Recent studies suggest that micronutrient deficiencies may be contributing to the development of obesity and chronic inflammation. Thus, the objective of the present study is to evaluate the relationship of zinc levels and inflammatory cytokines in school-aged children in a rural area of Querétaro, Mexico.
A total of 300 school-aged children (8.02 ± 1.5 y) participated in a cross-sectional study. Serum zinc and inflammation markers (IL-6, IL-10, TNF-a) were assessed in a fasting blood sample. Body composition (DXA) and anthropometric measurements (weight, height and waist circumference) were also determined.
The combined prevalence of overweight and obesity was 29% and 43.1% of the population had excess body fat. The prevalence of zinc deficiency was 18.2%. Zinc deficiency increases the risk of elevated concentrations of IL-6 (OR= 2.57; 95%CI: 1.26, 5.24) and IL-10 (OR=2.73; 95%CI: 1.33, 5.61, p<0.05). Overweight and obese children with higher zinc concentrations had a lower risk of elevated IL-6 (OR=0.90; 95%CI: 0.85, 0.96, p<0.05) and TNF-a (OR=0.93; 95%CI: 0.88, 0.97 p<0.05). In addition, children with higher zinc concentration that had excess body fat had a reduced risk of elevated IL-6 (OR=0.94; 95%CI: 0.91, 0.98, p<0.05).
In conclusion, higher zinc concentrations are associated with reduced risks of higher concentration of inflammation markers, particularly in children with overweight and obesity.