Proton Pump Inhibitors Interfere With Zinc Absorption and Zinc Body Stores

Gastroenterology Res. 2011 Dec;4(6):243-251. doi: 10.4021/gr379w. Epub 2011 Nov 20.


Background: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) cause a sharp elevation of gastro-duodenal luminal pH which in turn has resulted in reports of reduced absorption of magnesium and certain other nutrients.

Methods: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients on long-term PPI therapy (> 6 months) or healthy test subjects (not on any acid preventive or neutralizing medication) were administered oral doses of zinc gluconate (26.2 mg zinc, twice daily) for 14 days followed by 5 cc venous blood samples. Plasma was analyzed for total zinc content by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Baseline plasma and red blood cell zinc levels were also measured in these two groups when not taking any zinc supplementation.

Results: Plasma zinc levels of healthy controls increased by 126% during the period of zinc supplementation compared to only a 37% increase for individuals on long-term PPI therapy. On their normal diet (with no zinc supplementation), PPI-users had a 28% lower plasma zinc level than healthy controls (P < 0.005).

Conclusions: PPI use dramatically reduces supplemental zinc uptake and can result in decreased zinc body stores. Certain individuals on long-term PPI therapy, such as infants being treated for colic, may be at risk for decreased systemic levels of trace metals needed for developmental, regenerative and immunological requirements.

Keywords: Acid; Colic; Intestine; Nutrition; Proton pump inhibitor; Stomach; Trace metal; Zinc; pH.