Zinc Transferred through Breast Milk Does Not Differ between Appropriate- and Small-for-Gestational-Age, Predominantly Breast-Fed Bangladeshi Infants1-3

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Abstract

Information is needed on breast milk zinc concentration and amount of zinc transferred to the infant in relation to the time since birth for both appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants. Breast milk zinc concentration and total milk volume were measured among mothers of AGA and SGA infants, using deuterium oxide “dose-to-mother” tracer technique and plasma zinc concentrations of mothers and infants. Forty-six mother-infant pairs (20 AGA and 26 SGA infants) were recruited from a low-income community in Bangladesh. Each mother-infant pair was studied 3 times: at 4, 12, and 24 wk postpartum. During each round, 2-wk studies of breast milk transfer were performed, using deuterium oxide dose-to-mother tracer technique. Breast milk samples were collected on days 1 and 5 of each round to determine milk zinc concentration. Mean ± SD birth weight and length were 3.02 ± 0.2 kg and 0.482 ± 0.012 m, respectively, for AGA and 2.34 ± 0.20 kg and 0.462 ± 0.011 m, respectively, for SGA infants, and both variables were different between groups (birth weight, P < 0.001; length, P < 0.001). Breast milk intake increased gradually with time postpartum in both groups. Breast milk zinc concentration decreased with increasing infant age (P < 0.001) but did not differ for mothers of AGA and SGA infants. Breast milk zinc transfer decreased significantly with age in both groups (P < 0.001) but did not differ by birth-weight category. Breast milk zinc concentration among Bangladeshi mothers and patterns of change at 24 wk were similar to those of wealthier countries, and there was no relation between infant birth-weight category and milk zinc concentration or transfer. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01728766. J. Nutr. 144: 771-776, 2014.

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