Micronutrient Deficiency (2014) & Optic Neuritis


Learn more about optic neuritis.

Researchers examined the micronutrient blood levels in 36 optic neuritis (ON) patients compared to 38 healthy controls. The patients were 18 to 63 years old, a third had a form of optic neuritis in which the myelin covering protecting the nerve is inflammed and degraded. Two thirds of the patients had isolated optic neuritis in which they've experienced a first attack involving a single lesion on the optic nerve. (Learn more about how MRI can assist in prognosis by determining the exact location of such a lesion.) All of the patients had retrobulbar neuritis (in which the back of the nerve is damaged).

The researchers used a technique known as atomic absorption spectroscopy to evaluate patients' concentrations of zinc, iron, copper and cadmium in the blood.

They found that cadmium elevations were higher and lower levels of iron in both of the ON groups compared to the control group. They found that the patients with demyelinated nerve cells had higher levels of copper and that there was insignificant difference in levels of zinc. Their conclusion was that the levels of these elements in blood may be tied to the process of inflammation which causes optic neuritis.

Researchers: K. Kaźmierczak, G. Malukiewic, H. Lesiewska-Junk, A. Laudencka, M. Szady-Grad, J. Klawe, and K. Nowicki

Published: Blood plasma levels of microelements in patients with history of optic neuritis, Current Eye Research, January, 2014 Jan;39(1):93-8