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Zinc supplementation and plasma lipid peroxides in an elderly population


Objective: To determine the effect of vitamin A, zinc or both on plasma lipid peroxides in a healthy elderly population.

Design: Double-blind randomized controlled trial supplementation of vitamin A and zinc.

Setting: Public home for elderly people, in Rome, Italy.

Subjects: A total of 178 residents of a Public home for elderly people were evaluated regarding health and nutritional status. 136 gave a written consensus to participate in the trial and were randomized in four groups of treatment. 118 elderly completed the trial.

Interventions: Three months supplementation of the following treatments: (1) vitamin A (800 μg retinol palmitate); (2) zinc (25 mg zinc as sulphate); (3) vitamin A and zinc (800 μg retinol palmitate and 25 mg zinc as sulphate); (4) placebo (starch containing capsules).

Main outcome measures: Plasma lipid peroxides (TBA-RS) were measured before and after supplementation.

Results: Zinc supplementation was associated with a decrease in plasma lipid peroxides (β=−0.19; 95% confidence levels: −0.37, −0.002; p-value=0.05) after adjusting for sex, smoking habits, baseline plasma lipid peroxides and vitamin A plasma levels.

Conclusions: Zinc supplementation decreased plasma lipid peroxides while vitamin A had no effect in this elderly population. Adequate zinc intake or supplementation could play an important role in the prevention and/or modulation of diseases in the elderly people.

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Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, London, England

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Fortes, C., Agabiti, N., Fano, V. et al. Zinc supplementation and plasma lipid peroxides in an elderly population. Eur J Clin Nutr 51, 97–101 (1997).

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