Resistant starch does not affect zinc homeostasis in rural Malawian children.

Thaddeus May, Clare Westcott, C Thakwalakwa, MI Ordiz, K Maleta, Jamie Westcott, Kelsey Ryan, Michael Hambidge, Leland Miller, Graeme Young, Elissa Mortimer, Mark Manary, Nancy Krebs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: This study tested the hypothesis that Malawian children at risk for zinc deficiency will have reduced endogenous fecal zinc (EFZ) and increased net absorbed zinc (NAZ) following the addition of high amylose maize resistant starch (RS) to their diet. Methods: This was a small controlled clinical trial to determine the effects of added dietary RS on zinc homeostasis among 17 stunted children, aged 3-5 years consuming a plant-based diet and at risk for perturbed zinc homeostasis. Dual zinc stable isotope studies were performed before and after 28 d of intervention with RS, so that each child served as their own control. The RS was incorporated into fried wheat flour dough and given under direct observation twice daily for 28 d. Changes in zinc homeostatic measures were compared using paired Student's t-tests and linear regression analysis. Results: Children had a mean height-for-age Z-score of -3.3, and consumed animal source foods ≤twice per month. Their habitual diet contained a phytate:zinc molar ratio of 34:1. Children avidly consumed the RS without complaints. EFZ was 0.8. ±. 0.4. mg/d (mean. ±. SD) both before and after the intervention. Fractional absorption of zinc was 0.38. ±. 0.08 and 0.35. ±. 0.06 before and after the RS intervention respectively. NAZ was 1.1. ±. 0.5 and 0.6. ±. 0.7 before and after the RS intervention. This reduction of NAZ corresponded with diminished dietary zinc intake on the study day following intervention with RS. Regression analysis indicated no change in zinc absorption relative to dietary intake as a result of the RS intervention. Conclusion: Consumption of RS did not improve zinc homeostasis in rural African children without zinc deficiency. RS was well tolerated in this setting.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-48
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


    • Endogenous zinc
    • Malawi
    • Resistant starch
    • Zinc
    • Zinc homeostasis


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