Zinc and copper serum levels of morbidly obese patients before and after biliopancreatic diversion: 4 years of follow-up

J Gastrointest Surg. 2011 Dec;15(12):2178-81. doi: 10.1007/s11605-011-1647-y. Epub 2011 Aug 9.


Background: Zinc and copper are two essential trace elements. However, few studies have been conducted specifically to investigate these deficiencies in patients who underwent bariatric surgery. The aim of our work was to describe the influence of biliopancreatic diversion (BPD) on serum copper and zinc levels during 4 years.

Methods: We have analyzed a consecutive series of 65 patients who have been followed-up for 4 years after undergoing open BPD.

Results: The final (4 years) initial excess weight percent loss was 63.5%. A significant improvement of BMI, weight, waist circumference, and fat mass was detected. The preoperative average zinc (42.2 ± 53.2 μg/dl) and copper (61.3 ± 58.6 μg/dl) levels are under the lower limit of the normal values. These data show a deficient micronutrient status in morbidly obese patients, 73.8% of patients had low basal zinc values and 67.8% low basal copper values. Values of both micronutrients at different times (6 months, 1, 2, 3, and 4 years) were lower than basal value.

Conclusion: BPD is an effective method of sustainable weight loss. Otherwise, a high prevalence of zinc and copper basal deficiencies in morbidly obese seeking bariatric surgery was detected. These deficiencies of copper and zinc increased during the 4 years of follow-up after BDP.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biliopancreatic Diversion / adverse effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Copper / blood
  • Copper / deficiency*
  • Deficiency Diseases / blood
  • Deficiency Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / blood
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Preoperative Period
  • Spain
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / deficiency*


  • Copper
  • Zinc