Daily Malaria is responsible currently for more deaths than AIDS, each year more than one million children lose their lives. Unfortunately, because the disease is not prevalent in more developed countries the disease does not get the attention it needs.
Malaria is caused by parasites from the genus Plasmodium which enter an individual’s bloodstream via a mosquito bite. The most frequent cause of infection and the one which results in the worst and most severe strain of malaria is Plasmodium falciparum.
As parasites evolve they are becoming more and more resistant to specific drugs.
Recently a study has been conducted which brings to light that the majority of individuals and children who live in areas with high malaria prevalence have poor nutrition in general. It is speculated that a lack of micronutrients such as Vitamin A and Zinc in the diets of those individuals reduce the probability for a healthy immune system leaving individuals vulnerable to becoming ill from Malaria.
In the human body Zinc is required for a multitude of biological processes among which include protein synthesis (which is a key player in immunity.) Vitamin A is also necessary for maintaining a healthy and strong immune system. The two (Zinc and Vitamin A) are often deemed symbiotic.
In an attempt to determine whether or not Zinc and Vitamin A administered in combination were effective for the reduction of malaria caused illness the authors of the study planned a double-blind study with a placebo in Burkina Faso, located in western Africa. The study was conducted on 150 young children ranging between 6 and 72 months old. Half were given Vitamin A plus Zinc for six days for six months and the other half were simply administered a placebo.
The results were measured post study. It was determined that the number of occurrences of anemia, fever, and presence of the parasites were more prevalent in those given the placebo.