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What is Zinc Urine test?

Zinc urine test measures the amount of zinc your body is eliminating with urine. 

Zinc is present in the body in trace amounts. It plays a vital role in maintaining immunity, enzyme activity, protein function and structure of proteins and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). Most of the recommended daily requirement of zinc can be obtained from foods such as fish, meat, dairy products, vegetables and grains. It gets absorbed through the gut and is distributed to almost all cells in the body. Though our body does not store zinc. Almost all of the excess zinc is eliminated through urine. 

So, checking for zinc urine levels helps determine if you are taking too much zinc.

  1. Why is a Zinc Urine test performed?
  2. How do you prepare for a Zinc Urine test?
  3. How is a Zinc Urine test performed?
  4. Zinc Urine test results and normal range

Zinc supplements are usually given to people who are deficient in zinc. A zinc urine test is primarily ordered to people who are undergoing zinc supplementation therapy. This test helps assess the efficacy of the therapy. It is used especially to determine the presence of zinc toxicity. Excessive zinc may suppress the absorption of other elements like copper.

Zinc toxicity manifests in the form of:

Additionally, a zinc urine test is done to check for zinc deficiency. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include:

In children, zinc deficiency can lead to retardation in their growth.

Zinc helps in wound healing; your doctor may order a zinc urine test if you have delayed wound healing or diabetes.

You do not need any special preparation for this test. Inform your doctor if you are consuming any medications, vitamins or supplements. Even over-the-counter drugs and illicit drugs that you consume should be reported. Do not stop the consumption of any medication until your healthcare provider asks you to do so.

Zinc urine test is performed on a 24-hour urine sample. The sample is collected in the following way:

  • You will be given containers to store your urine throughout the time period. Along with that, you will be given a special pan to collect your urine. Transfer the urine from the pan to the container for proper storage. 
  • Start collecting urine as per the time given by your doctor. Generally, early morning is suggested to be the right time to start collecting a 24-hour urine sample.
  • Flush the first urine specimen. Note the time as the starting point of the 24-hour period.  
  • In the following 24 hours, collect all your urine and store it in cold condition either in the refrigerator or on ice. 
  • Try to urinate at the same time the following day, marking the end of the time period. If you cannot urinate, it is not a problem.
  • Once the collection is complete, take the samples to the lab.

It is an easy and safe test. A few factors that can affect the results are as follows:

  • Losing urine from the container due to spillage
  • Not maintaining the sample in cold condition
  • Forgetting to collect some of the urine
  • Collecting urine after the 24-hour time limit

Normal results: 

The normal levels of zinc in the urine should be 20-967 mcg/24 hours daily. If your results fall in this range, you need not worry. 

Abnormal results:

High urinary zinc is an indication that you are taking too much supplement. Results of a zinc urine test are usually correlated with serum levels of zinc.

High amounts of urinary zinc, along with low serum zinc, can indicate the following:

  • Hepatic cirrhosis
  • Neoplastic diseases
  • Increased catabolism

Low urinary zinc, along with normal or raised serum zinc, indicates a large dietary source of zinc.

Low urinary zinc, along with low serum zinc, may indicate a zinc deficiency.

Disclaimer: All results must be clinically correlated with the patient’s complaints to make a complete and accurate diagnosis. The above information is provided from a purely educational point of view and is in no way a substitute for medical advice by a qualified doctor.

References

  1. Zorbas YG, Kakuris KK, Neofitov IA, Afoninos NI. Zinc utilization in zinc-supplemented and -unsupplemented healthy subjects during and after prolonged hypokinesia. Tr Elem Electro 2008;25(2):60-68.
  2. Afridi HI, Kazi TG, Kazi NG, et al. Evaluation of cadmium, lead, nickel and zinc status in biological samples of smokers and nonsmokers hypertensive patients. J Human Hyperten 2010;24(1):34-43.
  3. Sata F, Araki S, Murata K, et al. Behavior of heavy metals in human urine and blood following calcium disodium ethylenediamine tetraacetate injection: observations in heavy metal workers. J Toxicol Environ Health A 1998;54(3):167-178. PMID: 9643870.
  4. Lowe NM, Fekete K, Decsi T. Methods of assessment of zinc status in humans: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;89(6):2040S-2051S. PMID: 19420098.
  5. Johns Hopkins Medicine [Internet]. The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System; 24-Hour Urine Collection
  6. ARUP Labs [Internet]. University of Utah. Salt Lake city. Utah. US; Zinc, Urine

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