Adequate diet with supplements of Vitamin A and Zinc can help in protecting young children from malaria.
A new study at Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS) in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso has found that vitamin A and zinc play a critical role in the immune system, and can decrease the risk of malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum.
Jean-Bosco Ouedraogo of IRSS conducted the trial on children between 6 to 72 months in age, who were given daily supplementation of 200,000 IU of vitamin A and 10 mg of zinc and half were given placebo.
The researchers examined the symptoms of fever and analyzed blood samples for the presence of the malaria parasite in those children with fever.
The findings revealed that both the supplements had a significant effect of on the incidence of malaria.
"At the end of the study we observed a significant decrease in the prevalence malaria in the supplemented group (34%) compared to the placebo group (3.5%)," said the researchers.
They also found that the supplementation increased the onset time of malarial symptoms and reduced the frequency of episodes.
The findings are published in Nutrition Journal.