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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2012 Jun;26(2-3):74-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 May 20.

The relationship between zinc intake and serum/plasma zinc concentration in pregnant and lactating women: a systematic review with dose-response meta-analyses.

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Maternal & Infant Nutrition & Nurture Unit, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK.


Recommendations for zinc intake during pregnancy and lactation vary widely across Europe. Using data on zinc intake and biomarkers of zinc status reported in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies can provide estimates of dose-response relationships that may be used for underpinning zinc reference values. This systematic review included all RCTs, prospective cohort studies, nested case-control studies and cross-sectional studies in healthy pregnant and lactating populations published by February 2010 which provided data on zinc intake and biomarkers of zinc status. An intake-status regression coefficient (βˆ) was calculated for each individual study and calculated the overall pooled βˆ and SE (βˆ) using random effects meta-analysis on a double log scale. The pooled dose-response relationship between zinc intake and zinc status found that a doubling of zinc intake was associated with an increase in serum/plasma zinc status by 3% in pregnant women and by 1% in lactating women. These modest associations are likely to reflect the low-moderate zinc bioavailability dietary patterns and the widespread use of other micronutrients in the populations included in this review, physiologic adjustments of zinc homeostasis, insensitivity of serum/plasma zinc as a biomarker of zinc status, and wide heterogeneity between study results which reflect real uncertainty in the current evidence base. Although this review provides useful information for dietary zinc requirements in populations vulnerable to zinc deficiency, it also highlights a need for further studies in pregnant and lactating women with different dietary patterns in order to provide useful complementary evidence that can be utilized when setting zinc recommendations as a basis for nutrition policies in Europe.

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