Zinc is a cofactor for many enzymatic reactions including retinol dehydrogenase, is stored in the pancreas, and circulates in the blood bound mainly to albumin. Chronic alcoholic patients are frequently zinc deficient because of poor diet, deficiency of pancreatic enzymes, and increased urine excretion due to low zinc-binding albumin in the circulation. The consequences of zinc deficiency include night blindness from decreased production of retinal, decreased taste, and hypogonadism, which may result in lowered testosterone levels and increased risk of osteoporosis in men. Since zinc is required for cellular immunity, its deficiency may contribute to increased infection risk in alcoholic patients.

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