Zinc supplementation and plasma lipid peroxides in an elderly population

Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997 Feb;51(2):97-101. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600369.


Objective: To determine the effect of vitamin A, zinc or both on plasma lipid peroxides in a healthy elderly population.

Design: Double-blind randomized controlled trial supplementation of vitamin A and zinc.

Setting: Public home for elderly people, in Rome, Italy.

Subjects: A total of 178 residents of a Public home for elderly people were evaluated regarding health and nutritional status. 136 gave a written consensus to participate in the trial and were randomized in four groups of treatment. 118 elderly completed the trial.

Interventions: Three months supplementation of the following treatments: (1) vitamin A (800 micrograms retinol palmitate); (2) zinc (25 mg zinc as sulphate); (3) vitamin A and zinc (800 micrograms retinol palmitate and 25 mg zinc as sulphate); (4) placebo (starch containing capsules).

Main outcome measures: Plasma lipid peroxides (TBA-RS) were measured before and after supplementation.

Results: Zinc supplementation was associated with a decrease in plasma lipid peroxides (beta = -0.19; 95% confidence levels: -0.37, -0.002; p-value = 0.05) after adjusting for sex, smoking habits, baseline plasma lipid peroxides and vitamin A plasma levels.

Conclusions: Zinc supplementation decreased plasma lipid peroxides while vitamin A had no effect in this elderly population. Adequate zinc intake or supplementation could play an important role in the prevention and/ or modulation of diseases in the elderly people.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Lipid Peroxides / blood*
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Zinc / administration & dosage*


  • Lipid Peroxides
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Vitamin A
  • Zinc