The first thing to understand when beginning nutrition investigations, is the unfortunate language of the lab. Specifically, the term 'normal'.
The 'normal' range is often quite a broad range which in many cases includes both sick and healthy people.
There is a much smaller range within the normal range that can be described as 'optimal'.
For example, the normal range for zinc is 10-20 umol/L. ms patients average in the low teens. healthy controls average in the high teens.
One example of the danger of the word 'normal' is this: recently a patient here at TIMS asked for a zinc test and was told the level was fine. When the patient asked for the number it came back 10.083 umol/L. This patient was not told that the level was suboptimal, or even borderline deficient, just that it was 'fine' - ie the computer did not red flag it because the value was within the min and max setpoints. (6/30 edit: i was reading a source today which listed the normal range for zinc as 11.5 - 18.5 umol/L so by that definition of normal, the TIMS patient was actually deficient. just a different set up at the lab and you're 'fine')
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