Zinc deficiency before conception disrupts foetal development

Female mice deprived of dietary zinc for a relatively short time before conception experience fertility and pregnancy problems and have smaller, less-developed foetuses than mice that ingested zinc during the same times and these findings have implications for human reproduction, scientists suggest. According to research from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences in the US, going without zinc prior to ovulation had marked effects on the mice's reproductive functions. Zinc deficiency caused a high incidence of pregnancy loss, and embryos from the zinc-deficient diet group were an average of 38 percent smaller than those from the control group. Preconception zinc deficiency also caused approximately half of embryos to exhibit delayed or aberrant development.

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