Zinc Status of Filipinos by Serum Zinc Level

 Juanita M. Marcos, Leah A. Perlas, Phoebe Z. Trio, Joselita Rosario C. Ulanday,
Revelita L. Cheong, Josefina A. Desnacido and Mario V. Capanzana

Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology
Nutrition Research and Development Group
DOST Complex, Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig City, Philippines

corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Background: Zinc deficiency has been considered an important and widespread risk to human health,ranking 5th among the 10 leading causes of illness and disease in developing countries. To date, zinc status data using serum zinc at national level are still very limited, so global prevalence remains unknown. Objective: This paper aimed to determine serum zinc levels and magnitude of deficiency among all Filipino age/physiologic groups in the 2008 National Nutrition Survey. Methods: Utilizing a multi-stage stratified sampling design, zinc status was assessed using serum zinc levels determined by atomic absorption spectrometry. Prevalence and magnitude of zinc deficiency was evaluated using the suggested lower cut-offs and guidelines for public health concern of the International Zinc and Nutrition Consultative Group, respectively. Results: The national estimate of zinc deficiency in the Philippines was 30.0%, with a mean serum zinc level of 84.0 ± 0.5µg/dL. Prevalence of zinc deficiency in all Filipino age and physiologic groups was considered of high magnitude (>20%). The highest prevalence was noted among lactating women (39.7%), the extent peaking among those in their 1st 6 months of lactation (45.6%). Males predominantly presented higher deficiency rates than females, except in adults, 20 – 29 and 30 – 39 y-old groups. Among males, older persons ≥ 70 y-old exhibited highest rate (39.5%). Conclusions: Zinc deficiency in the Philippines is of significant public health concern, both at the national level and in different age/physiologic groups. Lactating women is the most at-risk group to zinc deficiency and males are generally more vulnerable than females.



Zinc is an essential trace element for humans; it is involved in the synthesis and degradation of carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acid and is required for function of enzymes involved in growth and bone development(Gibson 1994).Given the diverse array of biologic functions zinc performs, zinc deficiency maybe more widespread and may have far reaching risks to human health than have been previously realized. Zinc deficiency ranks 5th among the 10 leading causes of illness and disease in developing countries(WHO2002). . . . . read more



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