New trial casts doubt on role of zinc supplements in diarrhea treatment

May 5, 2009

Zinc supplementation can be ineffective in the treatment of diarrhea. A randomised controlled trial published in the open access journal BMC Medicine has shown that supplementation with either zinc or zinc and copper is no more effective than placebo.

Archana Patel, from the Lata Medical Research Foundation, India, led a team of researchers who studied the effects of the different supplements on a group of 808 children in Nagpur, also in India. She said, "The expected beneficial effects of zinc supplementation for acute diarrhea were not observed. Therapeutic zinc or zinc and copper supplementation may not have a universal beneficial impact on the duration of acute diarrhea in children".

The authors found that neither duration of , total stool weight, use of oral rehydration salts nor use of intravenous fluids were affected by supplementation. The authors said, "There could be many reasons for the lack of effect observed in our study. Although our study controlled for baseline serum zinc concentrations, these are not always a reliable measure of body zinc status. As such, baseline zinc deficiency in our subjects may have affected our results. Different diarrhea etiologies and the impact of interactions of zinc with multi-vitamins shown in previous studies may also explain the difference between our study and others that have shown a positive effect."

The authors have called for a re-examination of all available trial data, including this one, to dissect out the potential contributors to heterogeneity of results before zinc can be universally recommended for treatment of acute childhood diarrhea.

More information: and copper supplementation in acute diarrhea in children: a double-blind randomized controlled trial, Archana Patel, Michael J Dibley, Manju Mamtani, Neetu Badhoniya and Hemant Kulkarni, BMC Medicine (in press), http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcmed/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New approach to tracking how deadly 'superbugs' travel could slow their spread

November 22, 2017
Killer bacteria - ones that have out-evolved our best antibiotics—may not go away anytime soon. But a new approach to tracking their spread could eventually give us a fighting chance to keep their death toll down.

Research points to diagnostic test for top cause of liver transplant in kids

November 22, 2017
Biliary atresia is the most common cause of liver transplants for children in the United States. Now researchers report in Science Translational Medicine finding a strong biomarker candidate that could be used for earlier ...

Metabolites altered in chronic kidney disease

November 22, 2017
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 1 in 7 people in the United States, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). These individuals have a very high risk of cardiovascular ...

Rainfall can indicate that mosquito-borne epidemics will occur weeks later

November 22, 2017
A new study demonstrates that outbreaks of mosquito-borne viruses Zika and Chikungunya generally occur about three weeks after heavy rainfall.Researchers also found that Chikungunya will predominate over Zika when both circulate ...

Alcohol consumption and metabolic factors act together to increase the risk of severe liver disease

November 22, 2017
A new study provides insights into the interaction between alcohol consumption and metabolic factors in predicting severe liver disease in the general population. The findings, which are published in Hepatology, indicate ...

Gastric acid suppressant lansoprazole may target tuberculosis

November 21, 2017
A cheap and widely used drug, used to treat conditions such as heartburn, gastritis and ulcers, could work against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB), according to new research from UCL and the London School of Hygiene ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.