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Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2012, Article ID 216179, 8 pages
Research Article

Effect of Zinc on Efficacy of Iron Supplementation in Improving Iron and Zinc Status in Women

1Nutrition and Health Sciences Program, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
2Micronutrient Program, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC 20037, USA
3Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama, Calzada Roosevelt 6-25 Zona 11, Apartado Postal 1188, Guatemala City, Guatemala
4Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

Received 30 January 2012; Accepted 10 March 2012

Academic Editor: Christel Lamberg-Allardt

Copyright © 2012 Phuong Nguyen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Iron and zinc may interact in micronutrient supplements and thereby decrease efficacy. We investigated interactive effects of combined zinc and iron supplementation in a randomized controlled trial conducted in 459 Guatemalan women. Four groups were supplemented for 12 weeks: (1) weekly iron and folic acid (IFA); (2) weekly IFA and 30 mg zinc; (3) daily IFA; (4) daily IFA and 15 mg zinc. Effects were assessed by generalized linear regression. Baseline hemoglobin (Hb) concentration was 137.4±15.5 g/L, 13% were anemic and 54% had zinc deficiency. Hb cconcentrations were similar by supplement type, but Hb concentrations improved significantly in anemic women at baseline (increase of 21.8 g/L). Mean percentage changes in serum ferritin were significantly higher in daily compared to weekly supplemented groups (86% versus 32%). The addition of zinc to IFA supplements had no significant impact on iron or zinc status. In conclusion, adding zinc to IFA supplements did not modify efficacy on iron status or improve zinc status, but daily supplementation was more efficacious than weekly in improving iron stores.