Objective. Zinc deficiency is very common in developing countries and is more pronounced during an episode of diarrhea. Supplementation with zinc improves diarrhea and might correct zinc deficiency in both the short and longer term. Method. We conducted a nested study within a cluster randomized treatment trial. Fifty children with diarrhea living in the zinc treated clusters, 50 children with diarrhea living in control clusters, and 50 healthy children living in the control clusters were enrolled. We assessed serum zinc at the start of the diarrhea episode, which was 1-3 days after supplementation began in zinc treated children, and again one week after the diarrhea ended and supplementation ceased. Baseline characteristics and serum zinc concentration were assessed. Results. Serum zinc was low in 44% of healthy children at the first blood draw. Compared to healthy controls, serum zinc was 3.1 mmol/L higher among children with diarrhea who were supplemented with zinc at first blood draw and 1.3mmol/L higher 3 weeks later. Conclusion. Zinc supplementation enhances serum zinc concentration when given as a treatment for diarrhea and helps children maintain a more adequate zinc status during the convalescent period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health