Document reference: (August 2003)


A.O. Çavdar ¹, D. Uçkan ¹, F. Aydemir ¹, F. Söylemez ², B. Cengiz ²

¹ Trace Elements Research Group (TUBITAK) and Satellite Trace Element Center (UNESCO) in Pediatric Hematology Oncology Research Center of Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey.

² Department of Obstetric and Gynecology of Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey.


Zinc (Zn) is an essential trace element for humans. It has been established that Zn is particularly important in periods of rapid growth such as infancy, puberty, and pregnancy when its requirement is high. It has previously been shown that maternal Zn deficiency may be associated with intrauterine growth retardation, fetomaternal complications and congenital malformations in human subjects. Serum and plasma zinc concentrations were studied in >700 Turkish women (both pregnant and control) by "cross-sectional" and "longitudinal studies" at different periods. In addition hair Zn levels were measured in 110 pregnant women. Zn levels were measured by atomic absorption sprectrophotometry. The pregnant women were divided into two subgroups as "poorly nourished" and "well nourished" on the basis of nutrition and socioeconomic status (SES) in each study. Both "cross-sectional" and "longitudinal" studies revealed low blood (plasma, serum) and hair Zn levels in "poorly nourished" pregnant women as compared to "well nourished" counter-parts. Therefore, nutrition was still the most important factor during pregnancy in Turkey, and "hypozincemia" should not be considered as a physiological phenomenon due to pregnancy. Zn supplementation (at proper dose) should be considered for all "poorly nourished" pregnant women from low SES group.

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