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Save the children – with zinc

New meta-analysis suggests zinc’s potential for helping malnourished children around the world.

Zinc may help fight childhood death and disease and support growth, according to a new review of research published in The Cochrane Library, a collection of databases featuring systematic reviews and meta-analyses which summarize and interpret the results of medical research worldwide.

Looking for ways zinc might or might not reduce childhood death and disease, researchers reviewed data from 80 trials, involving 205,401 children ages six months to a year, mostly in low and middle income countries. They found that it could.

They found that children who took zinc were less likely to suffer from diarrhea and that they were slightly taller by the end of the trials compared with children who did not take zinc. Diarrhea is one of the biggest killers under of children under the age of five worldwide, according to the article.

"Policymakers in low and middle income countries need evidence that directly addresses the needs of their own health services,” David Tovey, editor-in-chief of Cochrane told “This comprehensive review makes a very valuable contribution to the evidence base around interventions may make an important contribution to improving global health."

The meta-analysis adds to the growing collection of research on the health-boosting powers of zinc. Last year, research results suggested that the mineral helps control infection by gently tapping the brakes on the immune response in a way that prevents out-of-control inflammation that could be damaging and even deadly.

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