Posts Tagged ‘ zinc ’

Some Fortified Cereals May Pose Health Risk to Kids

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Some breakfast cereals that are overly fortified with nutrients like vitamin A, zinc, and niacin may actually pose health risks to children because the foods are fortified to provide an adult’s recommended intake of those nutrients.  These are the findings of a report by the Environmental Working Group, a health advocacy organization that says millions of American children are eating overly fortified cereals every day.  Part of the problem, the group says, is that nutrition labels are not age-specific–and higher nutrient levels on cereal packages may actually sway parents’ purchasing decisions because they think the products are healthier for their kids.

More from USA Today:

Only “a tiny, tiny percentage” of cereal packages carry nutrition labels that list age-specific daily values, Sharp says. “That’s misleading to parents and is contributing to the problem.”

The daily values for most vitamins and minerals that appear on nutrition facts labels were set by the FDA in 1968 and haven’t updated, she says, making them “wildly out-of-sync” with currently recommended levels deemed safe by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences.

Getting adequate amounts of all three nutrients is needed to maintain health and prevent disease, but the report says that routinely ingesting too much vitamin A can, over time, lead to health issues such as liver damage and skeletal abnormalities. . High zinc intakes can impair copper absorption and negatively affect red and white blood cells and immune function, and consuming too much niacin can cause short-term symptoms such as rash, nausea and vomiting, the report says.

Healthy Breakfast: 3 Quick Meals for Kids
Healthy Breakfast: 3 Quick Meals for Kids
Healthy Breakfast: 3 Quick Meals for Kids

Image: Cereal bowl with milk, via Shutterstock

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UPDATED: Zinc Shortage Could Endanger Premature Babies

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

A drug that is crucial to helping doctors feed the smallest premature infants is in dwindling supply because of a shortage of the injectable form of the mineral zinc.  More from NBC News:

At least 120,000 more fragile babies may be at risk each year from an ongoing shortage of injectable zinc, a trace element added to intravenous nutrition solutions, government and medical officials say.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Dr. Lamia Soghier, medical director of the neonatology unit at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “What can we do? We’re just short. We don’t have it. We can’t borrow it.”

The crisis is the latest in the nation’s ongoing struggle with drug shortages. After federal intervention in 2012, the number of new shortages has fallen markedly, down to just 26 this year from a record high of 267 in 2011. But the number of active shortages of essential medications — including injectable trace elements, vitamins and electrolytes — is now 323, higher than it’s ever been, according to the University of Utah Drug Information Service, which tracks the problem.

UPDATE 3/28/13:  Emily Hartman from Children’s National Medical Center contacted PNN to clarify the following:  “While Dr. Soghier is quoted as saying “What can we do? We’re just short. We don’t have it. We can’t borrow it,” she is referring to when the original MMWR article on zinc shortages was written in December 2012. Children’s was able to get an emergency supply soon after that original article was released and we’re actually okay in terms of supply. We don’t want our patients and families to worry that this is still a problem at Children’s.”

Image: Premature baby, via Shutterstock

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