[Supplementation of trace elements in the general medicine]

Nihon Rinsho. 2016 Jul;74(7):1074-86.
[Article in Japanese]


Trace elements are the essential nutrients. Now, 9 elements, Fe, Zn, Cu, Se, I, Go, Cr, Mn, Mo, are recognized as essential trace elements. Serum concentration of Fe, Zn and Cu are about 100 μg/dL, and have important physiological roles. Zinc needs special care because over 300 enzymes contain Zn, and zin deficiency cause various disorders. In advancing age serum Zn concentration decrease. Although the daily requirement of zinc is 10-15 mg in adults, it is necessary to supply much more zinc than adult, by the reason of low intake and low absorption in the elderly. In the geriatric ward of the hospital, many zinc deficient patients suffered from decubitus ulcers, dermatitis, alopecia, taste disorders etc. A 86 y.o. female with deep sacral decubitus ulcer was shown in this report. Her decubitus ulcer was completely recovered after daily administration of polaprezinc containing 34 mg Zn for 18 months, A 76 y.o. female brought about severe hypocupuremia. Serum Cu concentration decreased from 112 μg/dL to 7 μg/dL after 5 months daily administration of 34 mg Zn. Serum Zn concentration elevated from 47 μg/dL to 117 μg/dL, and Cu/Zn ratio decreased 2.38 to 0.06. After stopped zinc supplementation, serum Cu rapidly increased in a 2 month period. At the same time, serum Zn decreased quickly. It was the interesting fact that anemia improved associated with the increase of serum Cu. In the geriatric ward of the hospital, it is necessary to supply zinc in order to prevent respiratory infections such as pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Infections
  • Skin Ulcer / drug therapy
  • Zinc / administration & dosage*
  • Zinc / deficiency
  • Zinc / therapeutic use


  • Zinc