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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Dietary Prevention of Obesity-related Disease Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #135855


item Hunt, Janet

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/31/2002
Publication Date: 2/6/2003
Citation: Hunt, J.R., Johnson, L.K. 2003. Self-reported menstrual losses predict iron status in premenopausal u.s. women [abstract]. Report of the 2003 International Nutritional Anemia Consultative Group (INACG) Symposium. February 6, 2003. Marrakech, Morocco. Abstract #55. p.30.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Background: In industrialized countries, dietary variables generally have been poor predictors of iron status. For premenopausal women in such countries, the magnitude of menstrual blood loss may be at least as important as dietary iron bioavailability in determining iron stores. Aim: To evaluate the relative strength of self-reported indices of iron status to predict iron stores (serum ferritin) in premenopausal women. Method: Healthy premenopausal women (n=262), with median (range) age of 31 (19 to 46) y, and serum ferritin of 27 (3 to 262) ug/L, were recruited by advertising to give a single fasting blood sample and complete a questionnaire plus a 7-day food record, which was reviewed with a dietitian. Results: Menstrual loss, estimated from menstrual period frequency, length, and number of pads/tampons used on days of heaviest menstruation, was the primary predictor of serum ferritin. Those in the upper quartile of menstrual loss (use of >14 products/mo) were nearly 5 times as likely to have low serum ferritin (<12 ug/L) as those in the lower quartile (<6 products/mo). Using stepwise multiple regression and dietary data from the 7-d food record, 26% (R2) of the variance in serum ferritin was predicted by 7 indices (included only if p<0.05): menstrual loss (15%, partial R-square); total meat, poultry and fish intake (3%); years of hormonal contraceptive use (2%); use of aspirin/antacids (2%); blood donations (1%); BMI (1%); and amount of supplemental iron (1%). Age, exercise, parity, dietary iron, vitamin C, calcium, phytic acid, coffee, tea or alcohol consumption did not contribute significantly to the model. Discussion: Among premenopausal women on Western diets, self-reported menstrual losses predict iron stores much more substantially than dietary variables. Hormonal contraceptive modification of menstrual iron loss may be a useful treatment option for Western women with chronic iron deficiency anemia.