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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):118-24.

Zinc absorption and kinetics during pregnancy and lactation in Brazilian women.

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Instituto de QuĂ­mica, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Adjustments in zinc absorption and endogenous excretion maintain zinc homeostasis in nonpregnant adults fed low-zinc diets. The effects on zinc homeostasis of a low zinc intake during pregnancy and lactation have not been described in a longitudinal study.


We examined longitudinal changes in fractional zinc absorption (FZA) and zinc kinetics in 10 healthy Brazilian women who habitually consumed a marginal zinc diet ( approximately 9 mg Zn/d).


Zinc status was measured at 10-12 (early pregnancy; EP) and 34-36 (late pregnancy; LP) wk of pregnancy and at 7-8 wk after delivery (early lactation; EL). Zinc kinetics and FZA were studied by using stable isotopic tracers.


Zinc intake averaged 9 +/- 3 mg/d throughout the study. FZA increased from 29 +/- 6% at EP to 43 +/- 10% at LP and to 39 +/- 13% at EL (P < 0.05). FZA was inversely related to plasma zinc at EL (r = -0.73, P = 0.02) and LP (r = -0.72, P = 0.07). Plasma zinc mass was 23% greater at LP than at EP or EL (P < 0.05). The amount of zinc (mg/d) that fluxed between plasma and the most-rapidly-turning-over extravascular pool was 53% greater at LP than at EP or EL (P < 0.05). The zinc flux between plasma and the less-rapidly-turning-over zinc pool at EL was 27% greater than that at EP or LP, but this difference was not significant.


FZA increased significantly in women with marginal zinc intakes during pregnancy and lactation; the increase was higher in women with low plasma zinc. Plasma zinc was distributed into a different exchangeable pool at LP than at EL.

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