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Zinc supplementation lowers pregnancy complications, neonatal death and stillbirth

Posted:  Monday, July 13, 2015

Ladies start investing on the new metal in town, zinc!

Egyptian research throws light on the importance of zinc supplementation in zinc deficient pregnant women. It has shown that supplementation can help keep pregnancy complications, poor obstetric outcomes and newborn infections at bay.

Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the study involved 675 healthy pregnant women between ages 20 to 45 years. The intervention comprised either a placebo (270mg lactose) or 30mg of zinc sulphate alone or combined with vitamins B1, B6, D3, C and E. Participants were followed from the time of enrolment to a week after delivery.

The findings of the research showed that zinc either solely or combined with vitamins lowered both second and third stage pregnancy complications. The supplementation was also linked to reduced risk of stillbirth, preterm delivery as well as respiratory tract infections in newborns. However the researchers found no significant correlation of zinc supplementation with birth weight.

Interestingly, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) suggests 25mg of zinc as the upper limit for supplementation. In line with this, the NHS choices website states that consumption of large amounts of zinc impedes copper absorption and consequently begets anemia and weak bones. The 25 mg limit set by the NHS is 5 mg more than that given in the supplements group of the study.

It has long been known that zinc is essential for optimum growth, immunity and cognitive development in children. This study provides evidence required to include zinc supplementation along with iron and folic acid supplementation in Egypt’s antenatal care program. The researchers recommend the inclusion of zinc in women at risk of zinc deficiency.

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