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Nutr Clin Pract. 2015 Feb;30(1):44-58. doi: 10.1177/0884533614563353. Epub 2014 Dec 19.

Review of trace mineral requirements for preterm infants: what are the current recommendations for clinical practice?

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Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina


Inadequate nutrient stores at birth are an inevitable consequence of being born prematurely. Preterm infants also have high nutrient requirements, which increase with earlier gestational ages. As a result, early nutrition intervention is required to prevent further deficits that, if not corrected, can affect growth and long-term outcomes. Preterm infants often require several weeks of parenteral nutrition (PN) support, which includes trace mineral supplementation. Trace minerals are considered essential nutrients, unable to be synthesized in the human body. Deficiencies of trace minerals have been reported, yet evidence-based guidelines for assessment and supplementation have not been clearly defined. Food and Drug Administration-approved parenteral trace mineral intake guidelines are more than 30 years old. In an effort to more clearly define trace mineral supplementation and monitoring guidelines for preterm infants, a review of literature was performed with the purpose to (1) summarize trace mineral roles in preterm infants, (2) describe clinical signs of deficiency and toxicity, and (3) present intake recommendations and considerations for preterm infants based on current available literature. Review of literature was completed using PubMed and Cochrane databases to find relevant studies specific to trace mineral requirements for preterm infants, trace mineral supplementation of PN, human milk fortifiers, and preterm infant formulas. Review of literature supports that trace mineral depletion can lead to clinical compromise in preterm infants; therefore, suggesting that every effort be made to ensure adequate provision of trace minerals is given to preterm infants. Practical considerations for the clinical nutrition management of preterm infants were also identified in this review.


chromium; copper; enteral nutrition; iodine; manganese; molybdenum; parenteral nutrition; premature infant; selenium; trace elements; zinc

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