Trace element supplementation in hemodialysis patients: a randomized controlled trial

BMC Nephrol. 2015 Apr 11;16:52. doi: 10.1186/s12882-015-0042-4.


Background: People with kidney failure are often deficient in zinc and selenium, but little is known about the optimal way to correct such deficiency.

Methods: We did a double-blind randomized trial evaluating the effects of zinc (Zn), selenium (Se) and vitamin E added to the standard oral renal vitamin supplement (B and C vitamins) among hemodialysis patients in Alberta, Canada. We evaluated the effect of two daily doses of the new supplement (medium dose: 50 mg Zn, 75 mcg Se, 250 IU vitamin E; low dose: 25 mg Zn, 50 mcg Se, 250 IU vitamin E) compared to the standard supplement on blood concentrations of Se and Zn at 90 days (primary outcome) and 180 days (secondary outcome) as well as safety outcomes.

Results: We enrolled 150 participants. The proportion of participants with low zinc status (blood level <815 ug/L) did not differ between the control group and the two intervention groups at 90 days (control 23.9% vs combined intervention groups 23.9%, P > 0.99) or 180 days (18.6% vs 28.2%, P = 0.24). The proportion with low selenium status (blood level <121 ug/L) was similar for controls and the combined intervention groups at 90 days (32.6 vs 19.6%, P = 0.09) and 180 days (34.9% vs 23.5%, P = 0.17). There were no significant differences in the risk of adverse events between the groups.

Conclusions: Supplementation with low or medium doses of zinc and selenium did not correct low zinc or selenium status in hemodialysis patients. Future studies should consider higher doses of zinc (≥75 mg/d) and selenium (≥100 mcg/d) with the standard supplement.

Trial registration: Registered with (NCT01473914).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alberta
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Avitaminosis / complications
  • Avitaminosis / drug therapy
  • Deficiency Diseases / complications
  • Deficiency Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Selenium / administration & dosage*
  • Trace Elements / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin B Complex / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*
  • Zinc / administration & dosage*


  • Trace Elements
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Ascorbic Acid

Associated data