In this study, researchers from Nigeria and the U.K. evaluated the effects of different combinations of vitamin C and zinc on hematological parameters and the mortality of mice infected with the malaria parasite, Plasmodium berghei. Their findings were published in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness.
According to research, iron and zinc deficiencies are common in areas where malaria is widespread. In fact, these deficiencies contribute to morbidity.
Taking vitamin C and zinc supplements is seen as a potential remedy to malaria.
To explore this, the researchers conducted a three-week trial to assess hematological changes and the survival of P. berghei-infected mice after a three-day treatment with the antimalarial drug, artemether, combined with vitamin C and zinc supplementation.
The mice were grouped based on different ratios of vitamin C and zinc (i.e., 90:10, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40 and 50:50).
The researchers conducted weekly assays to assess body weight, packed cell volume (PCV), white blood cell count (WBC), red blood cell count (RBC), hemoglobin concentration (HB) and mortality.
They reported that mice mortality was higher in the absence of supplementation, although the difference was not significant.
Supplementation also did not reduce parasitemia.
On the other hand, supplementation with vitamin C-zinc (30:70) increased survival and produced better results (improved PCV and HB) than the other combinations used.
Ekeh FN, Ekechukwu NE, Chukwuma CF, Aguzie IO, Ohanu CM, Ebido C, Oluah SN. MIXED VITAMIN C AND ZINC DIET SUPPLEMENTS CO-ADMINISTERED WITH ARTEMETHER DRUG IMPROVED HAEMATOLOGICAL PROFILE AND SURVIVAL OF MICE INFECTED WITH PLASMODIUM BERGHEI. Food Science and Human Wellness. September 2019;8(3):275–282. DOI: 10.1016/j.fshw.2019.05.003