The effect of low dose iron and zinc intake on child micronutrient status and development during the first 1000 days of life

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There are no studies covering the full 1000 days window and the effects of iron and zinc delivered during pregnancy and lactation on child outcomes are ambiguous, but low dose daily iron and zinc use during 6–23 months of age has a positive effect on child iron and zinc status.

In the first 1000 days of an infant’s life, adequate intake of micronutrients is essential to ensure normal development and health. This review aimed to assess studies of interventions providing doses up to the recommended nutrient intake of iron and zinc between conception and two years old, on the nutritional status and development of children. Ninety randomized and quazi-randomized trials were included in the review, trails were deemed eligible for inclusion if their results were suitable for meta-analysis. The results showed no effect on birth outcomes when supplying zinc or iron during pregnancy. Specific iron doses increased mean hemoglobin and serum ferritin concentration, as well as reducing risk of anaemia, iron deficiency and iron deficient anaemia. No effect was found on growth or psychomotor development. Specific zinc doses showed increase in plasma zinc concentration and reduced the risk of zinc deficiency. Positive effects were also observed on z-scores for child weight-for-age and weight-for-height. No positive effects of zinc were found in height-for-age z-score, nor on the risk of stunting, wasting or underweight. There was limited or no data on the effects of iron/zinc during pregnancy and lactation on child iron/zinc status, growth, morbidity, and psychomotor and mental development.

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