The intercept between the dashed line (line of equality for absorbed zinc) and the gender-specific lines is then used to determine the minimal quantity of absorbed zinc required to replace endogenous zinc losses.
With this approach, the calculated average total minimal quantity of absorbed zinc required for the men in these studies is 3.84 mg/ day (1.27 mg to match endogenous zinc losses from nonintestinal sources and, therefore, 2.57 mg/day to match intestinal endogenous zinc losses). The corresponding value for women is 3.3 mg/ day (1.0 mg/day to match endogenous zinc losses from nonintestinal sources and, therefore, 2.3 mg/day to match intestinal endogenous zinc losses).
These calculated average minimal values for absorbed zinc are then used as the principal indicator for establishing an EAR in step 4.
Step 4: Determination of the Average Zinc Intake Required to Achieve Absorption of the Quantity of Zinc Necessary to Match Total Endogenous Losses. The EAR is determined from the asymptotic regression of absorbed zinc on zinc intake (Figure 12-2) that was derived from the same data sets used for Figure 12-1. Thus, if 3.84 mg/day of absorbed zinc is required for men, the amount of ingested zinc, and therefore the EAR, is 9.4 mg/day. When this approach is used for women, the EAR is 6.8 mg/day. This value corresponds to average fractional absorptions of 0.41 and 0.48 for men and women, respectively. A similar fractional absorption of 0.4 was observed for adult men fed experimental diets from which zinc bioavailability is likely to be favorable (August et al., 1989).
Other Criteria for Men. Zinc deficiency has not been documented in healthy adult men in North America with the assessment methods currently in use. Some supportive data have been derived from one of the studies included in the factorial approach outlined above (Wada et al., 1985). This study included six men who received a diet containing 5.5 mg/day of zinc for an 8-week period. At the end of this period, several zinc-responsive biochemical changes had occurred, including declines in serum retinol binding protein, albumin, prealbumin, and thyroxin concentrations (Wada and King, 1986).
Other data from experimental zinc depletion studies are also consistent but at lower levels of intake (zinc intakes of 3 to 5 mg/day). These data include decreased erythrocyte metallothionein (Grider et al., 1990; Thomas et al., 1992) and zinc concentrations, decreased