Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency is associated with impaired growth and maturation. Zinc deficiency is common in those with frequent diarrhea since zinc concentrations in gastrointestinal secretions are high. Nevertheless, there is little consistent population evidence that children who show recurrent acute diarrhea or who have prevalent growth faltering are improved by zinc supplementation. Supplementation of children with diarrhea in zinc-deficient environments may reduce the duration of diarrhea and thus the risk of persistent diarrhea, but does not reduce the risk of children developing diarrhea.

The original reports of zinc deficiency referred to short boys in the Middle East who had delayed puberty that responded to zinc supplementation with maturation and growth acceleration. However, few studies provide good evidence that zinc has a significant effect on maturation in the vast majority of children with pubertal delay. Clinical signs of zinc deficiency are unusual apart from the nonspecific signs of poor growth. In children fed artificial diets deficient in zinc or in those with acroderma-titis enteropathica (congenital lack of zinc-binding intestinal ligand), zinc deficiency results in severe diarrhea, peeling eczematous skin, and death from overwhelming infection and/or malnutrition without supplementary zinc. Breast milk contains a zinc-binding ligand that facilitates the absorption of zinc, so clinical evidence of acrodermatitis enter-opathica does not appear until breast-feeding ceases.

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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