Trace metals and immune function in the elderly

M. Eric Gershwin, L. Hurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Elderly individuals in a variety of living settings experience a significant degree of malnutrition. Indeed, even when the diet is regimented, as in nursing homes, the intake of many nutrients is below that of the recommended dietary allowances (RDA). Moreover, nearly all nutritional norms have been established for a younger population. Therefore, nutritional assessments performed in geriatric populations may be inaccurate. Recently, there has appeared a growing body of data that demonstrates the importance of trace elements, particularly zinc, for adequate immune responsiveness. This may be critical for aged persons because recurrent pulmonary and urinary infections as well as secondary infection of stasis ulcers are a major cause of patient morbidity and a continued, almost limitless economic drain on society. Although such infections are caused by multiple factors, including vascular disease, drug interactions, and underlying pathology, there have been only limited efforts to define the age-related changes of immunity or to determine whether they are reversibly associated with trace element deprivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalComprehensive Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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