BIOLOGICAL TRACE ELEMENT RESEARCH, vol.198, no.2, pp.403-409, 2020 (SCI-Expanded)
Zinc has shown to have an anti-androgenic effect through 5 alpha-reductase enzyme activity inhibition in skin. However, there are contradicting findings concerning the effect of zinc on hirsutism mainly from studies including adult women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The aim of our study was to investigate the association between serum zinc levels and hirsutism in adolescents. Between October 2017 and June 2018, 51 female adolescents with hirsutism (mean age: 16.11 +/- 1.47 years) and 51 healthy female controls were included in the study (mean age: 15.5 +/- 1.40 years). Adolescents with hirsutism were classified under two groups; PCOS (n = 34, 66.7%) and idiopathic causes of hirsutism (idiopathic hirsutism (n = 9, 17.6%) and idiopathic hyperandrogenemia (n = 8, 15.7%)). The serum zinc levels were measured via atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The mean zinc levels of adolescents with hirsutism (102.02 +/- 11.64 mu g/dl) and the control group (101.72 +/- 16.71 mu g/dl) were similar (p = 0.915). Additionally, there was no significant difference among the mean zinc levels of the hirsutism sub-groups and the control group (p = 0.979). While some studies demonstrated low zinc levels in women with hirsutism, some studies similar to ours showed no association. Adolescence is a developmental phase where generally isolated mild hirsutism is not associated with hyperandrogenism and more studies are needed to evaluate the effect of zinc on hirsutism in this age group.