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The best method of accurately determining zinc status is through measuring white blood cell levels. Since this test is not readily available and may be more expensive, serum zinc is routinely used as a screening tool. Hair levels may show deficiencies or excesses but are generally not considered as reliable as other tests of zinc status. While low hair zinc is likely to be indicative of poor zinc status, elevated hair zinc may be indicative of low zinc in the cells or contamination from the use of zinc-containing shampoos. The zinc taste test appears to be of some value in determining general zinc status.
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Serum: The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.
White Blood Cell: (WBC): A blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin: a blood corpuscle responsible for maintaining the body's immune surveillance system against invasion by foreign substances such as viruses or bacteria. White cells become specifically programmed against foreign invaders and work to inactivate and rid the body of a foreign substance. Also known as a leukocyte.
Zinc: An essential trace mineral. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are over 70 metalloenzymes known to require zinc for their functions. The main biochemicals in which zinc has been found to be necessary include: enzymes and enzymatic function, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is a constituent of insulin and male reproductive fluid. Zinc is necessary for the proper metabolism of alcohol, to get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in working muscles and to transfer it to the lungs. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth.