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October 1984

Zinc Absorption From Human Milk: Need for Zinc Supplementation-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Nutrition University of California Davis, CA 95616
Department of Clinical Nutrition University of Göteborg Göteborg, Sweden

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(10):990. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140480091031

In Reply.—We read with interest the letter by Drs Gupta and Gupta. We agree that zinc nutrition of the neonate should still be of concern and that zinc requirements may need to be reevaluated; however, we take issue with some of the statements provided.

That two single cases of zinc deficiency in infants have been reported is surely not sufficient evidence to contradict the statement that zinc deficiency is rare in breast-fed infants. Although we are aware of two additional cases,1,2 all four of these infants were born prematurely. It is well known that premature infants will have lower stores of trace elements such as zinc, copper, and iron3 and consequently have higher requirements than full-term infants. We agree that pooled mature breast milk may provide inadequate amounts of zinc to compensate for this increased demand. There are several reasons why it is often recommended that the