Introduction Study Design

Optimal supply of the trace element Zn is of special importance for the growing infant. Its concentration in human milk declines during the first months of lactation and a retention superior to Zn from infant formulas has been described [ 13. However, data on Zn intake from supplementary foods are scarce and the question arises whether nutritional differences in early infancy affect subsequent Zn intake or plasma Zn concentration.

The Zn intake of 20 breast-fed and 15 formula-fed healthy term infants was investigated by 72 hour weight-based diet protocols at the ages of 4, 8, 16,24, 32, 42 and 52 weeks. Electronic scales were used for test-weighing of breast-fed infants, the assessment of the body weight and the intakes of formula or supplementary foods. The Zn intake was calculated using the programme Diät 2 000, Soft &Hard Co., Rimbach. A concentration of 5.0 mg Zn/1 was given by the manufacturing firm of the infant formula fed (Pre Aptamil®,Milupa Co.). Nutritional counselling was performed according to present recommendations [3] including exclusive breast- or formula-feeding during the first 4 months of life. The families were subsequently supplied with supplementary foods: Vegetables, meat, fruits as ready-to-feed menus (Hipp KG), as well as cereals, follow-up formula (Aptamil II®, Milupa Co.)

and mineral water. Zn plasma concentrations were analysed at the ages of 4,16 and 52 weeks by High- resolution ICP-MS at the Dept. of Geology.

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