Pancreatic secretions have been shown to be important in zinc absorption in experimental animals. Recently, complete surgical diversion of biliary and pancreatic secretions from the functioning small intestine has been utilized in Europe to treat morbid obesity. To determine the importance of pancreatic secretions in zinc absorption in the human, we measured hair and serum zinc levels in 14 patients having undergone complete biliopancreatic bypass 12-56 months earlier and compared these values with those obtained from 11 patients subjected to only partial biliopancreatic bypass as well as to six morbidly obese controls. No differences were observed in either hair or serum zinc levels between any of these groups of patients. Pancreatic secretions do not appear to be necessary for adequate zinc absorption in humans.
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