Zinc and Pectus Excavatum (sunken chest)
Zinc and other nutritional requirements rise as children begin puberty in order to support sexual development. This is especially true for males, as sperm contains high amounts of zinc. A diet that provided sufficient calories and nutrients during childhood may no longer be sufficient for a child beginning puberty.
Many people who develop pectus excavatum or pectus carinatum have their deformities occur at puberty or just before, the same time they are susceptible to zinc deficiencies. As noted above, in monkeys, zinc deficiencies can cause rickets, which can cause pectus excavatum or pectus carinatum. A zinc deficiency occurring around puberty would logically explain why children often develop pectus deformities at this time. It would also explain why pectus deformities often occur along with stretch marks and other signs of zinc deficiencies such as poor wound healing. It would also explain why people with chest deformities have been found to have zinc deficiencies in their rib cartilage, as noted in the abstract excerpt below:
"In 71 patients with chest deformity, cartilage of the ribs was removed intraoperatively. Analyses of trace elements showed a highly significant decrease in zinc....". The study also showed that the ribs also had abnormalities of collagen. Zinc deficiencies have shown to cause abnormalities of collagen.
So if we look at zinc deficiencies as a possible factor in some cases of pectus excavatum, then there are logical explanations of why:
- Males develop pectus deformities more often than females (8:1). It's probably because males are more likely to develop zinc deficiencies than females because of the need for zinc in male reproductive functions.
- Pectus excavatum often occurs at puberty or just before, when the body's zinc needs increase to support sexual development.
- Analysis of trace elements of patients with chest deformities show significant decreases in zinc.
- Pectus excavatum and hypermobile joints occur together. Perhaps it is because a zinc deficiency negatively impacts both the rib cartilage and the connective tissue in joints. This may cause chests to sink in or protrude out and joints to weaken or, hyperextend.
- Pectus excavatum and stretch marks frequently occur together. A zinc deficiency causes abnormalities in the skin, which prevent it from stretching normally during periods of growth.
- Pectus excavatum is closely linked to collagen disorders like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta. Perhaps defective collagen and pectus deformities may occur together because they share a root causative factor -- a zinc deficiency.
- Zinc deficiencies in monkeys can cause rickets, which in turn may cause pectus deformities. It would be logical to consider the possibility that zinc deficiencies in humans may cause similar rachitic conditions.
- Zinc deficiencies in monkeys can be passed down from earlier generations, so this may explain why parents with pectus deformities often have children with pectus deformities. Maybe they aren't passing down a defective gene per se, maybe they are passing down a zinc deficiency.
- According to one study, "... the rib is more sensitive to diagenetic processes that alter elemental proportions than is the femur." In other words, if you have a mineral imbalance such as a zinc deficiency, it's more likely to show up in your ribs than in another place in your bones such as your legs.
- A surgeon who did her internship in paediatric surgery once commented that she noticed that many of the girls in the hospital for pectus excavatum surgery were abnormally flat chested for their ages, i.e. their breasts never really developed. If zinc deficiencies were a factor in pectus excavatum, then it would make sense that girls with the condition would also have underdeveloped breasts, since, as noted above, zinc deficiencies are known a known cause of lack of sexual development.
- People with pectus deformities also frequently are myopic (nearsighted). It may be because both conditions may have zinc deficiencies as factors.
- The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms. Albert Einstein.