Perhaps you take various additional supplements such as vitamins or zinc yourself and are wondering how zinc supplements work in children or whether zinc is even suitable for children? Are you unsure how zinc supplements are tolerated by children or how much zinc children need?
Then this article is the guide to answer all your questions about zinc for children. Above all, the points of intake, effect and side effects should be clarified in order to give you in-depth knowledge of the most frequently asked questions.
This article is intended to give you an understanding of the most important tasks of this trace element, as well as the causes and consequences of deficiency symptoms in children. With a scientific foundation, we want to bring you closer to the most important facts about zinc, which is suitable for children.
the essentials in brief
- Zinc is a trace element that is involved in essential metabolic processes in the body and has an effect on growth and general development, especially in children.
- Children need different amounts of zinc depending on their age and gender. The amount of zinc required by boys increases from the age of ten. Supplementation in children should always be discussed with a doctor in order to adjust the dosage correctly.
- The dosage should be handled very carefully, as an overdose can also have serious consequences. Zinc poisoning, especially in children, can only be cured in a lengthy process.
What is zinc?
Zinc is a trace element that is only found in the body in very small doses. However, it is essential for metabolism and other important chemical processes such as cell growth. Zinc supports the metabolism, the immune system and helps with diabetes mellitus and allergies.(1)
However, zinc can only be stored in the body for a short time. The body cannot form zinc itself, so the trace element has to be ingested through food or supplements.
Children in particular need a balanced supply of zinc, since the zinc supply is related to the growth of the child. On average, a child's body contains a few grams of zinc. Deficiency can disrupt or significantly slow child growth, which in turn affects child development.(2)
How does zinc work that is suitable for children?
If slower development, less growth, or ongoing illness are stifling the child, supplementing with zinc can help restart the child's normal development. Because the constant growth of children consumes a high dose of nutrients. Zinc is essential for mental as well as physical development.
Zinc is responsible for the formation of new cells, which builds the skeleton and muscles, and promotes the development of blood, organs and the nervous system.
Zinc is also contained in proteins, which are responsible for controlling the metabolism, among other things. A sufficient supply of zinc is therefore necessary to maintain all the processes mentioned and to support the child in its development.
When should zinc be used in children?
Zinc should be given to children when there is a deficiency. Even mothers should consume zinc to ensure that children in the womb are adequately supplied.(3) In order to assess this, the zinc concentration in the blood plasma can be measured on the one hand.
On the other hand, the growth of the child should be observed, as this is better suited to detecting a deficiency. If this is not the case, a zinc deficiency can be assumed, which must be checked by a doctor.
- Zinc in whole blood: A complete blood count indicates a deficiency if there are less than 4.0 milligrams of zinc per liter of blood. The normal value of zinc here is 4.0 to 7.5 milligrams per liter.
- Zinc in the serum: A deficiency in the blood serum occurs when the zinc value has fallen below 0.75 milligrams per liter of blood serum. In the normal range, it would be between 0.75 and 1.25 milligrams.
How do I know that my child needs zinc?
Since zinc is involved in very different biochemical processes in the body, a deficiency can also express itself in many different ways. These include hair loss, poor wound healing, loss of appetite and, in children, growth disorders.
As an important trace element, zinc has profound effects on various functions of the body. This includes the growth and development of the child. A balanced zinc level leads to normal growth of the child. (Image source: Ben White/ unsplash)
In addition, skin inflammation and high fever are common in small children. The immune system is weakened by the undersupply, so that children can get sick more often.(4,5,6)
If any of these symptoms are present, a doctor should be consulted to clarify the disorder. However, zinc deficiency always depends on the diet and the time of day, so that a deficiency must be checked extensively.
What role does zinc play in child health?
After we were able to determine that zinc is an essential trace element in the human body that influences many functions, we shall now explain to what extent zinc is suitable for children.
At what age does it make sense to take zinc in children?
Since zinc is responsible, among other things, for the healthy development of a child, the blood concentrations of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and, above all, zinc must be in the favorable range. Since zinc and the other nutrients combine with each other and also have a mutual relationship in order to optimally supply the body, the values must be right.
Since growth begins after birth, the zinc value must also be checked in the first few months in order to be able to detect irregularities.(7) The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends healthy growth and positive development and maturation of the central nervous and endocrine systems in children:
|Zinc requirement children||Masculine||Feminine|
|0-4 months||1.0 milligrams/day||1.0 milligrams/day|
|4-12 months||2.0 milligrams||2.0 milligrams|
|1-4 years||3.0 milligrams/day||3.0 milligrams/day|
|4-7 years||5.0 milligrams/day||5.0 milligrams/day|
|7-10 years||7.0 milligrams/day||7.0 milligrams/day|
|10-13 years||9.0 milligrams/day||7.0 milligrams/day|
|13-15 years||9.5 milligrams/day||7.0 milligrams/day|
What forms of zinc for children are there?
There are various forms that can be used for the additional intake of zinc in the form of preparations. Before taking it, however, it should be clarified with the family doctor or a pharmacist which form of zinc and to what extent the supplement should be used. Taking zinc as a precaution can have negative consequences, as the body gets used to the higher dosage and deficits develop as a result.
Zinc for children in the form of tablets
One way to add zinc to your child is to give them pills. Tablets can be dosed precisely and can be taken individually. Depending on the duration, gender and individual needs, more or fewer tablets can be swallowed.
Zinc for children in the form of juice
Zinc juice can be helpful, especially for children who still find it difficult to swallow pills. This is because it can even be taken by small children. Zinc juices often have a more pleasant taste as they are sweetened and are therefore often more popular with children. Zinc juices also often contain other vitamins.
Zinc for children in powder form
Zinc powder has the advantage that you can stir the zinc into a drink for your child or mix it into muesli or other dishes, for example. So taking it is not associated with a negative thought for your child, since the zinc powder can be taken in conjunction with a delicious meal.
What should you consider with zinc for children?
When giving children additional zinc, it should be noted that it is high-quality zinc. It should also be ensured that the intake has been discussed with a doctor or at least with a pharmacist beforehand, so that the correct dose has been determined.
The amount of zinc also differs with advancing age depending on gender.
It should be noted that depending on the age of the child, only a lower dose should be administered. Girls from the age of ten need less zinc than boys of the same age. Finally, it should be noted that dietary supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
How effective is zinc in children?
Zinc may help protect children from serious diseases associated with zinc deficiency. Various studies show that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) occurs more often when children have a zinc deficiency. Zinc intake may protect against this.(8,9)
Zinc has significant effects on a child's development. Zinc deficiency can contribute to ADHD, zinc supplementation can alleviate the effects of ADHD. (Image source: Caleb Woods/ unsplash)
In the same way, supplementation can help to curb the symptoms of the disease in the event of a flu-like effect. In addition, zinc deficiency is associated with causing anemia. Zinc supplementation can help rebalance zinc levels to help prevent and prevent the ill effects described above.(10)
What are the side effects of zinc suitable in children?
When taking zinc, you should pay attention to the correct dosage, especially in children.
Because an overdose of the trace element can lead to serious health consequences.
The worst case scenario is zinc poisoning, which in most children manifests as gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.(11)
A high overdose of more than 50 milligrams of zinc per day taken over several weeks can lead to chronic zinc poisoning. This usually causes a copper deficiency, which can cause anemia and, in the worst case, nerve damage. Zinc levels cannot return to normal immediately, so intake must be stopped immediately and effects treated.
Learn more about the side effects of zinc .
What alternatives are there to zinc for children?
In addition to the possibility of providing children with zinc supplements to prevent or compensate for a deficiency, there are various ways to increase the zinc level. These include, above all, a balanced diet or the help of homeopathy.
- Zinc intake through diet: Many foods contain small amounts of zinc. However, symptoms of deficiency also occur again and again in children because many do not consume the recommended daily intake. This is because the body absorbs zinc differently from different foods. Zinc, which is contained in animal foods, can be absorbed better than such as plant foods. Seafood such as oysters or red meat offer the highest zinc values, vegetarians can fall back on legumes, nuts or flaxseed.
- Zinc intake through homeopathy : Zincum metallicum is used in homeopathy, especially when it comes to the nervous system. In order to carry out a successful homeopathic therapy, a specialist should be consulted. The homeopathic remedy for healing zinc deficiency can also be used in children, especially when pronounced exhaustion, tiredness and physical weakness are recognizable. In this case, the product can also be used in self-medication.
Zinc is suitable for children because zinc is of crucial importance in the development and growth of the child. If there is a zinc deficiency in children, it can have very unpleasant consequences. In children, attention should therefore be paid to possible symptoms and, after consultation with the family doctor, zinc should be supplemented.
With the additional administration, it is essential to pay attention to the correct dosage so that there is no overdose. Zinc is therefore suitable and necessary for children if the zinc deficiency is correctly identified and the correct amount is administered.
- The study examined the relationship between various vitamins and trace elements and zinc in relation to general health. Above all, zinc has important functions for the metabolism and the immune system.
- The study found that zinc is associated with normal growth, thereby affecting how much children grow at a young age. There are also differences between boys and girls.
- The study examined the role of zinc in the developmental effects of very young children such as the foetus, the embryo and preterm births.
- The trace element zinc affects the immune system. It has an inhibitory effect on the immune cells. A zinc deficiency can be associated with a more severe course of infections.
- The Jordanian study examined the reason for hair loss in children. The researchers found that a nutrient deficiency of zinc can be a reason for dwindling or poorly growing hair.
- The causes of loss of appetite and anorexia were examined in the double-blind, randomized study. They found that the body's zinc levels and the eating disorder are related.
- The study examines the additional zinc supplementation on the growth of children. They found that zinc can help underweight and malnourished children in particular to normalize growth again.
- The double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that zinc supplementation can alleviate the effects of ADHD in children.
- The study examined the connection between zinc deficiency and the occurrence of ADHD in children, which further studies need to explain in more detail.
- An American study showed that zinc can alleviate the symptoms of a common cold in both children and adults. Zinc supplements reduced the incidence of the common cold.
- The study examined the consequences of zinc overdose. It was found that too high a dose of zinc supplements can have negative effects on the body and urinary physiology.