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Zinc forms the catalytic centre of >100 enzymes and is a key element for human health.

Zinc is one of the most abundant elements in the human body and has a key role in growth, development and immunity. Inadequate zinc intakes put children at risk of stunting, morbidity and mortality from infections and non-communicable diseases, as well as less completed schooling and a higher risk of living in poverty as adults – making zinc a key nutrient for Global Health. Date of preparation: May 2019

These pages have been prepared in collaboration with IZiNCG, the International Zinc Nutrition Consultative Group. See page 7 to find out more about IZiNCG and get links to their website for more information and resources on zinc. You can access their latest newsletter here.



Importance of zinc for health

Zinc is a transition metal and an essential nutrient for humans. Zinc forms the catalytic centre of over 100 different enzymes responsible for many key physiological functions. Zinc is one of the most abundant elements within cells and has an essential role in cell growth, differentiation and metabolism on a cellular level (1, 2), and growth, development and immunity of the whole body (3). The most common cause of zinc deficiency worldwide is inadequate dietary intake of bioavailable forms of zinc. Zinc deficiency increases the risk of preterm birth, child diarrhoea and respiratory infections, and stunted linear growth (4).  An estimated 116,000 child deaths are attributable to zinc deficiency each year.



Key info

Keywords: growth, development, stunting, diarrhoea, immunity, IZiNCG, phytate

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