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Malaria is associated with reduced serum retinol levels in rural Zambian children.

Hautvast JL; Tolboom JJ; West CE; Kafwembe EM; Sauerwein RW; van Staveren WA
Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1998;68(6):384-8

Vitamin A deficiency increases the risk of illness, while infections impair vitamin A status. Malaria is highly prevalent in rural Zambia. We describe the relationship between malaria and vitamin A status. We examined dietary vitamin A intake, malaria parasitaemia and serum concentrations of retinol, C-reactive protein (CRP) and alpha 1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) in 210 children under the age of 2. Vitamin A intake was low. Serum retinol was negatively correlated with malaria parasite count and to serum levels of CRP and AGP. Increased malaria parasite density resulted in raised CRP and AGP levels, which were negatively associated with serum retinol. We conclude that improvement of dietary vitamin A intake and prevention of infectious diseases, especially malaria, could alleviate vitamin A deficiency in this population.



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