Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Case Reports
, 154 (1), 71-5

Zinc Deficiency in an Exclusively Breast-Fed Preterm Infant

Case Reports

Zinc Deficiency in an Exclusively Breast-Fed Preterm Infant

F Heinen et al. Eur J Pediatr.


A formerly premature, exclusively breast-fed infant with severe zinc deficiency syndrome is presented. He showed the characteristic erosive skin changes, including alopecia, as seen in acrodermatitis enteropathica. In addition, he manifested a failure to thrive and irritability. The diagnosis was confirmed by reduced serum levels of zinc (2.3 mumol/l) and alkaline phosphatase (45 U/l). We consider the reduced zinc supply in the breast milk (5.7 mumol/l) as the most likely cause of the disease. Therapy consisted of oral zinc supplements (50 mumol/kg/day) for a period of 30 weeks. Symptoms and laboratory values normalized completely and did not recur on a normal diet.

Conclusion: A diet of breast milk can, in rare circumstances, cause insufficient zinc intake resulting in severe zinc deficiency syndrome with characteristic dermatological features. Therapy consists of temporary oral zinc supplementation at a daily dose of 50 mumol/kg.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 8 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Acta Paediatr Scand. 1981 Mar;70(2):269-73 - PubMed
    1. Pediatrics. 1992 Jun;89(6 Pt 1):1094-5 - PubMed
    1. Am J Dis Child. 1982 Jan;136(1):77-8 - PubMed
    1. Semin Dermatol. 1991 Dec;10(4):309-12 - PubMed
    1. Am J Clin Nutr. 1986 Feb;43(2):288-92 - PubMed

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources