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Acta Med Scand Suppl. 1976;593:38-49.

Zinc deficiency in malabsorption states: a cause of infertility?


Thirteen patients with malabsorption, 7 women and 5 men, were investigated extensively. All showed low serum zinc concentrations irrespective of the duration of illness and degree of malabsorption. Eleven of the 13 had active coeliac disease. It was suspected that the low serum zinc concentrations reflected a state of zinc deficiency, and this theory was borne out by the fact that no inflammatory reaction, no clear-cut albumin deficiency, and no oestrogen or corticosteroid influence could be demonstrated. All 7 women suffered from infertility, in most of them of long standing. Two showed secondary infertility after pregnancy and abnormal labour resulting in infants with congenital malformations (one case of bilateral congenital dislocation of the hip and one of multiple cardiac anomalies). I have reported similar complications in pregnancies in which the serum zinc was low. One of the infertile women conceived after the institution of gluten-free diet and zinc therapy, but later aborted spontaneously. Investigations on zinc metabolism and intestinal absorption might well prove valuable in otherwise unexplained infertility and could open up a new therapeutic approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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