Children are not benefitted by consumption of zinc supplements in terms of weight gain although iron supplements were found to reduce anaemia in a research study undertaken among Laotian children.
The study was conducted among 3407 children in the age group of 6-23 months. They were either given zinc tablets in therapeutic form or as preventive or a micronutrient powder containing zinc along with iron. It was found that preventive zinc supplements containing 7mg zinc/day did not lead to weight gain nor did micronutrient powder sachets that contained 10 mg zinc. Therapeutic zinc used in treatment in diarrhoea also did not have any impact on linear growth. However, micronutrient powder rich in zinc and lower concentration of iron improved the haemoglobin levels in those children who were anaemic.
The study assumes significance for low and middle income countries where more children suffer from anaemia and faltering growth. Zinc and iron supplements are usually recommended for physically weak children to build appetite and ensure physical growth. However, the new study shows that zinc supplementation doesn't have any impact on physical growth while micro-nutrient powders containing more Zinc and less iron are good for anaemic children to improve the haemoglobin levels.