Typically, zinc intakes are below recommended amounts for pregnancy even in industrialized countries. In populations in which zinc deficiency is common, the prevalence of malformations and low birth weight is higher, although the causal role of zinc deficiency has not been proven. Zinc supplementation is recommended for pregnant women who ordinarily consume an inadequate diet, smoke, are substance abusers, or are carrying multiple fetuses. However, copper absorption may begin to be impaired at zinc intakes of approximately 18.5 mg/day, and a daily intake of 50 mg zinc impairs both iron and copper absorption. These negative effects are believed to be stronger if the minerals are taken without food.
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