This blood test measures Zinc levels in the red blood cells.
Zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system, from the skin barrier to gene regulation within lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). In fact, zinc is essential for the production of white blood cells and studies show that people with zinc deficiency are more susceptible to pathogens. Zinc is a crucial trace element required for the growth and healthy development of all living organisms. Zinc deficiency can lead to immune system dysfunction and impairments in growth, cognitive dysfunction, poor carbohydrate metabolism and hormonal function. Low dietary zinc is associated with hypogonadism, low Insulin Growth Factor-1, low testosterone and low levels of the thyroid hormone Free T4. It is estimated that nutritional zinc deficiency affects over 2 billion people worldwide, especially those in developing countries.
The USDA’s 1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intake has documented that over 70% of Americans do not consume the recommended daily allowance for zinc. Zinc is second to iron in body content and is found largely in the intracellular components of tissues in the liver, pancreas, kidney, bone, muscles, eyes, prostate, fingernails and skin. It is a cofactor for more than 300 known enzymes and plays a crucial role in maintaining the healthy function of DNA, RNA and transcription factors. Zinc is necessary to maintain normal serum testosterone. Inadequate zinc levels prevent the pituitary gland from releasing luteinizing and follicle stimulating hormones, which stimulate testosterone production. Zinc deficiency may have an impact on the male prostate gland. Research is ongoing to assess a possible correlation between zinc levels and prostate health. Zinc competes with copper and may contribute to a copper imbalance.
Test Preparation for Optimal Results:
No fasting required.
Your health care provider should evaluate a deviation from normal ranges.