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Zinc (Z) in Powdered Milk Replacers
Zinc is an important trace mineral for growth and development, as well as function and structure of all cell membranes. Zinc also has a critical role with proper immune function. Zinc also has a structural role with non-enzymatic proteins, and the metabolism of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, energy and nucleic acids. The highest concentrations of zinc are in the muscles, then blood cells, bones, skin and other organs. While recognized as a significant trace mineral, knowledge of the role and effect of zinc is in early research stages. There are ongoing studies about how zinc affects growth, neuropsychological performance and fetal development, respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions, and immune response.
Zinc concentration imbalances
Early zinc deficiencies can result in slow growth, skin problems and poor immune function. Zinc is considered to be relatively non-toxic, but excessive zinc consumption can lead to lethargy, fatigue, and numerous gastrointestinal symptoms – as well as impacts on growth, development, and immune response. Like many with other minerals, the research is in relatively early stages.
Since averages can at times be misleading, a closer look at a few of the products where multiple test values are available between time periods, can reveal how the concentration values may have changed over time. Then if those changes are significant, either increase or decrease, the reader may want to focus on the most recent profile of the product.
Even though some of the changes reflected below may be significant over time, simply trying to adjust with supplements requires considerable knowledge and has the potential to worsen an adverse situation. Please review the section on mineral supplementation in the minerals overview.
References and further reading (not intended as an exhaustive list)
Hambridge, K. M. 1997. Zinc deficiency in young children. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. V. 65, pp 160-1.
Hambridge, K. M. 2003. Human Zinc Deficiency. Journal of Nutrition, V. 130 (5) pp. 1344S-1349S.
Nishi, Y. 2013. Zinc and growth. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. V pp. 340-344.
Plum, Laura, et al. 2010. The Essential Toxin: The Impact of Zinc on Human Health. International Journal of Environmental and Public Health. March. Pp, 1342-1365.
Salguerio, Maria, et al. 2002. The Role of Zinc in the Growth and Development of Children. Nutrition, v. 18 pp. 510-519.
The information included on this website for dietary minerals is extremely narrow in its scope and nature. It is limited to certain charts and graphs displaying content values (% of total) of various powdered milk replacers as tested by an independent chemical lab. Extremely brief overview information is provided as to the primary nutritional and medical benefits of each mineral, as well as a limited discussion of issues that may arise from concentration levels in the body that may be considered deficit or toxic. Entire textbooks on dietary minerals are written for the medical and veterinary professions, in addition to the internet providing ready access to both scholarly and popular literature. Some of those references are included above.
The data values presented above only represent the test values for the presence and concentration of the mineral conducted according to standard chemical testing methods in a controlled laboratory setting. Any point test value is accompanied by a measurement uncertainty range of +/-20%. The concentration values are in no measure an indication of how much of the mineral may be provided to an animal in reconstituted formula or its bioavailability (its degree of digestibility, absorption, or ultimate utilization). Additionally, no testing was performed as to the source of the mineral in the product (such as inorganic salts) or the grade of any added supplements containing the mineral.
What the data can do is inform the reader as to (1) concentration levels in a product as most recently tested (2) changes over time and between lots, and (3) comparisons of relative concentration levels between products. It is merely data that may serve as a starting point when deciding on a milk replacer product(s) and a recipe, or information to consider if certain medical symptoms appear that could be a result of absence or excess of a specific mineral in the formula. The reader is encouraged to consult veterinary or nutritional professionals prior to providing additional supplementation of any mineral.