Effect of Zinc Supplementation on GH, IGF1, IGFBP3, OCN, and ALP in Non-Zinc-Deficient Children

J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34(4):290-9. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.929511. Epub 2015 Mar 11.


Objective: Because most publications on growth and development deal with children with zinc deficiency, we decided to study the effects of this micronutrient on the secretion of growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP3), osteocalcin (OCN), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in healthy and eutrophic children. This study is original because the methodology was unique.

Methods: Forty schoolchildren participated in the study, 17 females and 23 males, aged 8 and 9 years. The study was carried out during a 3-month period. It was characterized as a triple-blind randomized controlled trial. The children were divided in a control group (20 schoolchildren using 10% sorbitol) and experimental group (20 schoolchildren using zinc). All were submitted to oral zinc supplementation (10 mg Zn/day) and venous zinc administration (0.06537 mg Zn/kg of body weight). Blood samples were collected at 0, 60, 120, 180, and 210 min. All schoolchildren were also submitted to anthropometric, clinical, and dietetic assessments as well as biochemistry analyses.

Results: Oral zinc supplementation in the experimental group (1) stimulated an increase in the consumption of protein and fat (p = 0.0007, p < 0.0001, p < 0.0001, respectively), (2) increased basal serum zinc (p < 0.0001), (3) increased plasma ALP (p = 0.0270), and (4) showed a positive correlation for IGF1, IGFBP3, and OCN, comparing before and after oral zinc supplementation (p = 0.0011, p < 0.0001, p < 0.0446, respectively). During zinc administration, plasma IGF1 and IGFBP3 increased significantly in the experimental group (p = 0.0468, p < 0.0001, respectively). Plasma GH increased in the experimental group but without statistical difference comparing before and after oral zinc supplementation.

Conclusions: Zinc supplementation stimulated an increase in the consumption of some macronutrients and basal serum zinc and improved plasma alkaline phosphatase levels. Zinc administration increased hormones of the GH-IGF1 system.

Keywords: GH-IGF1 system; children; growth; oral zinc supplementation; venous zinc administration.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood*
  • Child
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Osteocalcin / blood*
  • Reference Values
  • Trace Elements / pharmacology
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / pharmacology*


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Trace Elements
  • Osteocalcin
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Zinc