Total plasma magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium concentrations in obese patients before and after bariatric surgery

Stephen J. Hierons, Anthony Catchpole, Kazim Abbas, Wingzou Wong, Mathew S. Giles, Glenn V. Miller, Ramzi A. Ajjan, Alan J. Stewart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Obesity enhances the risk of type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory conditions and often leads to metal dyshomeostasis, which contributes to the negative health aspects associated with the disease. In severe cases, bariatric surgery can be recommended to achieve sustained weight loss and improvement in health. Here, magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium concentrations were examined in 24 obese patients (7 males; 17 females) before and 9 months after undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. All patients lost weight over this period, with the mean BMI reducing from 51.2±7.1 kg/m2 to 37.2±5.5 kg/m2. Moreover, whole-blood glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), as a marker of average glycaemia, was also measured and a correlative analysis of this parameter with metal concentrations performed. Significant alterations in the plasma concentrations of magnesium, zinc (both increased by 13.2% and 25.2% respectively) and copper (decreased by 7.9%) were observed over this period (plasma selenium concentration was unchanged), with BMI values correlating with plasma magnesium (p=0.004) and zinc (p=0.022) concentrations. At 9 months post-surgery, an increase in mean zinc/copper ratio was observed (0.86±0.29 compared to 0.63±0.14 pre-surgery). Comparison of whole-blood HbA1c concentrations pre- and post-surgery revealed a reduction from 6.50±1.28% pre-surgery to 5.51±0.49% post-surgery. Differences in plasma HbA1c and magnesium at either pre- and post-surgery correlated significantly, as did HbA1c and magnesium levels when pre- and post-surgery values were analysed together. Collectively, this work reveals that bariatric surgery, in conjunction with lifestyle/dietary changes, lead to improvements in the nutritional status of magnesium, zinc and copper. Furthermore, the observed improvements in magnesium and zinc were associated with weight loss and in the case of magnesium, to better glycaemic control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-253
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Early online date9 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • ICP-MS
  • Metal homeostasis
  • Obesity
  • Roux-en-Y surgery
  • Zinc/copper ratio


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