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Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Nov;74(5):657-63.

Multiple micronutrient supplementation increases the growth of Mexican infants.

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Centro de Investigación en Nutrición y Salud, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.



The role of single micronutrient deficiencies in the etiology of growth retardation has recently gained attention. However, because multiple micronutrient deficiencies are common in children in developing countries, it is possible that more than one micronutrient may limit growth and, hence, the correction of a single deficiency may not be enough to improve growth substantially.


The objective was to evaluate the effect of multiple micronutrient supplementation on the growth of children aged 8-14 mo whose diets were poor in several micronutrients.


Children were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups. One group received a multiple micronutrient supplement containing the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) or 1.5 times the RDA of vitamins A, D, E, K, C, B-1, B-6, B-12, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, folic acid, and pantothenic acid, and iron, zinc, iodine, copper, manganese, and selenium. The other group received a placebo. Supplements were administered 6 d/wk for an average of 12.2 mo. Body length was measured at baseline and monthly thereafter until the end of supplementation.


Supplemented infants initially aged <12 mo had significantly greater length gains than did the placebo group, with a difference of 8.2 mm (length-for-age z score: 0.3) at the end of supplementation. In contrast, differences in length gains between the supplemented and placebo groups initially aged > or =12 mo were not significant.


Micronutrient deficiencies limited the growth of the Mexican infants studied. Improving micronutrient intakes should be a component of interventions to promote growth in infants living in settings where micronutrient intakes are inadequate.

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