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J Nutr. 2011 Apr 1;141(4):685-91. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.131672. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

Daily multi-micronutrient supplementation during tuberculosis treatment increases weight and grip strength among HIV-uninfected but not HIV-infected patients in Mwanza, Tanzania.

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  • 1National Institute for Medical Research, Mwanza Centre Mwanza, Tanzania.


Undernutrition is common among tuberculosis (TB) patients. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of multi-micronutrient supplementation during TB treatment on weight, body composition, and handgrip strength. A total of 865 patients with smear-positive (PTB+) or -negative (PTB-) pulmonary TB were randomly allocated to receive a daily biscuit with or without multi-micronutrients for 60 d during the intensive phase of TB treatment. Weight, arm fat area, arm muscle area, and handgrip strength were assessed at baseline and after 2 and 5 mo. At 2 mo, the multi-micronutrient supplementation led to a higher handgrip gain (1.22 kg; 95% CI = 0.50, 1.94; P = 0.001) but had no effects on other outcomes. The effects of multi-micronutrient supplementation were modified by HIV infection (P-interaction = 0.002). Among HIV- patients, multi-micronutrient supplementation increased weight gain by 590 g (95% CI = -40, 1210; P = 0.07) and handgrip strength by 1.6 kg (95% CI = 0.78, 2.47; P < 0.001), whereas among HIV+ patients, it reduced weight gain by 1440 g (95% CI = 290, 2590; P = 0.002) and had no effect on handgrip strength (0.07 kg; 95% CI = -1.30, 1.46; P = 0.91). The reduced weight gain among HIV+ patients receiving multi-micronutrient supplementation seemed to be explained by a higher proportion of patients reporting fever. At 5 mo, the effects on weight were sustained, whereas there was no effect on handgrip strength. In conclusion, multi-micronutrient supplementation given as a biscuit is beneficial among HIV- PTB patients and may be recommended to TB programs. More research is needed to develop an effective supplement for HIV+ PTB patients.

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