Zinc supplements for bone fractures?
Zinc supplementation may speed up the healing of broken bones. This is suggested by a small human intervention study in which subjects with a broken bone were given a moderately dosed zinc supplement daily.
In 2008, researchers from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran published a small human study in which 60 patients with a broken bone participated as test subjects. The researchers divided the patients into 2 groups of equal size. For 60 days, one group received a daily supplement with 50 milligrams of zinc sulfate, while the other group received a daily placebo.
50 milligrams of zinc sulfate contain 11.5 milligrams of elemental zinc.
The test subjects consumed 5-6 milligrams of zinc daily through their regular diet. This is relatively low. American nutritional scientists have set the recommended daily intake of zinc at 8-11 milligrams of elemental zinc per day.
When healing broken bones, the body needs more zinc than normal.
When the researchers took scans of the bone fracture 60 days after the bone fracture and compared them with scans made when the trial started, they saw that new bone tissue had formed [callus] in half of the subjects in the control group [Control]. New formation of bone tissue in the event of a bone fracture indicates healing of the fracture.
This was the case for 80 percent of the subjects in the zinc group [Case].
There are still no medicines that accelerate the healing of broken bones, the researchers write in the final paragraphs of their article. Although more research is needed, the Iranians say, their small intervention study suggests that zinc supplementation "may have a role as a pharmacological tool in the healing of bone fracture in humans."
Saudi Med J. 2008 Sep;29(9):1276-9.
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