Micronutrient malnutrition and the pathogenesis of malarial anemia

Acta Trop. 2002 Jun;82(3):321-37. doi: 10.1016/s0001-706x(02)00049-9.


Malaria is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and anemia is a common and sometimes serious complication of Plasmodium falciparum infection. Although micronutrient malnutrition is usually highly prevalent in malaria endemic areas, the contribution of micronutrient deficiencies to malarial anemia is often overlooked. Recent investigation suggests that micronutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E, and zinc, may improve the morbidity of malaria through immune modulation and alteration of oxidative stress. Micronutrients are also involved in the pathogenesis of anemia and likely play a role in malarial anemia, but many clinical trials have not specifically addressed the impact of micronutrient supplementation on malarial anemia. Further work is needed to assess the effect of both clinic and community-based micronutrient interventions on malarial anemia in infants, children, and pregnant women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia* / epidemiology
  • Anemia* / etiology
  • Anemia* / mortality
  • Avitaminosis / complications*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malaria, Falciparum / complications*
  • Male
  • Micronutrients* / deficiency
  • Micronutrients* / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Zinc / deficiency*


  • Micronutrients
  • Zinc