Reversibility of zinc deficiency

The immunological aspects of zinc deficiency arc, as a rule, easily and rapidly restored to normal by the oral administration of sufficient zinc. Excessive supplementation of diets with zinc, may, on the other hand, lead to immune system suppression. In the nutritional rehabilitation of children with severe protein-energy malnutrition (marasmus or kwashiorkor), supplementation with oral zinc may be necessary in order to restore the thymus to its normal size. Some studies in laboratory animals suggest that zinc malnutrition during fetal, and even neonatal life may result in a long-term impairments in the development and function of the immune system.

See also: Nutrition and the immune system; Polyclonal activators.

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