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Effect of Oral Zinc Supplementation on the Growth of Preterm Infants

Zinc defiency is common in young infants in the developing word and is associated with reduced immunocompetence and increased rates of serious diseases.Low zinc concentrations have been observed in the cord blood of low birth weight newborn babies (<2500g ) and birth weight has been shown to be highly correlated with cord zinc concentration in India(2,3).For several


reasons,preterm infants have relatively high zinc dietary requirements and face special challenges to meet them .about 60% of fetal zinc is acquired during the third trimester of pregnancy,when fetal weight increases three – fold.Preterm infants(<37 weeks gestation) have lower zinc reserves than term infants and because of immaturity,they may be less efficient at absorbing and retaining zinc for growth.Zinc deficiency has a negative effect on the endocrine system,leading to growth failure,among other clinical manifestations zinc plays an important role in gene transcription and is also one of the most prevalent trace elements in the brain.

Zinc supplementation has been shown to reduce the rates of diarrhea and pneumonia, and to enhance physical growth of young infants(6). Several studies conducted in various parts of the world have shown beneficial effect of zinc supplementation in early growth of preterm babies (7,8). No study has been conducted in Bangladesh to evaluate the effect of zinc on growth of preterm babies. We conducted this study to evaluate the efficacy of oral zinc on growth of preterm infants.



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