Low serum zinc levels associated with increased incidence of pneumonia in elderly.
In a study of nursing home residents, patients with normal serum levels of zinc exhibited decreased incidence, severity and duration of pneumonia symptoms. Residents with low serum zinc levels (less than 70 mcg per decilitre) experienced increased incidence, longer duration of episodes, and required 50% more antibiotic prescriptions.
Simin N Meydani, Junaidah B Barnett, Gerard E Dallal, Basil C Fine, Paul F Jacques, Lynette S Leka, and Davidson H Hamer. Serum zinc and pneumonia in nursing home elderly. Am J Clin Nutr 2007 86: 1167-1173.
I would add a couple of things here. If you know an elderly person either in a home or going to hospital, build them up before they go – and then maintain their supplements as their diet is likley to be poor. My advice would be perhaps an easy to take nutritious powder or a Multivitamin and Mineral, plus a probiotic and Garlic or Olive Leaf for circulation and to kill off any bugs that may be prevalent in the environment. None of these should affect any other meds they are on, but always make sure you tell the GP/staff what else they are taking. We don’t look after our older people enough – it’s time to start!