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Clinical Trial
, 45 (5), 555-9

Efficacy of Zinc Supplementation on the Severity and Duration of Diarrhea in Malnourished Turkish Children

Clinical Trial

Efficacy of Zinc Supplementation on the Severity and Duration of Diarrhea in Malnourished Turkish Children

Tugçin Bora Polat et al. Pediatr Int.


Background: Intervention trials have shown that zinc may be efficacious in treating acute diarrhea in children of developing countries. A double-blind placebo-controlled study was designed to evaluate the effects of zinc supplementation on the clinical course and duration of diarrhea in malnourished Turkish children.

Methods: The study group comprised 40 subjects with low zinc levels (Group 1a) and 52 subjects with normal zinc levels (Group 1b). The control group was also comprised of two subgroups: 36 subjects with low zinc levels (Group 2a) and 54 subject with normal zinc levels (Group 2b). Forty-three percent of children in the study group and 40% of controls had low serum zinc levels (<14 micromol/L), and 43% of subjects in both groups had very low serum zinc concentrations (<10 micromol/L). The study group were given 20 mg zinc per day for 10 days and the control group were given 750 mg glucose per day as a placebo for 10 days.

Results: The mean duration of diarrhea was shorter and the percentage of children with consistent diarrhea for more than 3-7 days was lower in the study subgroups than in the control subgroups. Prolonged diarrhea was present in 12% of children in the study group, and in 44% and 37% of children in the hypozincemic and normozincemic control subgroups, respectively. The was no significant difference among the four subgroups of children in the number of cases with post-enrollment diarrhea of a duration of>14 days. Stool frequency over the first 4 days after enrollment was lower in children in the study group.

Conclusion: It was concluded that zinc supplementation in malnourished children with acute diarrhea may reduce the severity and duration of diarrhea, especially in children with low zinc levels.

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