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Indices of iron and copper status during experimentally induced, marginal zinc deficiency in humans

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Abstract

This study examined the effect of diet-induced, marginal zinc deficiency for 7 wks in 15 men (aged 25.3±3.3 yrs; mean±SD) on selected indices of iron and copper status. The regimen involved lowzinc diets based on egg albumin and soy protein with added phytate and calcium such that mean [phytate]/[Zn] and [phytate]×[Ca]/[Zn] molar ratios were 209 and 4116, respectively, for 1 wk, followed by 70 and 2000, respectively, for 6 wks. Subjects were then repleted with 30 mg Zn/d for 2 wks. Plasma copper, Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase (Cu, Zn-SOD) activity in plasma and red blood cells (RBC), hemoglobin, hematocrit, and serum ferritin were determined weekly on fasting blood samples. Significant reductions (p<0.05) after 7 wks in RBC Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase (49.5±7.2 vs 33.6±6.3 U/mg Hb) and serum ferritin (69.2±38.7 vs 53.8±33.7 μg/L) occurred; no comparable decline was noted for plasma Cu, hemoglobin, or hematocrit. Significant (p<0.05) but less consistent changes were also observed in plasma superoxide dismutase activity. None of the changes were associated with the decreases in plasma, urinary and hair zinc concentrations, and alkaline phosphatase activity in RBC membranes. Results indicate that the biochemical iron and copper status of the subjects was marginally impaired, probably from the dietary regimen that induced marginal zinc deficiency.

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Ruz, M., Cavan, K.R., Bettger, W.J. et al. Indices of iron and copper status during experimentally induced, marginal zinc deficiency in humans. Biol Trace Elem Res 34, 197–212 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02785247

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