Comparison Of Complementary Feeding Strategies To Meet Zinc Requirements Of Older Breastfed Infants, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2012
At 5 months of age, 45 breast-fed babies received one of the following as their complementary food for about 5 months:
- Commercially available pureed meats
- Iron-and-zinc–fortified infant cereal (IZFC)
- Whole-grain, iron-only–fortified infant cereal (IFC)
"Only intakes in meat and [zinc fortified] groups met estimated average requirements [for zinc]."Intakes aren't the same as what gets absorbed though. Unfortunately, not only did the non-zinc group have low intake, it also had low absorption. The total zinc absorbed (from breast milk plus food) was highest in the meat group (0.80 mg/d), next highest in the zinc-fortified group (0.71 mg/d), and lowest in the iron-only group (0.52 mg/d).
"Conclusion: Zinc requirements for older breastfed-only infants are unlikely to be met without the regular consumption of either meats or zinc-fortified foods."So, is zinc difficult to get on a vegan diet? The National Institutes of Health in their Fact Sheet on Zinc say:
"The bioavailability of zinc from vegetarian diets is lower than from non-vegetarian diets because vegetarians do not eat meat, which is high in bioavailable zinc and may enhance zinc absorption. In addition, vegetarians typically eat high levels of legumes and whole grains, which contain phytates that bind zinc and inhibit its absorption."The RDA for adult men is 11mg, women 8mg. So, vegans may want to shoot for: men 16.5mg, women 12mg.
"Vegetarians sometimes require as much as 50% more of the RDA for zinc than non-vegetarians."