Micronutrient Deficiencies in Children With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Nutr Clin Pract. 2020 Apr;35(2):315-322. doi: 10.1002/ncp.10373. Epub 2019 Jul 25.


Background: Children with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are at risk of developing nutrition deficiencies, particularly because of reduced intake, restrictive diets, malabsorption, and excessive nutrient loss. In this study, we aimed to assess the status of trace elements, minerals, and vitamins in a large cohort of children with IBDs.

Methods: Medical records of children diagnosed with IBDs during 2000-2016 were reviewed retrospectively. Retrieved data included demographics, disease characteristics, disease activity indices, anthropometric measures, and specific trace elements, minerals, and vitamins at diagnosis and during follow-up.

Results: Out of 359 children with IBD (158 [44%] females, median age at diagnosis 14.1 years, interquartile range [IQR] 12.0-16.0), 240 (67%) were diagnosed with Crohn's disease (CD) and 119 (33%) with ulcerative colitis (UC). Median follow-up time was 7 years (IQR 5-10). The prevalence of deficiencies in patients with CD at diagnosis and last follow-up, respectively, were iron (88% and 39.5%), zinc (53% and 11.5%), vitamin D (39% and 36%), and folic acid (10% and 13%). In patients with UC, frequencies were: iron (77% and 40%), vitamin D (49% and 33%), zinc (31% and 10%), and folic acid (3.8% and 9.7%). Magnesium and vitamin B12 deficiencies were rare. For both diseases, iron deficiency was associated with hypoalbuminemia. Deficiencies in iron and zinc were more common in patients with CD than those with UC.

Conclusions: Deficiencies in iron, zinc, and vitamin D are common at pediatric IBD diagnosis with limited improvement during follow-up, whereas deficiencies in magnesium and vitamin B12 are rare.

Keywords: Crohn's disease; child; inflammatory bowel disease; iron; pediatrics; ulcerative colitis; vitamin D; zinc.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / etiology
  • Child
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications
  • Crohn Disease / complications
  • Deficiency Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Deficiency Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / etiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications*
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / deficiency*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trace Elements / deficiency
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / etiology
  • Vitamins
  • Zinc / deficiency


  • Micronutrients
  • Trace Elements
  • Vitamins
  • Zinc