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Multi-Nutrient Supplementation Holds Benefits for Infants 35135Multi-Nutrient Supplementation Holds Benefits for Infants

March 28, 2005

2 Min Read
Multi-Nutrient Supplementation Holds Benefits for Infants

Multi-Nutrient Supplementation Holds Benefits for Infants


A special section inthe March 2005 Journal of Nutrition (www.nutrition.org)examines the impact of multiple micronutrient supplementation on growth, anemiaand nutrient status in infants. Coordinated by UNICEF and several nationalnutritional institutes around the globe, results of the Four Country IRIS Trialsuggest daily supplementation with a multiple micronutrient benefits weightgain, helps control iron deficiency and enhances status of zinc, retinol,tocopherol and riboflavin.

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

The daily multi group had significantly greater weight gainthan the other three groups, with the weekly multi also posting better resultsthan the iron or placebo groups. The researchers noted anemia and multiplemicronutrient deficiencies were high at baseline, and were not fully controlledeven after six months of supplementation.

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

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