Background and Aims: Zinc (Zn) has various significant roles in physiological functions of the liver. Furthermore, it has been reported that the administration of zinc has an important role in pharmacotherapy of viral hepatitis. Cirrhotic patients with decrease in plasma zinc level have been covered in previous studies. It is seemingly necessary to assess the zinc level, in Iranian cirrhotic patients, as a distinct population, Because of the large phytate amounts in Iranians diet. Regarding to etiology, disease progress, and treatment, there are some differences in the 2 most common causes of cirrhosis in the Iranian population (hepatitis B and hepatitis C) and it is possible that the zinc level may be different between the two. This study was done to shadow some lights on the subject.
Methods: Between April 2008 and November 2008, plasma zinc level was determined, by atomic absorption method, in 60 cirrhotic inpatients treated due to hepatitis B or hepatitis C in Talighani hospital (a referral center for gastrointestinal and liver diseases in Tehran, Iran).
Results: Mean ± standard deviation (SD) plasma zinc levels determined 0.34±0.22 mg/L and 0.37±0.22 mg/L in hepatitis B and hepatitis C patients respectively. Analysis of t-test showed there is no significant difference between 2 groups regarding to plasma zinc level (P = 0.745).
Conclusions: It is concluded that zinc level of studied cirrhotic patients is less than half of the normal range. Moreover, there is no difference in plasma zinc level between cirrhotic patients due to hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Regarding to this result, supplementation with complementary zinc, may be recommended in both groups in order to optimize the nutritional support and probably better the treatment response.
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