Micronutrient deficits in patients with chronic pancreatitis: prevalence, risk factors and pitfalls

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OBJECTIVE: We investigated the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies and associated patient and disease-related risk factors in patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP).

METHODS: We enrolled 115 consecutive CP outpatients. Micro-nutritional assessments included plasma levels of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D and E) and trace elements (magnesium and zinc). Bioelectrical impedance and muscle function tests were used to characterize the macro-nutritional status (sarcopenia and phase angle). Prevalence of micro-nutritional deficiencies was estimated and associated with a number of patient and disease characteristics including presence of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) and diabetes mellitus. In an additional analysis, we explored the association between micronutrient levels and macro-nutritional status.

RESULTS: The mean age of patients was 57.9 ± 13.0 years, 71% were men and 50% had an alcoholic aetiology. Vitamin D deficiency (22%) was the most common micronutrient deficit followed by zinc deficiency (20%) and magnesium deficiency (17%). Vitamin A deficiency (10%) and vitamin E deficiency (7%) were only seen in patients with EPI (P ≤ 0.03), while the presence of trace element deficits was associated with plasma albumin levels (P ≤ 0.006). Plasma zinc levels were decreased in sarcopenic patients (P < 0.001) and positively correlated to phase angle (coefficient 0.28; P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Various micronutrient deficits were observed in CP outpatients, and associated risk factors were diverse and distinct for the individual nutrients. Taken together, our findings highlight the complexity of micronutrient assessment in patients with CP and emphasise the importance of simultaneous evaluation of plasma protein levels, inflammatory activity and macro-nutritional status.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1328-1334
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • BMI
  • albumin
  • chronic pancreatitis
  • exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • micronutrients
  • phase angle
  • sarcopenia


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