Zinc deficiency in neonates and their mothers

Maternal zinc supplementation is associated with a decreased frequency of infections in infants in the first six months of life, and in low-income women it may reduce the risk of preterm birth. Neonates who are preterm, small for gestational age or have intestinal failure are at risk of zinc deficiency, which can be diagnosed by low levels of serum zinc (less than 55 micrograms per dl in cord blood). Clinical manifestations of zinc deficiency include dermatitis, growth retardation. However zinc deficiency may also increase the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, retinopathy of prematurity and chronic lung disease. Current recommendations for zinc intake may require revision to prevent zinc deficiency in NICU patients.

Zinc in early life. Terrin et al, 2015