Zinc Supplements Slash Risk Of Pneumonia Deaths In Children
Zinc can triple the survival chances of young children suffering from pneumonia who are deficient in the mineral, a recent study has found.
The new researches by the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, involved 352 young children aged six months to five years with severe pneumonia and were being treated with antibiotics.
Researchers gave half the children additional therapy in the form of 10mg or 20mg zinc supplements, depending on age.
Although the researchers found no difference between the two groups in the time it took to recover from infection, the risk of dying was very different. Just 4% of children taking zinc died compared with 12% of those not taking zinc.
Further to this, for children infected with the Aids virus, HIV, the supplements had a dramatic impact on their likeliness to live. In this group, an extra 26 out of every 100 children had their lives saved by zinc.
Study leader, Professor James Tumwine, from the study, said: "Zinc is known to bolster the immune system and zinc deficiency is rife all over the developed, and developing, world.
"In Uganda, where this study was performed, zinc deficiency in some areas can be as high as 70%. We would only need to give 13 of these children with pneumonia zinc on top of their antibiotics to save one life. This equates to about four US dollars (£2.50) - a small price to pay."
Zinc is mostly found in shellfish like oysters, red meat, egg yolks and a variety of seeds like pumpkin and squash seeds and play a vital role towards our immune system.