Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Extra iron doesn't help many pregnant women, study suggests

Date:
March 13, 2011
Source:
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
Summary:
Although universal prenatal supplementation with iron is recommended, an extra intake of iron does not noticeably benefit pregnant women, except when they are anemic, new research suggests.

Although universal prenatal supplementation with iron is recommended, an extra intake of iron does not noticeably benefit pregnant women, except when they are anemic. This was observed by researchers of the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp and colleagues who followed more than a thousand pregnant women in Burkina Faso.

Our body needs iron to produce hemoglobin, the substance in our red blood cells responsible for the transport of oxygen through our body. In Western countries anemia -- a shortage of oxygen transporters -- is rare, but in Africa up to half of all women are anemic. Of the 1268 pregnant women in this study, 43% was anemic.

Half of those women received daily pills with 60 milligrams of iron (plus folic acid); the other half received 30 mg of iron (plus folic acid, zinc, vitamins A and C and other micronutrients). Chance decided who got what. The women took the pills until 3 months after delivery. At the end of the study, all women ended up with about the same levels of iron in their blood, regardless of how much iron they had taken. They al had around 11 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter of blood, say slightly below normal.

During pregnancy, when also the growing child needs oxygen, women need more iron than normally, certainly towards the end of their pregnancy. But the administration of extra iron to the 'normal' women could not prevent their hemoglobin levels from (slightly) dropping. "The benefit of iron supplements in nonanemic women is unclear," the authors conclude in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In Africa, where many people are malnourished, and where parasites also take their part, many women suffer from iron-poor blood. That of course has to be supplemented. In anemic women the pills made the iron levels go up, to the same level as in the other pregnant women: a bit below normal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dominique Roberfroid, Lieven Huybregts, Jean-Pierre Habicht, Hermann Lanou, Marie-Claire Henry, Nicolas Meda, Umberto D'alessandro, Patrick Kolsteren and for the Misame Study Group. Randomized controlled trial of 2 prenatal iron supplements: is there a dose-response relation with maternal hemoglobin? AJCN, March 2011 DOI: 10.3945/​ajcn.110.006239

Cite This Page:

Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. "Extra iron doesn't help many pregnant women, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311121840.htm>.
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. (2011, March 13). Extra iron doesn't help many pregnant women, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311121840.htm
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. "Extra iron doesn't help many pregnant women, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311121840.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins