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Category Biochemistry Biochemistry >> Trace elements
Test background

Zinc is an essential trace element, stored mainly in muscle. Approximately 80 % of circulating zinc is present in the red cells. Zinc is a component of many enzymes, required for transcription factors, antioxidant function, immune system, respiration and neurological function, and is crucial for normal growth and maturation.

Clinical Indications

Suspected deficiency: symptoms include mouth ulcers, a characteristic rash, alopecia, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, with depression and lethargy; classically seen in a high phytate diet.

There is increased risk of zinc deficiency in elderly, alcoholic, critically ill patients, burns, excessive/prolonged gastrointestinal losses and high phytate diets.

Rare inborn errors e.g. acrodermatitis entropathica

Monitoring of nutritional requirements for patients receiving parenteral nutrition or after bariatric surgery

Reference range

See Report

Sample & container required Serum: Trace element free (royal blue top). Standard blood tubes are often contaminated with zinc and are not acceptable.Urine: Sterile universal 24 hour collection
Sample volume 0.5 mL
Transport storage Stable at 2-8oC. Sample can be sent by first class post.
Turnaround time 1 week

Grossly haemolysed samples are unsuitable for this assay.