Zinc supplementation for treating diarrhea in children

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Oral zinc supplementation significantly decreases diarrhea duration and has a greater effect on malnourished children. Zinc supplementation seems to be an appropriate public health strategy, mainly in areas of endemic deficiencies.

Diarrhea mortality rates have started to fall in recent years according to WHO and UNICEF data, however the rates in developing countries still remain too high. This review aims to update the existing evidence on treatment of diarrhea in children with zinc supplementation, as well as the effects of such treatment on the malnourished population. Eighteen randomized control trials were included for review, with participant data from 7314 children. Trials were considered to have a low risk of bias and were suitable for meta-analysis. Results showed zinc was beneficial for reducing the duration of diarrhea in hours, with a greater effect on malnourished children than the control. Incidences of vomiting were higher in the zinc group than the control.

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