Zinc sulfate supplementation improves thyroid function in hypozincemic Down children

Biol Trace Elem Res. 1999 Mar;67(3):257-68. doi: 10.1007/BF02784425.


In subjects affected by trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), hypothyroidism is the most common endocrinological deficit. Plasma zinc levels, which are commonly detected below the normal range in Down patients, are related to some endocrinological and immunological functions; in fact, zinc deficiency has been shown to impair immune response and growth rate. Aims of this study were to evaluate (1) the role of zinc deficiency in subclinical hypothyroidism and (2) thyroid function changes in Down children cyclically supplemented with zinc sulfate. Inverse correlations have been observed between age and triiodotironine (T3) and between zinc and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH); higher TSH levels have been found in hypozincemic patients at the beginning of the study. After 6 mo of supplementation, an improvement of thyroid function (TSH levels: 3.96 +/- 1.84 vs 2.64 +/- 1.33 mUI/mL basally and after 6 mo, respectively) was observed in hypozincemic patients. In the second cycle of supplementation, a similar trend of TSH was observed. At the end of the study, TSH significantly decreased in treated hypozincemic subjects (4.48 +/- 1.93 vs 2.96 +/- 1.20 mUI/mL) and it was no longer different in comparison to normozincemic patients. We suggest zinc supplementation to the diet in hypozincemic Down children as a simple and useful therapeutic tool.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Down Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Down Syndrome / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / drug therapy*
  • Hypothyroidism / immunology
  • Hypothyroidism / metabolism
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Thyroid Function Tests
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / deficiency*
  • Zinc Sulfate / pharmacology
  • Zinc Sulfate / therapeutic use*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Zinc