High blood pressure or hypertension has been linked to zinc deficiency, according to a new study by the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology. Zinc deficiency is common in individuals with chronic kidney diseases and Type 2 diabetes and in those patients, there is an increased likelihood of hypertension.
The findings revealed, “Zinc deficiency (ZnD) is a common comorbidity of many chronic diseases. In these settings, ZnD exacerbates hypertension.” Blood pressure control depends on how kidneys excrete sodium into the urine or reabsorb it into the body through the sodium chloride cotransporter (NCC). Less sodium in the urine is related to increased blood pressure levels.
For the study, the researchers fed adult mice with a zinc-adequate diet and another set of mice with a zinc-deficient diet. Soon enough, the mice with lower levels of deficiency developed hypertension.
A remaining set of mice were firstly given a zinc-adequate diet followed by hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), which is an NCC inhibitor. The blood pressure of these mice also returned to normal as the NCC stopped pumping sodium back into the body thus allowing urine to flush away.
The study concluded, “These data indicate that 1) Zn2+ (zinc) contributes to BP regulation via modulating renal Na+ handling, 2) renal NCC mediates ZnD-induced hypertension and 3) NCC is a Zn2+ regulated transporter that is upregulated with ZnD. This study links dysregulated renal Na+ handling to ZnD-induced hypertension. Furthermore, NCC is identified as a novel mechanism by which Zn2+ regulates BP. Understanding the mechanisms of ZnD-induced BP dysregulation may have important therapeutic impact on hypertension.”