BackgroundTuberculosis is a world wide pandemic and a major problem for people in low income countries. The intracellular infection has a bidirectional link with under nutrition, and wasting is a common symptom of the disease. Wasting in tuberculosis patients is associated with the severity of lung disease, low serum level of selenium and higher mortality. Low serum levels may be due to low intake or high body consumption of the components. No assessment of intake of selenium and sulphur amino acids has been done in tuberculosis patients.
ObjectiveThe main objective is to calculate and compare the intake of selenium and sulphur amino acids in tuberculosis patients and appropriately matched healthy adults.
MethodologyParticipants did a one day interactive 24 hour recall at their home together with a structured questionnaire about socio economic status. Results were compared on group level. Local food was collected and analysed with an inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy for selenium content. 7 local samples were collected and analysed for sulphur amino acids and compared to Kenyan and South African food composition tables. The intake was calculated on this basis.
ResultThere was no significant difference in intake of selenium and sulphur amino acids by the two groups. Both TB patients and healthy controls had a low intake of selenium and an adequate intake of sulphur amino acids. Controls ate more staple food but had a lower diversity in the diet than the cases. TB patients had a significant lower body mass index than the healthy controls.
ConclusionThis study indicates that the deficiencies of selenium and thiols in serum found in earlier studies may not entirely be due to a low intake of selenium and sulphur amino acids.