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In developing countries, micronutrient deficiency in infants is associated with growth faltering, morbidity, and delayed motor development. One of the potentially low-cost and sustainable solutions is to use locally producible food for the home fortification of complementary foods. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that locally producible spirulina platensis supplementation would achieve the following: 1) increase infant physical growth, 2) reduce morbidity, and 3) improve motor development. We randomly assigned 501 Zambian infants into the control group or the spirulina group. Children in the control group (n = 250) received a soya-maize-based porridge for 12 months; those in the spirulina group (n = 251) received the same food with the addition of spirulina. We assessed the change in infants' anthropometric status, morbidity (probable pneumonia, cough, probable malaria, and fever), and motor development over 12 months. The baseline characteristics were not different between the two groups. The attrition rate (47/501) was low. The physical growth of infants in the two groups was similar at 12 months of intervention, as measured by height-for-age z-scores and weight-for-age z-scores. Infants in the spirulina group were 11 percentage points less likely to develop a cough (
-0.23, -0.00; P < 0.05) and were more likely to be able to walk alone at 15 months (0.96 ± 0.19) than infants in the control group (0.92 ± 0.28). Home-fortification of complementary foods using spirulina had positive effects on upper respiratory infection morbidity prevention and motor milestone acquisition among Zambian infants.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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A condition in which an infant or child's weight gain and growth are far below usual levels for age.
A genus of filamentous CYANOBACTERIA found in most lakes and ponds. It has been used as a nutritional supplement particularly due to its high protein content.
A method of continuously holding a partially wrapped baby to the chest, involving skin-to-skin contact. Originally it was a method of caring for LOW-BIRTH-WEIGHT INFANT in developing countries and is now more widespread in developed nations. Aside from encouraging breast feeding, the extra sleep that the infant gets assists in regulating body temperature, helps the baby conserve energy, and redirects calorie expenditures toward growth and weight gain.
A human infant born before 37 weeks of GESTATION.
An infant born at or after 42 weeks of gestation.
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism ...
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Alternative medicine are whole medical systems that did not fit with conventional medicine as they have completely different philosophies and ideas on the causes of disease, methods of diagnosis and approaches to treatment. Although often overlapping, co...