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December 1967

Significance of Magnesium and Zinc Metabolism in the Surgical Patient: II. Zinc

Author Affiliations

Columbia, Mo; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
From the departments of surgery, University of Missouri Medical Center, Columbia (Drs. Henzel and DeWeese), and the USAF Hospital Wright-Patterson, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio (Dr. Pories). Dr. Pories is now at the Department of Surgery, University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center.

Arch Surg. 1967;95(6):991-999. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1967.01330180139023

ZINC is one of the essential elements required by man. As one quantitatively ascends the spectrum of ions contained within the human organism, this element is encountered in the transitional zone between micronutrients and macronutrient trace substances. The total body zinc store in the average adult human ranges between 1.2 and 3 gm. This is about one-half the biologic store of iron, 10 to 15 times the store of copper, and 40 times that of iodine. The amount of zinc supplied by an average daily diet is approximately 10 to 15 mg but, as is the case for most orally ingested substances, the fraction actually absorbed from the intestinal tract is influenced by numerous physiologic mechanisms.1-3 Although zinc has been found in essentially all tissues, a preponderant 15% to 20% of the total body stores is concentrated within the skin and its accessory structures.

Quantitative biologic determinations vary according

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