IS YOUR CHILD A FUSSY EATER? THEY MAY HAVE A ZINC DEFICIENCY

The family is seated at the table, tummies are rumbling, and a meal is prepared from scratch and made with love. Just as your about to dig into this freshly made dinner the first thing that the kids say are:
“Mummy I don’t like this”, “I’m not eating that”, “Yuk”.

While many parents think their children are just trying to be difficult it may be a case of nutritional deficiency.

Zinc Deficiency
Zinc is an important mineral in children’s growth, immunity and wound healing. When a child has a Zinc deficiency food may taste bad or bland. Moreover, a child can also experience a change in sense of smell whereby food smells are reduced and food tastes unappetizing. A diet high in processed foods such as pasta, breads and crackers can contribute to depleted zinc levels. Once confirmed by your health care professional that your child has a zinc deficient, there are various methods to increase your child’s zinc levels.

Food
There are a variety of foods that are a good source of zinc:

  • > Red meat
  • > Shellfish
  • > Legumes
  • > Nuts
  • > Dairy- cheese and milk
  • > Eggs
  • >Whole grains
    > Fortified bread & cereal products

Supplementation

Zinc Deficiency can be treated with over the counter supplementation. While often formulated with hidden nasties which can be concerning, compounded zinc can alleviate these concerns. Compounding Zinc also allows for alternate dosage forms to the traditional capsule. Compounded can provide a topical zinc that only needs to be rubbed well into inner wrists, behind knees and on belly for maximum effect. The suggested intake of zinc for children is:

AGE ESTIMATED AGE REQUIREMENT RECOMMENDED DIETARY INTAKE
1-3 YEARS 2.5 MG/DAY 3 MG/DAY
4-8 YEARS 3 MG/DAY 4 MG/DAY
9-13 YEARS 5 MG/DAY 6 MG/DAY

Source: https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/zinc

**Note: Dosage will always depend on child’s individual health.

Zinc Absorption with Iron
Alongside Zinc supplementation, some children may also need to supplement Iron deficiencies. Zinc and Iron have always been known to compete for absorption. Therefore, when supplementing a child with both Iron and Zinc it is critical that these minerals and dosed at different times. Dosing at different times allows for full absorption of both supplements. Doing otherwise will result in decreased absorption of both minerals.

Each child is unique, and it is important to work with your health care professional to establish if your child has a Zinc deficiency. It is also extremely important to supplement your child with the correct strength of Zinc to ensure your child’s growth and immunity are not compromised.