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Multi-Nutrient Supplementation Holds Benefits for InfantsMulti-Nutrient Supplementation Holds Benefits for Infants

March 1, 2005

2 Min Read
Multi-Nutrient Supplementation Holds Benefits for Infants

NEW YORK--A special section in the March 2005 Journal of Nutrition (www.nutrition.org) examines the impact of multiple micronutrient supplementation on growth, anemia and nutrient status in infants. Coordinated by UNICEF and several national nutritional institutes around the globe, results of the Four Country IRIS Trial suggest daily supplementation with a multiple micronutrient benefits weight gain, helps control iron deficiency and enhances status of zinc, retinol, tocopherol and riboflavin.

"Diets of infants across the world are commonly deficient in multiple micronutrients during the period of growth faltering and dietary transition from milk to solid foods," wrote the researchers in the pooled data analysis (135:631S-8S). The analysis incorporated data from randomized, placebo controlled trials carried out in Indonesia, Peru, South Africa and Vietnam, involving a total of 1,134 infants. Treatments included daily placebo (n=283), a weekly multiple micronutrient supplement (n=283), a daily multiple micronutrient supplement (n=280) or a daily iron supplement (n=288).

The daily multi group had significantly greater weight gain than the other three groups, with the weekly multi also posting better results than the iron or placebo groups. The researchers noted anemia and multiple micronutrient deficiencies were high at baseline, and were not fully controlled even after six months of supplementation.

Results from each of the individual countries were also reported in the journal. Researchers from Peru (135:646S-52S) and Indonesia (135:639S-45S) noted none of the treatments prevented growth faltering or common morbidities during infancy; in addition, anemia was persistent in all of the treatment groups, though daily multi supplementation was most efficacious. The Vietnamese researchers (135:660S-5S) found no incidence of iron deficiency after six months of daily multi supplementation, although there was still zinc deficiency and anemia, suggesting multiple factors contribute to anemia. Finally, the South African team (135:653S-9S) concluded the daily multi was the most effective intervention for improving anemia as well as status of iron, zinc, and vitamins A and E.

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