Objective: This trial aimed to evaluate the effects of zinc sulfate in comparison with placebo on markers of insulin resistance, oxidative stress, and inflammation in a sample of obese prepubescent children.
Methods: This triple-masked, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial was conducted among 60 obese Iranian children in 2008. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups of equal number; one group received 20 mg of elemental zinc and the other group received placebo on a regular daily basis for 8 weeks. After a 4-week washout period, the groups were crossed over. In addition to anthropometric measures and blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, lipid profile, insulin, apolipoproteins A-1 (ApoA-I) and B, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), leptin, oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL), and malondialdehyde were determined at all four stages of the study.
Results: Irrespective of the order of receiving zinc and placebo, in both groups, significant decrease was documented for Apo B/ApoA-I ratio, ox-LDL, leptin and malondialdehyde, total and LDL-cholesterol after receiving zinc without significant change after receiving placebo. In groups, hs-CRP and markers of insulin resistance decreased significantly after receiving zinc, but increased after receiving placebo. In both groups, the mean body mass index (BMI) Z-score remained high, after receiving zinc, the mean weight, BMI, BMI Z-score decreased significantly, whereas these values increased after receiving placebo.
Conclusion: These results are particularly important in light of the deleterious consequences of childhood obesity and early changes in markers of inflammatory and oxidative stress. We suggest exploring the direct clinical application of zinc supplementation in childhood obesity in future studies.