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Z Gerontol Geriatr. 1999 Jul;32 Suppl 1:I55-63.

[Diagnosis of zinc deficiency].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Ernährungsphysiologie, Technischen Universität München.


Though far more common, particularly in elderly people, than was previously assumed, marginal zinc deficiency does not lead to the classical manifestations of zinc deficiency and is therefore difficult to diagnose. There is therefore a need for sensitive parameters that can reliably demonstrate even marginal zinc deficiency, as suboptimal zinc status can seriously impair human health, performance, reproductive functions, and mental and physical development. The most important criteria for the diagnosis of zinc deficiency are critically discussed. The laboratory parameters currently considered to be the most useful indicators of marginal zinc deficiency are zinc-binding capacity and serum/plasma alkaline phosphatase activity before and after zinc supplementation (zinc tolerance test!). In order to obtain a reliable assessment of a patients zinc status, a number of different diagnostic parameters should always be measured.

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