Zinc - Serum
Zinc is necessary for immune function, wound healing, taste, smell and is essential for cell division and growth. Zinc also removes toxic metals such as copper, lead and mercury from the brain.
What might a low result mean?
Low zinc levels could be because of a zinc deficiency but levels can sometimes be low in response to an acute infection.
Zinc is transported around the body mainly bound to albumin, so it is useful to compare an abnormal zinc result with an albumin test result. While a low zinc concentration with a normal albumin can suggest zinc deficiency, a low zinc result with a low albumin concentration can suggest an infection and not necessarily zinc deficiency.
What might a high result mean?
Elevated zinc results are rare as any excess zinc in the body is usually excreted in the urine and faeces. Excessive supplementation of zinc can lead to raised levels which can be damaging to the kidneys. Symptoms of zinc toxicity include nausea, vomiting, lethargy and drowsiness.
How might I improve my result?
If your levels are too low, try to incorporate more zinc into your diet. Foods which are particularly rich in zinc include seafood, meat, dairy and eggs. Plant sources include pulses like chick peas, seeds, nuts and whole grains. Alternatively you can take a zinc supplement.
If your level is too high due to over-supplementation, it is important to stop or reduce your supplements as soon as possible. If you are taking zinc supplements under the guidance of your doctor, please speak to them first before changing your supplementation.