Zinc plays a critical role in ensuring the beat goes on – in our hearts. New research into how the mineral helps regulate heart muscle brings “a paradigm shift” in our understanding of how the heart works, Dr. Samantha Pitt, who led the work with Dr. Richard Rainbow of the University of Leicester, said on medicalxpress.com.
"We still have a lot to learn regarding the role of zinc in the heart, but our latest work suggests that tight regulation of this metal is crucial in maintaining normal cardiac function,” she said. "Our discovery provides a mechanistic explanation of how zinc plays a key role in regulating heart muscle contractility and how imbalances in zinc may contribute to diseases such as heart failure and fatal arrhythmias."
Excessive release of calcium among heart cells is a major cause of heart failure and fatal arrhythmias. The new research identifies a key role zinc plays in regulating the movement of calcium among those cells, according to a story about the findings on medicalxpress.com. The research was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Earlier this year, research revealed a potential link between zinc deficiency and increased inflammation that can occur with age. That research, too, investigated the mineral’s role in cellular activity. Scientists found that a deficiency of zinc may affect how the immune system responds to stimulation, especially to inflammation, connecting it with inflammation-related diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.