Opgepoetst | 17-5-2019
Zinc pills prevail where development programmes fail
Maybe we cannot feed the whole world just yet, but perhaps we can do something to reduce the amount of sickness that is due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Experts predict that pregnant women and young children in developing countries will receive supplements as a standard procedure within twenty years. One of the components of the supplements is zinc. A group of experts questioned whether this was such a good idea at the IAC in Wageningen.
Thirty-five international zinc experts gathered in Wageningen this week to discuss ten studies on the effects of zinc on pregnant women and their children. Three of the studies were carried out by Wageningen PhD researchers. The workshop 'Public Health Importance of Maternal Zinc Deficiency' will probably result in a review article, in which not only the potential benefits of zinc supplements for pregnant women will be outlined, but also where research is still required.
"Other studies also came up with similar conclusions," said Osendarp who was present at the workshop. "We don't yet know why this is." One theory is that enzymes are needed to make the zinc work, and babies do not make the enzymes yet.
Most of the research results discussed at the workshop are positive, and some of the researchers are in favour of zinc supplements. However, some research has uncovered less positive aspects, which has made some researchers hesitant. By the age of one Osendarp's zinc babies were behind in their development. "The difference was small, but it was statistically significant," she comments.
Weekblad voor Wageningen UR, 21 juni 2001.