The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Benefits of vitamin A and zinc on malaria

     Researchers report positive effects when vitamin A and zinc were given to young children from the country of Burkina Faso in West Africa.

    First, the details.

    • 150 children aged from 6 to 72 months were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
      • Vitamin A 200 000 IU + elemental zinc 10 mg
      • Placebo
    • Treatment was given 6 days a week for 6 months.
    • The researchers and children were unaware of the treatment given — double-blind.
    • Children were evaluated daily for fever.
    • Microscopic examination of blood was done in the case of fever (37.5°C or higher) for malaria parasite detection.

    And, the results.

    • At the end of the study there was a significant 34% decrease in the prevalence of malaria in the vitamin A + zinc group vs 4% decrease in the placebo group.
    • There was a significant 30% reduction in malaria episodes in the vitamin A + zinc group.
    • Time to first malaria episode was significantly delayed in the vitamin A + zinc group.
    • The vitamin A + zinc group also had 22% fewer episodes of fever than the placebo group — a significant difference.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded, “Combined vitamin A plus zinc supplementation reduces the risk of fever and clinical malaria episodes among children, and thus may play a key role in malaria control strategies for children in Africa.”

    Children and adults living in malaria-endemic areas often have malnutrition and deficiencies in micronutrients such as vitamin A and zinc — a situation that creates a complexity of interactions with serious health consequences.

    The results from earlier studies reviewed by the authors suggest that vitamin A and zinc given alone have produced benefit. Both are essential for normal immune function. Consequently, combining them might lead to enhanced immunity against the parasite, Plasmodium falciparum — the most common source of life-threatening malaria, and the cause of over a million deaths every year.

    9/16/08 18:11 JR

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