The researchers found that nearly two-thirds of patients were prescribed zinc at doses high enough to cause copper deficiency. Based on blood tests results, the researchers estimated that 48% of the patients had low zinc levels as a result of low concentrations of albumin , a protein in the blood that carries zinc around the body, or due to widespread inflammation in the body, which can also lower zinc measurements in the blood. A copper deficiency can cause anaemia , low white blood cell count, and nerve damage .
- Most people in the UK can get enough zinc from eating a healthy diet, so taking zinc supplements isn’t necessary.
- In other words, nearly half the patients were misdiagnosed with a zinc deficiency based on misinterpretation of blood test results.
- Zinc deficiency is more common in older people, especially those living in care homes , in people who take diuretics (drugs used to treat various disorders, including high blood pressure ), and in alcoholics.