Zinc Supplementation in Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infants

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SummaryInadequate zinc intake may lead to poor growth and developmental outcome in very-low-birth-weight (VLBW; < 1,500 g) infants. Fifty-two infants (mean birth weight, 1,117 287 g; mean gestational age, 29 ± 2.9 weeks) were randomly allocated to two groups. SUPP infants received a regular term formula plus zinc supplements (4.4 mg/L; final content, 11 mg/L); PLAC infants received the same formula plus placebo (final content, 6.7 mg/L). Infants started their formula at 1,853 ± 109 g, and consumed the formula for 6 months. All subjects were evaluated at 3, 6, 9, and 12 ± 0.75 months corrected-for-gestational-age. At each evaluation, weight, length, and head circumference were measured, a Griffiths developmental assessment was performed, and a blood sample was taken. Higher plasma zinc levels (p < 0.05) were found in the SUPP group at 1 and 3 months, and improved linear growth velocity was found in the SUPP group over the study period for the whole group as well as for girls alone. Maximum motor development scores were higher (p = 0.018) in the SUPP (98 ± 10) than the PLAC (90 ± 8) group, indicating that increased zinc intake in early infancy may be beneficial to VLBW infants.

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