The serum concentrations of zinc, copper and selenium in children with inflammatory bowel disease
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Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are a group of chronic inflammatory process of the bowel whose aetiology is unknown and are seen commonly in Caucasians and Jews, but rarely in blacks.1,2 These conditions are characterised by recurrent bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, tenesmus, malaise, perianal abscess and anaemia resulting in malabsorption and increased loss of nutrients.3 Zinc and selenium have been reported to be low in adults with IBD4,S and children with allergic colitis.6 Zinc deficiency leads to a decreased natural killer cell activity.7,8 There are conflicting reports of the copper status of adults with IBD.9,10 Oxygen free radicals mediate tissue injuries and a high level of free radicals has been observed in IBD.9 Antioxidant agents of which selenium and zinc are important mop up these free radicals. The available literature on the trace element status of children with inflammatory bowel disease is limited. Since trace elements are scavengers of free radicals, and since free radicals are high in IBD, this study aims at estimating the levels of the trace elements in children with IBD.