Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University in Corvallis, the Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, Texas, the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, say there were surprised by the levels of vitamin E depletion in the fat tissue of eight young third-degree burn victims.
The clinical study, reported in the American Society for Nutrition, found almost half of the children's stored vitamin E was lost within three weeks -- despite being given 150 percent of the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin and a high-calorie diet.
"The depletion of vitamin E may be a very significant problem in patients with burn injury," the study authors said in a statement.
The researchers expressed concern about the possibility of nerve damage -- already associated both with burn injuries and vitamin E deficiency.
"This is one of the first studies we've done that measures vitamin E in the body tissues of children," principal investigator Maret Traber of Linus Pauling Institute said in a statement. "To find this level of vitamin E loss in such a short time was dramatic, unexpected and somewhat alarming."