A high prevalence of zinc- but not iron-deficiency among women in rural Malawi: a cross-sectional study

Siyame, Edwin W. P.; Hurst, Rachel; Wawer, Anna A.; Young, Scott D.; Broadley, Martin R.; Chilimba, Allan D. C.; Ander, Louise E.; Watts, Michael J.; Chilima, Benson; Gondwe, Jellita; Kang'ombe, Dalitso; Kalimbira, Alexander; Fairweather-Tait, Susan J.; Bailey, Karl B.; Gibson, Rosalind S.. 2013 A high prevalence of zinc- but not iron-deficiency among women in rural Malawi: a cross-sectional study. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 83 (3). 176-187.

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Background: Zinc deficiency is often associated with nutritional iron deficiency (ID), and may be exacerbated by low selenium status. Aim: To investigate risk of iron and zinc deficiency in women with contrasting selenium status. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 1-day diet composites and blood samples were collected from self-selected Malawian women aged 18−50 years from low- (Zombwe) (n=60) and high-plant-available soil selenium (Mikalango) (n=60) districts. Diets were analyzed for trace elements and blood for biomarkers. Results: Zinc deficiency (>90 %) was greater than ID anemia (6 %), or ID (5 %), attributed to diets low in zinc (median 5.7 mg/day) with high phytate:zinc molar ratios (20.0), but high in iron (21.0 mg/day) from soil contaminant iron. Zombwe compared to Mikalango women had lower (p<0.05) intakes of selenium (6.5 vs. 55.3 µg/day), zinc (4.8 vs. 6.4 mg/day), iron (16.6 vs. 29.6 mg/day), lower plasma selenium (0.72 vs. 1.60 µmol/L), and higher body iron (5.3 vs. 3.8 mg/kg), although plasma zinc was similar (8.60 vs. 8.87 µmol/L). Body iron and plasma zinc were positive determinants of hemoglobin. Conclusion: Risk of zinc deficiency was higher than ID and was shown not to be associated with selenium status. Plasma zinc was almost as important as body iron as a hemoglobin determinant.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0300-9831
Date made live: 21 May 2014 08:24 +0 (UTC)

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