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J Paediatr Child Health. 1998 Feb;34(1):97-100.

Symptomatic zinc deficiency in breast-fed term and premature infants.

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  • 1Department of General Paediatrics, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


Two 3-month-old exclusively breast-fed infants, one born at full-term and the other born prematurely, developed symptomatic zinc deficiency manifested by an acrodermatitis enteropathica-like eruption. Inadequate breast milk zinc was demonstrated in both cases. A rapid clinical response followed oral zinc supplementation after which their serum zinc levels returned to normal. The infants remained asymptomatic following cessation of zinc therapy. Reports of similar cases suggest that in a group of infants breast milk does not meet their nutritional zinc requirements. Inadequate breast milk zinc is thought to result from a defect in transfer of zinc from maternal serum to breast milk.

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