The effect of prolonged (1 to 12 months) EN with commercially available products of the status of some oligoelements (zinc, copper, selenium) was studied for 27 patients with neoplastic and other pathologies; the influence of the original illness and nutritional conditions as determines through clinical, anthropometric and bio-humoral parameters were accounted for. The oligoelements content was also determined for commercially available nutritional mixes. After the EN treatment no changes were observed in nutritional conditions or the status of macroelements and copper. Zinc content was slightly below normal, while selenium and Se-dependent glutathione peroxidase showed an important progressive reduction in plasma and red blood cells. In conclusion the total EN through commercially available mixes, generally containing only traces of Se, succeeds in maintaining the initial nutritional conditions also in non-terminal neoplastic patients; however, the ensuing selenium deficiency must be corrected.
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