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Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Apr;75(4):720-7.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of vitamin A and zinc supplementation in persons with tuberculosis in Indonesia: effects on clinical response and nutritional status.

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SEAMEO-TROPMED Regional Center for Community Nutrition, University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.



The results of cross-sectional studies indicate that micronutrient deficiencies are common in patients with tuberculosis. No published data exist on the effect of vitamin A and zinc supplementation on antituberculosis treatment.


Our goal was to investigate whether vitamin A and zinc supplementation increases the efficacy of antituberculosis treatment with respect to clinical response and nutritional status.


In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients with newly diagnosed tuberculosis were divided into 2 groups. One group (n = 40) received 1500 retinol equivalents (5000 IU) vitamin A (as retinyl acetate) and 15 mg Zn (as zinc sulfate) daily for 6 mo (micronutrient group). The second group (n = 40) received a placebo. Both groups received the same antituberculosis treatment recommended by the World Health Organization. Clinical examinations, assessments of micronutrient status, and anthropometric measurements were carried out before and after 2 and 6 mo of antituberculosis treatment.


At baseline, 64% of patients had a body mass index (in kg/m(2)) < 18.5, 32% had plasma retinol concentrations < 0.70 micromol/L, and 30% had plasma zinc concentrations < 10.7 micromol/L. After antituberculosis treatment, plasma zinc concentrations were not significantly different between groups. Plasma retinol concentrations were significantly higher in the micronutrient group than in the placebo group after 6 mo (P < 0.05). Sputum conversion (P < 0.05) and resolution of X-ray lesion area (P < 0.01) occurred earlier in the micronutrient group.


Vitamin A and zinc supplementation improves the effect of tuberculosis medication after 2 mo of antituberculosis treatment and results in earlier sputum smear conversion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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