Introduction: Selenium and zinc are indispensable microelements for normal functioning and development of the human body. They are cofactors of many enzymes of the antioxidative barrier (selenium - glutathione peroxidase; zinc - superoxide dismutase). The aim of the study was to evaluate the importance of selenium and zinc in the pathogenesis of food allergy in small children.
Material and methods: The study was performed in 134 children with food allergy, aged 1 to 36 months. The control group was composed of 36 children at the same age, without clinical symptoms of food intolerance. Each child had estimated serum levels of zinc and selenium. Furthermore, the authors evaluated activity of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) in erythrocyte lysates and serum. Tests were performed twice, before and after 6-month administration of elimination diet.
Results: The obtained results showed that children with food allergy had significantly lower concentrations of selenium, zinc and examined enzymes in comparison to children from the control group. Concentration of selenium and zinc as well as activity of examined enzymes increased after application of eliminative diet.
Conclusions: In children with allergy decreased concentrations of selenium and zinc, and lower values of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase which increased after elimination diet were affirmed. These observations suggest their role in pathogenesis of food allergy. Conducted observations indicate the need to monitor trace elements content in the diet in children with food allergy. The results showed that children with food allergy had a weakened antioxidative barrier.
Keywords: food allergy; selenium; small children; zinc.