Synergistic effect of zinc and vitamin A on the biochemical indexes of vitamin A nutrition in children

Mohammad M. Rahman, Mohammad A. Wahed, George J. Fuchs, Abdullah H. Baqui, Jose O. Alvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background: Zinc deficiency limits the bioavailability of vitamin A. Because zinc and vitamin A deficiency often coexist in malnourished children, simultaneous zinc and vitamin A supplementation may improve the vitamin A deficiency in these children. Objective: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial was conducted to evaluate whether combining zinc and vitamin A supplementation would improve the biochemical indexes of vitamin A nutriture. Design: Children aged 12-35 mo were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 intervention groups: 20 mg Zn/d for 14 d (Z group), 60 000 retinol equivalents (200 000 IU) vitamin A on day 14 (A group), zinc plus vitamin A (ZA group), or placebo syrup and placebo capsule (placebo group). Venous blood was drawn at enrollment and on day 21. Results: Mean serum retinol concentrations were not significantly different between the A and ZA groups. Among vitamin A-deficient children, the proportion of children who remained vitamin A deficient (serum retinol <0.7 μmol/L) after supplementation was 40.6% in the Z group, 37.5% in the A group, and 47.0% in the placebo group; only 13.3% in the ZA group remained vitamin A deficient (P < 0.05 compared with the placebo group). The proportion of children whose retinol binding protein concentrations remained low was significantly lower in the ZA group than in the other groups (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Combined zinc and vitamin A supplementation improves vitamin A nutriture in vitamin A-deficient children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-98
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Malnutrition
  • Retinol
  • Retinol binding protein
  • Supplementation
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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