Issue 9, 2020

Postprandial zinc stable isotope response in human blood serum


In recent years, considerable advances have been made in the field of medical isotope metallomics, but numerous fundamental physiological processes remain to be investigated. Past studies report that blood serum Zn concentrations decrease by between about 10 and 25%, depending on the size of meal, approximately three hours postprandially (i.e. after eating), before returning to baseline values if no meals are consumed over the following four to five hours. Nine participants were recruited for this study to investigate whether this postprandial Zn concentration decrease is accompanied by a stable isotope response. A baseline serum sample was collected from participants in the morning after overnight fasting. A 576 kcal meal was then provided and additional serum samples were taken 90 and 180 minutes post-meal to coincide with the postprandial response. Serum Zn concentrations decreased postprandially by an average of 21 ± 9% (1SD), but this was not accompanied by a change in stable Zn isotope composition (mean Δ66Zn180-minute-baseline = 0.01 ± 0.09‰, 2SD). We propose that hemodilution and the rapid, efficient postprandial transfer of albumin-bound Zn from serum to the liver and pancreas is responsible for the lack of postprandial serum Zn isotopic response. These results indicate that studies examining solely the distribution of Zn isotopes in serum may obtain samples without considering timing of the most recent meal. However, future studies seeking to compare serum Zn concentrations with δ66Zn values should draw blood samples in the morning after overnight fasting.

Graphical abstract: Postprandial zinc stable isotope response in human blood serum

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
12 May 2020
29 Jun 2020
First published
29 Jun 2020

Metallomics, 2020,12, 1380-1388