DOI: 10.1177/20543581241234723 ISSN: 2054-3581

Zinc Supplementation Trial in Pediatric Chronic Kidney Disease: Effects on Circulating FGF-23 and Klotho

V. Belostotsky, S. A. Atkinson, G. Filler
  • Nephrology


Zinc status, its role in bone metabolism and efficacy of deficiency correction has not been well studied in children with chronic kidney disease (CKD).


The primary objective was to investigate whether 3 months of oral zinc supplementation corrects zinc deficiency in children with CKD who have native or transplanted kidneys. The secondary objective was to compare circulating intact FGF-23 (iFGF-23), c-terminal FGF-23 (cFGF-23), and Klotho between zinc-sufficient and zinc-deficient children with CKD and to assess the relationship between circulating zinc, iFGF-23, cFGF-23, Klotho, bone biomarkers, copper, and phosphate excretion pre-supplementation and post-supplementation of zinc.


Forty-one children (25 male and 16 female, age 12.94 ± 4.13 years) with CKD in native or transplanted kidneys were recruited through 2 pediatric nephrology divisions in Ontario, Canada. Of those, 14 patients (9 native CKD, 5 transplant CKD) with identified zinc deficiency (64% enrollment rate) received zinc citrate supplement for 3 months: 10 mg orally once (4-8 years) or twice (9-18 years) daily.


Zinc deficiency (plasma concentration < 11.5 µmol/L) was found in 22 patients (53.7%). A linear regression model suggested that zinc concentration reduced by 0.026 µmol/L ( P = .04) for every 1-unit of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) drop. Zinc deficiency status was associated with higher serum iFGF-23; however, this was predominantly determined by the falling GFR. Zinc deficient and sufficient children had similar circulating c-FGF-23 and alpha-Klotho. Normalization of plasma zinc concentration was achieved in 8 (5 native CKD and 3 transplant CKD) out of 14 treated patients rising from 10.04 ± 1.42 to 12.29 ± 3.77 μmol/L ( P = .0038). There were no significant changes in other biochemical measures in all treated patients. A statistically significant ( P = .0078) rise in c-FGF-23 was observed only in a subgroup of 11 children treated with zinc but not receiving calcitriol.


Zinc status is related to kidney function and possibly connected to bone metabolism in patients with CKD. However, it plays a minor role in fine-tuning various metabolic processes. In this exploratory non-randomized study, 3 months supplementation with zinc corrected deficiency in just over half of patients and only modestly affected bone metabolism in asymptomatic CKD patients.

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