Zinc - plasma or serum

Last updated: Wednesday, 31, March, 2004

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5 mL blood in lithium heparin or plain tube.

Zinc-free containers should be used.

Haemolysed specimens are unsuitable.


Atomic absorption spectrophotometry, spectrophotometry.

Reference Interval

12-20 µmol/L. Diurnal variation occurs.


Zinc toxicity.

Deficiency may occur in patients on parenteral nutrition, with burns, vomiting, malabsorption or gastrointestinal fistula losses, and in acrodermatitis enteropathica.


Plasma zinc levels do not reliably reflect body zinc stores.

Patients taking oral contraceptives may have borderline to slightly reduced zinc levels.


Prasad AS. Annu Rev Nutr 1985; 5: 341-363.

Tapiero H and Tew KD. Biomed Pharmacother 2003; 57(9): 399-411.