How zinc can save pneumonia victims
Zinc supplements can triple the survival chances of young children with pneumonia who are deficient in the mineral, a study has found.
Taking zinc had a dramatic effect on death rates even though it did not shorten the time severely ill children took to recover.
Zinc, found in shellfish, meat, egg yolks and seeds, supports a wide range of functions in the body and is vital to the immune system.
However many people are deficient in the mineral, both in rich and poor countries. The new research, involving young children aged six months to five years, was conducted in Uganda where zinc deficiency is rife.
Scientists studied 352 children with severe pneumonia who were all being treated with antibiotics. Just 4pc of children taking zinc died compared with 12pc of those not taking zinc.
Medics said giving zinc could save thousands of lives -- at a relatively small price.