Plasma Zinc Level in Hepatitis C Patients With or Without Beta Thalassemia Major; Is There Any Difference?

Background: Zinc deficiency has been reported frequently in hepatitis C patients in the literature. Furthermore, a decrease in zinc level has been shown in beta thalassemia major as well. Iranians consume a large amount of phytate in their regimens which can bind with zinc and decrease its gastrointestinal absorption. Objectives: This study was designed to determine plasma zinc level in an Iranian sample with the diagnosis of hepatitis C with or without concomitant beta thalassemia major. Patients and Methods: Between April 2011 and April 2012, plasma zinc level was determined via atomic absorption method, in 130 hepatitis C patients with or without beta thalassemia major in a known referral center of hepatic diseases in Tehran, Iran. Results: Mean ± standard deviation (SD) of plasma zinc levels was determined as 0.78 ± 0.22 mg/L. Also zinc level was 0.76 ± 0.19 mg/L and 0.80 ± 0.24 mg/L in thalassemic and non thalassemic patients, respectively. T-test analysis showed that there is no significant difference between these two groups regarding plasma zinc level (P = 0.235). Conclusions: It is concluded that zinc level of studied patients is less than which is reported in normal Iranian population. Moreover, there is not a significant difference in plasma zinc levels between thalassemic and non thalassemic patients and it seems to be a common problem in both ones. Addition of zinc supplement may be recommended in both groups in order to optimize the nutritional support and probably improve the treatment response.