Petry N, Olofin I, Boy E, Angel MD, Rohner F
December 2016 – Nutrients
Adequate supply of micronutrients during the first 1000 days is essential for normal development and healthy life. To investigate if interventions administering dietary doses of iron and zinc from conception to age 2 years have the potential to influence nutritional status and development of children, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized and quasi-randomized fortification, biofortification, and supplementation trials in women (pregnant and lactating) and children (6–23 months) delivering iron or zinc in doses up to the recommended nutrient intake (RNI) levels. Supplying iron or zinc during pregnancy had no effects on birth outcomes. There were 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. Delivering up to 15 mg iron/day during infancy increased mean hemoglobin by 4 g/L (p < 0.001) and mean serum ferritin concentration by 17.6 µg/L (p < 0.001) and reduced the risk for anemia by 41% (p < 0.001), iron deficiency by 78% (ID; p < 0.001) and iron deficiency anemia by 80% (IDA; p < 0.001), but had no effect on growth or psychomotor development. Providing up to 10 mg of additional zinc during infancy increased plasma zinc concentration by 2.03 µmol/L (p < 0.001) and reduced the risk of zinc deficiency by 47% (p < 0.001). Further, we observed positive effects on child weight for age z-score (WAZ) (p < 0.05), weight for height z-score (WHZ) (p < 0.05), but not on height for age z-score (HAZ) or the risk for stunting, wasting, and underweight.