From Science Daily:

The trace element zinc has an impact on the essential metabolic functions of most living organisms. New research carried out by the Chair of Animal Nutrition at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has found that even minimal zinc deficiency impairs digestion, albeit without any typical symptoms such as skin problems or fatigue. Hence, short-term zinc deficiency in the diet should be avoided.

The test series established that even slight zinc deficiency in an animal’s diet impedes pancreatic digestive activity and results in significant digestive impairment, even at an early stage. The study undertaken by Daniel Brugger of the Chair of Animal Nutrition at TUM was recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Scientist Brugger charted a new path since all previous studies had compared the functions of animals with clinical zinc deficiency to those of animals that had adequate amounts of this trace element in their bodies. “It is important to note that, in nature, clinical zinc deficiency does not really occur, neither in animals nor in humans,” explains lead author Brugger. Hence, Brugger carried out his study on animals with short-term or subclinical zinc deficiency. As the trace element only exists in small amounts in an organism, it has to be consumed by way of nutrition. In piglets, for instance, a clinical or manifest zinc deficiency can — under feeding conditions applied in practice — only be achieved after about ten days, explains the TUM scientist. This is why he ended his test series early, after just…

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