Effect of zinc intake on growth in infants: A meta-analysis

Nissensohn, M., Sánchez-Villegas, A., Fuentes Lugo, D., Henríquez Sánchez, P, Doreste Alonso, J, Peña Quintana, L, Ruano, C., Lowe, Nicola M orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6934-2768, Hall Moran, Victoria Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3165-4448 et al (2014) Effect of zinc intake on growth in infants: A meta-analysis. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 56 (3). pp. 350-363. ISSN 1040-8398

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2013.802661


A systematic review and meta-analysis of available randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to evaluate the effect of zinc (Zn) intake on growth in infants. Out of 5500 studies identified through electronic searches and reference lists, 19 RCTs were selected after applying the exclusion/inclusion criteria. The influence of Zn intake on growth was considered in the overall meta-analysis. Other variables were also taken into account as possible effect modifiers: doses of Zn intake, intervention duration, nutritional status, and risk of bias. From each select growth study, final measures of weight, length, mid upper arm circumference (MUAC), head circumference, weight for age z-score (WAZ), length for age z-score (LAZ), and weight for length z-score (WLZ) were assessed. Pooled β and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated. Additionally, we carried out a sensitivity analysis. Zn intake was not associated with weight, length, MUAC, head circumference, and LAZ in the pooled analyses. However, Zn intake had a positive and statistically effect on WAZ (β = 0.06; 95%CI 0.02 to 0.10) and WLZ (β = 0.05; 95%CI 0.01 to 0.08). The dose–response relationship between Zn intake and these parameters indicated that a doubling of Zn intake increased WAZ and WLZ by approximately 4%. Substantial heterogeneity was present only in length analyses (I2 = 45%; p = 0.03). Zn intake was positively associated with length values at short time (four to 20 weeks) (β = 0.01; CI 95% 0 to 0.02) and at medium doses of Zn (4.1 to 8 mg/day) (β = 0.003; CI 95% 0 to 0.01). Nevertheless, the effect magnitude was small. Our results indicate that Zn intake increases growth parameters of infants. Nonetheless, interpretation of these results should be carefully considered.

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