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Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Aug;68(2 Suppl):495S-498S.

Zinc and micronutrient supplements for children.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis 95616-8664, USA.


Provision of zinc supplements to children should be considered when their usual diet is low in absorbable zinc; severe stunting, low plasma zinc, or both; or persistent diarrhea. Inadequate zinc intakes are highly prevalent in developing countries, especially during the period of complementary feeding when zinc requirements are high and breast milk contributes little. To date, systematic evaluation of the acceptability of different zinc salts used as supplements is lacking. Some zinc salts are unpalatable and cause problems, such as nausea, at higher doses. Zinc carbonate and oxide are insoluble and poorly absorbed. Little information on the bioavailability of different zinc supplements in the presence of dietary inhibitors of zinc absorption exists. More information is needed on the quantity and frequency of dosing. Consideration should be given to the routine inclusion of zinc in iron supplements provided to children and to the simultaneous inclusion of other micronutrients in zinc supplements.

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