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Zinc in pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Zinc in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Zinc in pregnancy and breastfeeding

Sir Peter Gluckman

, Mark Hanson

, Chong Yap Seng

, and Anne Bardsley

Page of

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date: 01 March 2021

Zinc is an essential mineral involved in gene expression, cell growth and division, neurotransmission, and reproductive and immune functions. It is crucial for periods of growth, including pregnancy and lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Daily requirements in pregnancy increase by ~40, so adequate zinc stores should be ensured prior to pregnancy so that the high requirements of the developing fetus can be met. Inadequate zinc intake often accompanies general protein/calorie malnourishment but is also seen in individuals consuming poor quality diets. Diets low in animal protein and/or high in phytates (e.g. in whole grains) provide limited amounts of bioavailable zinc. Prenatal vitamins containing zinc are advisable with such diets. Zinc is required for male fertility, and supplementation may improve fertility in subfertile men.

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