Alterations in calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc metabolism by dietary cholestyramine.


Watkins DW, Khalafi R, Cassidy MM




Dig Dis Sci


Cholestyramine is an effective drug for the reduction of plasma cholesterol because of its ability to sequester intestinal bile acids. Since metabolic alterations, including diminished intestinal absorption of vitamin D and osteomalacia have been reported with long- term use of this resin, the influence of cholestyramine on dietary balance of four mineral elements has been investigated. Wistar-strain rats were fed either a 2% cholestyramine or control diet for one month. Dietary intakes and fecal and urinary excretions of calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc were determined using atomic absorption spectrophotometry during three, 3-day balance periods. Cholestyramine- fed rats had a net negative balance for calcium and a lower net positive balance for magnesium, iron, and zinc than the controls. Other effects of cholestyramine were an increased urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium, a decreased urinary zinc, and an alkalinization of urine. Blood and tissue cation content was unchanged except for a reduction in serum magnesium with resin feeding. Alterations in calcium, magnesium, and zinc metabolism might be explained by inadequate vitamin D absorption from the intestine followed by an increased secretion of parathyroid hormone. A diminished iron absorption due to resin binding could account for the reported disturbance in iron balance.