Multiple micronutrient supplementation improves vitamin B12 and folate concentrations of HIV infected children in Uganda: a randomized controlled trial
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: The effect of multiple micronutrient supplementation on vitamin B12 and folate has hither to not been reported in African HIV infected children. This paper describes vitamin B12 and folate status of Ugandan HIV infected children aged 1-5 years and reports the effect of multiple micronutrient supplementation on serum vitamin B12 and folate concentrations. Methods: Of 847 children who participated in a multiple micronutrient supplementation trial, 214 were assessed for vitamin B12 and folate concentrations pre and post supplementation. One hundred and four children were randomised to two times the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of a 14 multiple micronutrient supplement (MMS) and 114 to a ‘standard of care’ supplement of 6 multivitamins (MV). Serum vitamin B12 was measured by an electrochemiluminescence immunoassay and folate by a competitive protein-binding assay using Modular E (Roche) automatic analyzer. Vitamin B12 concentrations were considered low if less than 221picomoles per litre (pmol/L) and folate if < 13.4 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L). The Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test was used to measure the difference between pre and post supplementation concentrations. Results: Vitamin B12 was low in 60/214 (28%) and folate in 62/214 (29.0%) children. In the MMS group, the median concentration (IQR) of vitamin B12 at 6 months was 401.5 (264.3 - 518.8) pmol/L compared to the baseline of 285.5 (216.5 - 371.8) pmol/L, p < 0.001. The median (IQR) folate concentrations increased from 17.3 (13.5 - 26.6) nmol/L to 27.7 (21.1 - 33.4) nmol/L, p < 0.001. In the ‘standard of care’ MV supplemented group, the median concentration (IQR) of vitamin B12 at 6 months was 288.5 (198.8 - 391.0) pmol/L compared to the baseline of 280.0 (211.5 - 386.3) pmol/L while the median (IQR) folate concentrations at 6 months were 16.5 (11.7 - 22.1) nmol/L compared to 15.7 (11.9 - 22.1) nmol/L at baseline. There was a significant difference in the MMS group in both vitamin B12 and folate concentrations but no difference in the MV group. Conclusions: Almost a third of the HIV infected Ugandan children aged 1-5 years had low serum concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate. Multiple micronutrient supplementation compared to the ‘standard of care’ supplement of 6 multivitamins improved the vitamin B12 and folate status of HIV infected children in Uganda.