Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 323–331 | Cite as

Blood levels of copper, iron, zinc, and lead in adults in India and Pakistan and the effect of oral zinc supplementation for six weeks

  • Mohamed Abdulla
  • Catherine Suck
Original Articles


Deficiency in the intake of trace elements, such as copper (Cu), iron (Fe), selenium (Se), and zinc (Zn), is very common in the general population of most developing countries. A preliminary study in India and Pakistan showing the plasma levels of Zn and Fe indicates that approx 50% of the subjects who participated have low levels of both Fe and Zn, suggesting a marginal deficiency. The low plasma levels of these elements are more pronounced in females. The mean levels of Ze, Cu, and Fe in the plasma of 83 subjects were 0.71 ± 0.11, 0.96 ± 0.10, and 0.80 ± 0.12 mg/L, respectively. The Cu:Zn ratio in the plasma was 1.43 ± 0.16. Three groups of 15 subjects each were given three different levels of oral supplements of Zn (15, 30, and 45 mg of Zn as Zn gluconate) for 6 wk, and blood samples were analyzed during various intervals. Plasma concentration of Zn increased significantly (p < 0.001) in all the groups after 4 wk of supplementation and reached almost normal levels after 6 wk. Along with the increase in Zn, there was a significant decrease(p < 0.001) in plasma Cu levels. There were no changes in the concentration of Fe during the supplementation period. The supplementation was well tolerated by most subjects. The results of this pilot study indicate that Zn supplementation is a practical possibility comparable to that of Fe supplementation in order to prevent marginal Zn deficiency in vulnerable groups in the general population of developing countries.

Index Entries

Zinc copper iron infection deficiency supplementation 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Abdulla
    • 1
  • Catherine Suck
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of ScienceHamdard UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Labcatal LaboratoriesMontrougeFrance

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