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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2003 Jan;91(1):33-43.

Reference ranges of copper and zinc and the prevalence of their deficiencies in an Arab population aged 15-80 years.

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Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Kuwait University, Sulaibikhat, Kuwait.


Serum concentrations of copper and zinc were measured by flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry in 560 Kuwaitis aged from 15 to 80 yr who were in apparent good health to establish reference ranges and determine the prevalence of the deficiency of the trace metals. Zinc/copper ratios were derived by calculation. Because the mean +/- SD (microM) for copper in females (24.9 +/- 7) was significantly higher (p<0.0001) than in males (21.0 +/- 5.8) and vice versa for zinc (17.0 +/- 3.5 [males] vs 15.5 +/- 3.4 [females]) and zinc/copper ratios (0.87 +/- 0.28 [males] vs 0.67 +/- 0.27 [females]), gender-specific reference ranges were established in addition to reference ranges for the total population. The reference range for zinc was closer to those reported for other populations than was copper. Body mass index (BMI) and copper values were lower and the zinc/copper ratio was higher in the young (15-24 yr) compared to the older subjects. Copper concentrations were positively associated with BMI values (r=0.302, p<0.0001). Smokers had significantly lower (p=0.011) BMI than nonsmokers. The prevalence of copper and zinc deficiency, 0.36% and 0.53%, respectively, was low. Generally, the values for serum copper and zinc obtained for the Kuwaiti population studied suggest adequate dietary intake of the trace metals.

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