Deakin University

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A question mark on zinc deficiency in 185 million people in Pakistan- possible way out

journal contribution
posted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by Nauman Khalid, A Ahmed, M S Bhatti, M A Randhawa, A Ahmad, R Rafaqat
This paper reviews research published in recent years concerning the effects of zinc deficiency, its consequences, and possible solutions. Zinc is an essential trace element necessary for over 300 zinc metalloenzymes and required for normal nucleic acid, protein, and membrane metabolism. Zinc deficiency is one of the ten biggest factors contributing to burden of disease in developing countries. Populations in South Asia, South East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa are at greatest risk of zinc deficiency. Zinc intakes are inadequate for about a third of the population and stunting affects 40% of preschool children. In Pakistan, zinc deficiency is an emerging health problem as about 20.6% children are found in the levels of zinc, below 60 μg/dL. Signs and symptoms caused by zinc deficiency are poor appetite, weight loss, and poor growth in childhood, delayed healing of wounds, taste abnormalities, and mental lethargy. As body stores of zinc decline, these symptoms worsen and are accompanied by diarrhea, recurrent infection, and dermatitis. Daily zinc requirements for an adult are 12-16 mg/day. Iron, calcium and phytates inhibit the absorption of zinc therefore simultaneous administration should not be prescribed. Zinc deficiency and its effects are well known but the ways it can help in treatment of different diseases is yet to be discovered. Improving zinc intakes through dietary improvements is a complex task that requires considerable time and effort. The use of zinc supplements, dietary modification, and fortifying foods with zinc are the best techniques to combat its deficiency.



Critical reviews in food science and nutrition






1222 - 1240


Taylor & Francis


Abingdon, Eng.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2016, Taylor & Francis