Introduction: The objective of this study was to investigate whether zinc (Zn2+) supplementation could contribute to neurological retrieval of patients suffering from strokes and low Zn2+ intake.
Patients and methods: Twenty-six patients with subacute stroke, having adequate daily energy (> or = 24 kcal/kg/day) and protein (> or = 0.8 g/kg/day) intake (EPI) and Zn2+ ingestion lower than two-thirds of the recommended allowance of 10 mg/day, were randomly allocated either to a control group (n = 13) or Zn2+ group (n = 13) where Zn2+ supplementation consisted of 10 mg Zn2+/day. Neurological gravity was tested with the NIH stroke scale (NIHSS) at patient admission and after 30 days of protocol commencement.
Results: At day 30, the improvement in NIHSS was higher in the zinc group than in the placebo (-4.7 +/- 1.3 points versus -3.3 +/- 1.1 points; P < 0.02). NIHSS and Zn2+ intake were negatively correlated (r = -0.46; P < 0.02).
Conclusion: The normalization of Zn2+ intake in stroke patients with low mineral intake may enhance neurological recovery.