Zinc supplementation in the management of diarrhoea
Diarrhoeal disease kills 1.5 million children every year. In children under five years old, diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death globally – second only to pneumonia. WHO and UNICEF recommend the routine use of zinc supplementation to help reduce the duration and severity of diarrhoea, and to prevent subsequent episodes.
Zinc is essential for the normal growth and development of children and is naturally found in the diet, mainly in foods of animal origin. Dietary deficiency of zinc can lead to an increased risk of gastrointestinal infections and impaired gastrointestinal and immune function. The mechanisms by which zinc exerts its anti-diarrhoeal effect are not fully understood, however, the use of zinc in the management of childhood diarrhoea is recommended by WHO/UNICEF.
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Other guidance documents
Related Cochrane reviews
Other related systematic reviews
Zinc for the treatment of diarrhoea: effect on diarrhoea morbidity, mortality and incidence of future episodes.
A meta-analysis of the effects of oral zinc in the treatment of acute and persistent diarrhea.
Role of zinc administration in prevention of childhood diarrhea and respiratory illnesses: a meta-analysis.