Vitamin A, vitamin E, iron and zinc status in a cohort of HIV-infected mothers and their uninfected infants

Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. Nov-Dec 2014;47(6):692-700. doi: 10.1590/0037-8682-0226-2014.


Introduction: We hypothesized that nutritional deficiency would be common in a cohort of postpartum, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women and their infants.

Methods: Weight and height, as well as blood concentrations of retinol, α-tocopherol, ferritin, hemoglobin, and zinc, were measured in mothers after delivery and in their infants at birth and at 6-12 weeks and six months of age. Retinol and α-tocopherol levels were quantified by high performance liquid chromatography, and zinc levels were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The maternal body mass index during pregnancy was adjusted for gestational age (adjBMI).

Results: Among the 97 women 19.6% were underweight. Laboratory abnormalities were most frequently observed for the hemoglobin (46.4%), zinc (41.1%), retinol (12.5%) and ferritin (6.5%) levels. Five percent of the women had mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentrations < 31g/dL. The most common deficiency in the infants was α-tocopherol (81%) at birth; however, only 18.5% of infants had deficient levels at six months of age. Large percentages of infants had zinc (36.8%) and retinol (29.5%) deficiencies at birth; however, these percentages decreased to 17.5% and 18.5%, respectively, by six months of age. No associations between infant micronutrient deficiencies and either the maternal adjBMI category or maternal micronutrient deficiencies were found.

Conclusions: Micronutrient deficiencies were common in HIV-infected women and their infants. Micronutrient deficiencies were less prevalent in the infants at six months of age. Neither underweight women nor their infants at birth were at increased risk for micronutrient deficiencies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood
  • HIV Infections / blood*
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iron / blood
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Postpartum Period / blood*
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Young Adult
  • Zinc / blood
  • alpha-Tocopherol / blood


  • Hemoglobins
  • Vitamin A
  • Ferritins
  • Iron
  • alpha-Tocopherol
  • Zinc