Zinc is an essential component of certain chemical reactions in the body, serving as a cofactor for metalloenzymes required for the regular functioning of the immune, gastrointestinal, dermatologic, neurologic, and reproductive systems of the human body. Populations which are most vulnerable to zinc deficiency include infants, young children, pregnant and lactating women. The two most important factors that interfere with zinc bioavailability include recent dietary intake and phytic acid intake. There are no good biomarkers of zinc status. The most widely identified biomarkers for assessing zinc status include dietary intake, serum zinc levels, and stunting prevalence. The main strategies to combat zinc deficiency include dietary diversity, zinc supplementation, zinc fortification, and biofortification. Zinc supplementation in children improves mean serum zinc concentration, improves height, reduces diarrhea morbidity, and leads to a small reduction in all-cause childhood mortality with no significant adverse effects. The most commonly used forms of zinc for fortification are zinc oxide and zinc sulfate and evidence suggests positive effects of zinc fortification in improving zinc status as measured by serum zinc, height, and weight gain in children. The choice of the strategy for increasing dietary zinc intake depends on the plausibility of successful implementation and attaining maximum coverage. While there is more evidence at present to support zinc supplementation, infant foods are being fortified with zinc and national programs have been introduced in Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, and South Africa to fortify wheat and/or maize flour with zinc.
|Title of host publication||Food Fortification in a Globalized World|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2018|
- food fortification
- micronutrient deficiencies