Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Access
  • Cited by 18
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    El Missiry, Mohamed Hamed Hussein, Mohamed Khalid, Sadaf Yaqub, Naila Khan, Sarah Itrat, Fatima Uderzo, Cornelio and Faulkner, Lawrence 2014. Assessment of Serum Zinc Levels of Patients with Thalassemia Compared to Their Siblings. Anemia, Vol. 2014, p. 1.

    Khalid, Nauman Ahmed, Anwaar Bhatti, Muhammad Shahbaz Randhawa, Muhammad Atif Ahmad, Asif and Rafaqat, Rabab 2014. A Question Mark on Zinc Deficiency in 185 Million People in Pakistan—Possible Way Out. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Vol. 54, Issue. 9, p. 1222.

    Ashong, Joseph Muthayya, Sumithra De-Regil, Luz Maria Laillou, Arnaud Guyondet, Christophe Moench-Pfanner, Regina Burford, Belinda J Peña-Rosas, Juan Pablo and Peña-Rosas, Juan Pablo 2012. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

    Gülseren, İbrahim Fang, Yuan and Corredig, Milena 2012. Zinc incorporation capacity of whey protein nanoparticles prepared with desolvation with ethanol. Food Chemistry, Vol. 135, Issue. 2, p. 770.

    Méndez, Rosa O Galdámez, Karina Grijalva, María I Quihui, Luis García, Hugo S and de la Barca, Ana Ma. Calderón 2012. Effect of Micronutrient-Fortified Milk on Zinc Intake and Plasma Concentration in Adolescent Girls. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 31, Issue. 6, p. 408.

    Soriano-Santos, Jorge 2010. Handbook of Poultry Science and Technology.

    Al-Numair, Khalid S. Ahmed, Saif Eldein B. Al-Assaf, Abdullah H. and Alamri, Mohammed S. 2009. Hydrochloric acid extractable minerals and phytate and polyphenols contents of sprouted faba and white bean cultivars. Food Chemistry, Vol. 113, Issue. 4, p. 997.

    Lonergan, Paul F. Pallotta, Margaret A. Lorimer, Michelle Paull, Jeffrey G. Barker, Susan J. and Graham, Robin D. 2009. Multiple genetic loci for zinc uptake and distribution in barley (Hordeum vulgare). New Phytologist, Vol. 184, Issue. 1, p. 168.

    Karunaratne, Anjani M. Amerasinghe, P.H. Sadagopa Ramanujam, V.M. Sandstead, H.H. and Perera, P.A.J. 2008. Zinc, iron and phytic acid levels of some popular foods consumed by rural children in Sri Lanka. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Vol. 21, Issue. 6, p. 481.

    Grembecka, Malgorzata and Szefer, Piotr 2006. Mineral Components in Foods.

    Lachat, Carl K. Van Camp, John H. Mamiro, Peter S. Wayua, Francis Obuoro Opsomer, Anne S. Roberfroid, Dominique A. and Kolsteren, Patrick W. 2006. Processing of complementary food does not increase hair zinc levels and growth of infants in Kilosa district, rural Tanzania. British Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 95, Issue. 01, p. 174.

    Hotz, C. 2005. Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition.

    Lestienne, Isabelle Icard-Vernière, Christèle Mouquet, Claire Picq, Christian and Trèche, Serge 2005. Effects of soaking whole cereal and legume seeds on iron, zinc and phytate contents. Food Chemistry, Vol. 89, Issue. 3, p. 421.

    Yeudall, Fiona Gibson, Rosalind S Cullinan, Timothy R and Mtimuni, Beatrice 2005. Efficacy of a community-based dietary intervention to enhance micronutrient adequacy of high-phytate maize-based diets of rural Malawian children. Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 8, Issue. 07,

    Perlas, Leah A and Gibson, Rosalind S 2002. Use of soaking to enhance the bioavailability of iron and zinc from rice-based complementary foods used in the Philippines. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Vol. 82, Issue. 10, p. 1115.

    Reilly, C. 2002. The Nutrition Handbook for Food Processors.

    Salgueiro, Marı́a J. Zubillaga, Marcela B. Lysionek, Alexis E. Caro, Ricardo A. Weill, Ricardo and Boccio, José R. 2002. The role of zinc in the growth and development of children. Nutrition, Vol. 18, Issue. 6, p. 510.

    Reider, Norbert 2000. Handbook of Alcoholism.


Nutrition intervention strategies to combat zinc deficiency in developing countries

  • Rosalind S. Gibson (a1) and Elaine L. Ferguson (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 14 December 2007

Widespread zinc deficiency is likely to exist in developing countries where staple diets are predominantly plant based and intakes of animal tissues are low. The severe negative consequences of zinc deficiency on human health in developing countries, however, have only recently been recognized. An integrated approach employing targeted supplementation, fortification and dietary strategies must be used to maximize the likelihood of eliminating zinc deficiency at a national level in developing countries. Supplementation is appropriate only for populations whose zinc status must be improved over a relatively short time period, and when requirements cannot be met from habitual dietary sources. As well, the health system must be capable of providing consistent supply, distribution, delivery and consumption of the zinc supplement to the targeted groups. Uncertainties still exist about the type, frequency, and level of supplemental zinc required for prevention and treatment of zinc deficiency. Salts that are readily absorbed and at levels that will not induce antagonistic nutrient interactions must be used. At a national level, fortification with multiple micronutrients could be a cost effective method for improving micronutrient status, including zinc, provided that a suitable food vehicle which is centrally processed is available. Alternatively, fortification could be targeted for certain high risk groups (e.g. complementary foods for infants). Efforts should be made to develop protected fortificants for zinc, so that potent inhibitors of zinc absorption (e.g. phytate) present either in the food vehicle and/or indigenous meals do not compromise zinc absorption. Fortification does not require any changes in the existing food beliefs and practices for the consumer and, unlike supplementation, does not impose a burden on the health sector. A quality assurance programme is required, however, to ensure the quality of the fortified food product from production to consumption. In the future, dietary modification/diversification, although long term, may be the preferred strategy because it is more sustainable, economically feasible, culturally acceptable, and equitable, and can be used to alleviate several micronutrient deficiencies simultaneously, without danger of inducing antagonistic micronutrient interactions. Appropriate dietary strategies include consumption of zinc-dense foods and those known to enhance zinc absorption, reducing the phytic acid content of plant based staples via enzymic hydrolysis induced by germination/fermentation or nonenzymic hydrolysis by soaking or thermal processing. All the strategies outlined above should be integrated with ongoing national food, nutrition and health education programmes, to enhance their effectiveness and sustainability, and implemented using nutrition education and social marketing techniques. Ultimately the success of any approach for combating zinc deficiency depends on strong advocacy, top level commitment, a stable infrastructure, long term financial support and the capacity to control quality and monitor and enforce compliance at the national or regional level. To be cost effective, costs for these strategies must be shared by industry, government, donors and consumers.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Nutrition intervention strategies to combat zinc deficiency in developing countries
      Your Kindle email address
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Nutrition intervention strategies to combat zinc deficiency in developing countries
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Nutrition intervention strategies to combat zinc deficiency in developing countries
      Available formats
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. Chang , S. Schwimmer & H. K. Burr (1977). Phytate: removal from whole dry beans by enzymatic hydrolysis and diffusion. Journal of Food Science 42, 10981101.

J. K. Chavan & S. S. Kadam (1989). Nutritional improvement of cereals by fermentation. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 28, 349400.

A. R De Boland , G. B. Garner & B. L. O'Dell (1975). Identification and properties of “phytate” in cereal grains and oil-seed products. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 23, 11861189.

R. Galloway & J. McGuire (1994). Determinants of compliance with iron supplementation: supplies, side effects, and psychology? Social Science & Medicine 39, 381390.

R. L. Goldenberg , T. Tamura , Y. Neggers , R. L. Copper , K. Johnston , M. B. DuBard & J. C. Hauth (1995). The effect of zinc supplementation on pregnancy outcome. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) 274, 463468.

L. M. Henderson , G. J. Brewer , J. B. Dressman , S. Z. Swidan , D. J. DuRoss , C. H. Adair , J. L. Barnett & R. R. Berardi (1995). Effect of intragastric pH on the absorption of oral zinc acetate and zinc oxide in young healthy volunteers. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 19, 393397.

P. L. Hooper , L. Visconti , P. J. Garry & G. E. Johnson (1980). Zinc lowers high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels. Journal of the American Medical Association 244, 19601961.

R. F. Hurrell (1997). Preventing iron deficiency through food fortification. Nutrition Reviews 55, 210222.

M. J. R. Nout (1993). Processed weaning foods for tropical climates. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 43, 213221.

S. K. Roy , R. H. Behrens , R. Haider , S. M. Akramuzzaman , D. Mahalanabis , M. A. Wahed & A. M. Tomkins (1992). Impact of zinc supplementation on intestinal permeability in Bangladeshi children with acute diarrhoea and persistent diarrhoea syndrome. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 15, 289296.

R. J. Stoltzfus , M. L. Dreyfuss , H. M. Chwaya & M. Albonico (1997). Hookworm control as a strategy to prevent iron deficiency. Nutrition Reviews 55, 223232.

G. C. Sturniolo , C. Montino , L. Rossetto , A. Martin , R. D'Inca , A. D'Odorico & R. Naccarato (1991). Inhibition of gastric acid secretion reduces zinc absorption in man. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 10, 372375.

U. Svanberg , W. Lorri & A-S. Sandberg (1993). Lactic fermentation of non-tannin and high-tannin cereals: effects on in vitro estimation of iron availability and phytate hydrolysis. Journal of Food Science 58, 408412.

C. T. Walsh , H. H. Sandstead , A. S. Prasad , P. M. Newberne & P. J. Fraker (1994). Zinc: health effects and research priorities for the 1990s. Environmental Health Perspectives 102 (Suppl. 2), 546.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Nutrition Research Reviews
  • ISSN: 0954-4224
  • EISSN: 1475-2700
  • URL: /core/journals/nutrition-research-reviews
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *