Lower zinc levels linked to more severe alopecia

Zinc and hair lossLower serum zinc levels are associated with worse outcomes in patients with alopecia areata, according to a study published online July 3 in the International Journal of Dermatology.

Researchers found that patients with alopecia areata had significantly lower serum zinc levels, compared to controls. Patients with resistant alopecia areata also had significantly lower zinc levels compared to patients with newly diagnosed disease.

There was a significant inverse correlation between serum zinc level, severity of disease, and disease duration in all patients, as well as in patients with resistant alopecia areata.

Background

Alopecia areata (AA) is a non-scarring, autoimmune, inflammatory hair loss disease. Zinc is a trace element involved in important functional activities of hair follicles.

Purpose

To evaluate serum zinc levels in patients with newly diagnosed and resistant lesions of AA in comparison to age- and sex-matched healthy controls.

Methods

The present study included 100 subjects: 50 patients with AA divided into two equally distributed subgroups (25 patients with recent onset AA [subgroup 1] and 25 patients with resistant AA [subgroup 2]) and 50 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Serum zinc levels were assessed in all subjects.

Comparison of mean serum zinc levels was done between all patients and controls, between patients’ subgroups as well as between patient’s subgroup and controls.

Correlations between serum zinc level and extent of AA and its duration were also done in all patients and each patient’s subgroup.

Results

A significantly lower serum zinc level was found in patients with AA compared with controls and was significantly lower in patients with resistant AA compared to patients with newly diagnosed AA.

Significant inverse correlations existed between serum zinc level, severity of AA, and disease duration in all patients as well as in patients with resistant AA.

Conclusion

Lower serum zinc level existed in patients with AA and correlated inversely with disease duration, severity of AA, and its resistance to therapies.

Therefore, assessment of serum zinc level in patients with AA appears useful as a marker of severity, disease duration, and resistance to therapies. Accordingly, zinc supplements may provide a therapeutic benefit.

Source

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