreted as urine.
NCC then feeds sodium back to the body. Typically, low sodium level in the urine correlates with elevated blood pressure. When the NCC is active, it pumps more sodium into the body. In such an instance, urine removes less zinc and blood pressure amp ups.
So what role does zinc play in this case? Multiple proteins can interact with NCC to change the amount of sodium reabsorbed in the body. In this context, zinc works as a cofactor that influences the activity of a broad array of proteins including transcription factors, regulatory proteins, and enzymes.
Investigators are of the opinion that zinc impacts one of these proteins, which moderates the NCC. Although there isn’t much evidence on this. In this study, the researchers learned that zinc affected the NCC activity, particularly, the NCC activity enhances zinc at a lower level.
Scientists say that when zinc is short, NCC works in a more stable manner. Thus, they can function for longer. These results tie with findings from earlier work that reveals the role of zinc in hypertension.
All in all, this study unlocks the possible association between zinc deficiency and high blood pressure. These finding may show a significant impact on the treatment of hypertension in chronic disease settings.