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Researchers Say Zinc Is Important To Neuron Communication, But Warn About Supplements

September 21, 2011: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study verifies the long-held assumption that zinc plays an important role in controlling communication between neurons in the brain, but researchers warn that people taking zinc supplements should use caution. Zinc supplements are sold without prescription to treat various brain disorders, including depression. But scientists aren’t sure if the supplements modify zinc content in the brain or modify communication efficiency between neurons. In the hippocampus – where learning and memory processes occur – disrupted communication may contribute to epilepsy. The researchers caution that people taking zinc supplements should be careful until there is enough information about desired zinc concentrations and how oral supplements affect them.
Enhui Pan, et al., "Vesicular Zinc Promotes Presynaptic and Inhibits Postsynaptic Long-Term Potentiation of Mossy Fiber-CA3 Synapse", Neuron, September 21, 2011, © Elsevier Inc.
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