A trial of the effect of micronutrient supplementation on treatment outcome, T cell counts, morbidity, and mortality in adults with pulmonary tuberculosis

J Infect Dis. 2008 Jun 1;197(11):1499-505. doi: 10.1086/587846.


Background: Tuberculosis (TB) often coincides with nutritional deficiencies. The effects of micronutrient supplementation on TB treatment outcomes, clinical complications, and mortality are uncertain.

Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of micronutrients (vitamins A, B complex, C, and E, as well as selenium) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We enrolled 471 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and 416 HIV-negative adults with pulmonary TB at the time of initiating chemotherapy and monitored them for a median of 43 months.

Results: Micronutrients decreased the risk ofTB recurrence by 45% overall (95% confidence interval [CI], 7% to 67%; P = .02) and by 63% in HIV-infected patients (95% CI, 8% to 85%; P = .02). There were no significant effects on mortality overall; however, we noted a marginally significant 64% reduction of deaths in HIV-negative subjects (95% CI, -14% to 88%; P = .08). Supplementation increased CD3+ and CD4+ cell counts and decreased the incidence of extrapulmonary TB and genital ulcers in HIV-negative patients. Micronutrients reduced the incidence of peripheral neuropathy by 57% (95% CI, 41% to 69%; P < .001), irrespective of HIV status. There were no significant effects on weight gain, body composition, anemia, or HIV load.

Conclusions: Micronutrient supplementation could improve the outcome in patients undergoing TB chemotherapy in Tanzania.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00197704.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / therapeutic use*
  • Secondary Prevention
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Tanzania
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / mortality
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / therapy*


  • Micronutrients

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00197704