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Thursday, Jul 21, 2011
In the Developing World, Infant Diarrhea Can Kill
Posted by Pamela Egan of Wellness and Anti-Aging Clinic
Not every country on the planet is as developed as the western world. In many places around the world, seemingly minor illnesses (to us westerners) can in fact be deadly.

One example of this is childhood and infant diarrhea, which can be deadly in certain parts of the world where clean water and antibiotics are in short supply. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 1.5 million children die each year from diarrhea or diarrhea-related dehydration.

The catch-22 involved here is that the diarrhea causes dehydration, which can kill not only infants and children but also adults if not dealt with in a timely manner. However, the diarrhea is often caused by contaminated water supplies, including those infected with fecal bacteria. When ingested, the body's response to the bacteria present in the water is to expel them by way of diarrhea. However, doing so dehydrates the infirm individual, and the only way to rehydrate is to drink the same contaminated water that made the individual sick in the first place.

The good news is that a recent study that took place in Peru found that when pregnant mothers take zinc supplements throughout the duration of their pregnancies, the rate of occurrences for cases of infant diarrhea is greatly reduced.

This is likely because zinc helps strengthen the immune system. Mothers supplementing with zinc should have stronger immune systems than mothers who do not, and the strengthened immune system is apparently passed down from mother to child at birth. In any case, that's the theory.

What is not a theory is that when the mother takes zinc supplements, her baby has a much better chance of living. So moms in the developing world, do whatever you need to do in order to get your hands on some zinc supplements.
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