Many people with gut diseases have zinc deficiency

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Zinc deficiency is notably prevalent in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), with a higher incidence found in individuals with Crohn’s disease (CD) than those with ulcerative colitis (UC), according to a new study published in Nutrients.

Researchers, led by Roberta Zupo from the National Institute of Gastroenterology “Saverio de Bellis” in Italy, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the prevalence of zinc deficiency in IBD patients.

The team examined nine articles that met the inclusion criteria, incorporating 17 prevalence entries for CD and UC (nine and eight, respectively).

Findings revealed that the prevalence of zinc deficiency was higher in CD patients than in UC patients across the selected studies.

Pooled analyses indicated an overall mean zinc deficiency prevalence of 54% in the CD population compared to 41% in the UC population.

In the meta-analysis, the overall prevalence was estimated at 50%, with a high level of heterogeneity (I2, 96%). The risk of bias across the selected studies was assessed as moderate to low, and no evidence of publication bias was found.

The researchers emphasized the importance of monitoring zinc levels as part of patient care due to the high prevalence of deficiency among IBD patients.

“According to our results, zinc deficiency is more prevalent in the CD population, probably due to the more severely malabsorptive nature of this condition and also in light of the proximal site of zinc absorption in the intestine,” the authors wrote.

This study underscores the significance of zinc as a critical micronutrient in managing IBD and provides new insight into the nutritional challenges faced by IBD patients, particularly those with CD.

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The study was published in Nutrients.

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