Vitamin A and Childhood Diarrhea

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Vitamin A and Childhood Diarrhea

Reference: Barreto ML, Santos LMP, et al: Effect of vitamin A supplementation on diarrhoea and acute lower-respiratory-tract infections in young children in Brazil Lancet 344: 228-31, 1994.

Summary: Children aged six months to four years were randomized to receive high dose vitamin A (100,000 IU for children under twelve months, 200,000 IU for those over 12 months) or placebo once every four months for one year. These children were then visited three times a week and incidence of diarrhea and acute lower respiratory tract infection (ALRI) carefully ascertained. Children who were severely weight deficient were excluded. Only 7.4% of the children had serum deficiencies of vitamin A and none had signs and symptoms of deficiency such as xerophthalmia. The incidence of diarrhea overall was 6% lower in the vitamin A compared to the placebo group, a significant difference. Mild diarrhea was not significantly affected, but vitamin A did significantly protect against moderate and severe diarrhea compared to placebo. Vitamin A showed no significant affects on ALRI. There were drop-outs totalling 10.3% of the follow-up time in the study equally distributed between the two groups, mostly due to moving out of the region.

Natural Product Research Consultants, Inc.

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