Serum zinc, albumin and weight loss in older adults

J. Friedmann, G. Fosmire, K. Whitelock, H. Smiciklas-Wright, G. Jensen, M. McCamish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the longitudinal relationships between serum Zn and albumin and weight change in the elderly. The sample included 109 Medicare patients who had albumin < 3.5g/dl and/or were < 85% ideal body weight at the time of hospital discharge (D/C). This study was a secondary data analysis with a repeated measures design. Blood was drawn at the time of D/C and at 1 - and 6-months home visits. Weights were taken at 1-week, 1-month and 3-months home visits. Serum Zn values < 70 ug/dl were observed in 60% of the sample at D/C, 69% at 1month, and 59% at 6-months. Although D/C Zn and albumin values were not related, there was a positive relationship between the change in Zn and the change in albumin from D/C to 1-month (r = 0.36, p = 0.01) and from D/C' to 6-months (r - 0.56, p = 0.01). Low levels of Zn at D/C were also correlated to weight loss from baseline to 3-months (r = 0.41, p < 0.01). Zn deficiency is common among nutritionally compromised older adults and is correlated to early post-hospitalization weight loss. Return of Zn to normal levels occurs slowly in these individuals and parallels change in albumin levels. The relationship between Zn status and protein energy undernutrition warrants further investigation. Funded in part by Ross Laboratories. Columbus. OH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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