Zinc Links to Connective Tissue Disorders
Humans with connective tissue disorders commonly have stretch marks, scoliosis, hypermobile joints, delayed wound healing, reduced collagen, and frequent infections. In fact, these features are often used as diagnostic criteria for many of the connective tissue disorders. But are they really signs of incurable connective tissue disorders, or, at least in some cases, are they signs of zinc deficiencies that may have an inherited component? Here are some studies linking zinc deficiencies to connective tissue disorders: Zinc deficiency in animals resembles connective tissue diseases in man; Ehlers Danlos syndrome and zinc deficiency in an 8 year old; Pregnancy in Ehlers-Danlos and' zinc and copper deficiencies. As noted above, in a zinc deficiency study on human volunteers, their collagen and the sponge of their connective tissue was impacted. The study states that, "an adverse effect of zinc restriction on total protein, total collagen, ribonucleic acid, and the activity of deoxythymidine kinase (a zinc-dependent enzyme) in the sponge connective tissue of the two volunteers in whom this test was done was noted."
Emerging Marfan Syndrome or Progressing Zinc Deficiency?
Some patients with Marfan syndrome have what geneticists like to call "emerging Marfan syndrome". They don't have Marfan syndrome when they are born -- it "emerges" as they get older. Developing pectus excavatum or carinatum around puberty is a feature linked to Marfan syndrome. If Marfan syndrome was truly due only to an inherited mutated fibrillin gene, then why would it "emerge" at puberty or right before? Why would a mutation in the gene for fibrillin cause Marfans to be underweight? Why wouldn't the disorder show up right away if it was really caused only by genes? A zinc deficiency as a factor in Marfan syndrome and related connective tissue disorders would provide a logical explanation of why Marfans:
- Are often underweight.
- Get features of rickets ( bowed limbs, scoliosis, pectus excavatum) and why they often get these features at puberty, as opposed to other times in their lives.
- Get stretch marks (striae).
- Have defects in their connective tissue.
- Have hyaluronic acid abnormalities in their urine.
- Mitral valve prolapse (MVP has been linked to hyaluronic acid (HA)abnormalities in heart valves. HA is a zinc dependent biochemical.).
- Develop myopia (nearsightedness), macular degeneration, glaucoma cataracts and retinal detachment.
Perhaps "emerging Marfan syndrome" is really due to a treatable pre-puberty deficiency of zinc and other nutrients, with a genetic predisposition, rather than an incurable genetic disorder. If a zinc deficiency were a factor, then all of these unusual findings regarding emerging Marfan syndrome would have a completely logical explanation.