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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Hunt, Janet

Submitted to: International Society For Trace Elements Research In Humans
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2004
Publication Date: 12/1/2004
Citation: Hunt, J.R. 2004. Combating iron deficiency - supplementation, fortification, and dietary tactics [abstract]. The Journal of Trace Elements in Experimental Medicine. 17(4):259.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Deficiency of iron and the associated anemia, which adversely influence cognitive and immune function and diminish work capacity, affect more than 3.5 billion people worldwide. Strategies for the improvement of iron nutrition include supplementation, fortification, and dietary approaches. Iron status indices have improved with the quantitative assessment of body iron, based on the ratio of serum transferrin receptor to serum ferritin. Challenges of iron supplementation include effective delivery, acceptance, and gastrointestinal tolerance. Daily iron supplementation reduces the intestinal absorptive efficiency, and is not clearly superior to weekly iron supplementation. Effective fortification of sauces in rice-based diets has been demonstrated with NaFeEDTA, a form efficiently absorbed even from diets high in phytic acid. Other promising fortificants include iron chelated with amino acids, and iron micronized and encapsulated to maintain a readily soluble particle size. The effectiveness of elemental iron powders (carbonyl, electrolytic, reduced) varies considerably with large differences in solubility and surface area, dependent on commercial production methods. Diets with high, but not low iron bioavailability enable women to absorb iron in inverse proportion to their body iron, but the high impact of dietary bioavailability in short-term absorption studies is not readily observed in longer trials to improve iron status. Addressing iron deficiency requires a multifactorial approach with supplementation, fortification, and, ultimately, accessible and varied diets.

Last Modified: 07/25/2017
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