Serum extracellular superoxide dismutase activity as an indicator of zinc status in humans

Hee Y. Paik, Hyojee Joung, Joo Y. Lee, Hong K. Lee, Janet C. King, Carl L Keen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The present study focused on whether serum extracellular superoxide dimutase (EC-SOD) activity can be used as a functional indicator of marginal zinc deficiency in humans. Subjects in this study were 444 healthy adults over 30 yr of age living a normal rural life in Kyunggi province, Korea. The mean dietary zinc intake of subjects obtained from one 24-h recall was 6.41 ± 4.35 mg and the average serum zinc concentration of the subjects was 11.06 ± 2.44 μmol/L. Subjects were divided into three groups by serum zinc concentrations: adequate (serum zinc >10.7 μmol/L), low (serum zinc 9.0- 10.7 μmol/L), and very low (serum zinc <9.0 μmol/L) groups. A total of 50 subjects were selected from the three groups for analysis of EC-SOD activities. The EC-SOD activity of subjects increased with increasing serum zinc concentrations, and the activities of the three groups were significantly different as indicated by the Kruskal-Wallis test (p = 0.0239). Also, serum EC-SOD activities were significantly correlated with serum zinc concentrations (r = 0.289, p = 0.04). Serum EC-SOD activities, however, were not significantly correlated to the dietary zinc intakes. In conclusion, these results show that EC-SOD activities are decreased in subjects with low serum zinc concentrations and suggest that EC-SOD activity may be a functional indicator of zinc nutritional status in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Dietary zinc intake
  • Serum EC-SOD
  • Serum zinc
  • Zinc status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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