Doctors often incorrectly diagnose zinc deficiency, according to a clinical audit in Scotland, and so induce cases of copper deficiency because misplaced treatment results in too much zinc.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, a publication from The BMJ, the findings come from an analysis of case notes from 70 patients prescribed zinc supplements at Glasgow hospitals in the decade from 2000-10.
The study found that 62% of patients were prescribed zinc at doses sufficient to cause copper deficiency.
"These findings underline the lack of awareness of zinc-induced copper deficiency," conclude the authors. They continue:
"Zinc is an essential trace element and so clinicians may consider it a safe nutrient rather than a drug carrying potential risk.
"This study offers persuasive evidence of a potential risk of iatrogenic copper deficiency being unwittingly caused by prescribing high doses of zinc."
The authors point out that the zinc requirement for adults is less than 10 mg a day. The dose most commonly prescribed, however, is 135 mg a day - yet "there is no evidence to support the prescription of zinc" at this level.
Continued in medicalnewstoday.com/articl...