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Benefits and harms of iron supplementation in iron-deficient and iron-sufficient children
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Paediatrics.
2010 (English)In: Nestlé Nutrition workshop series. Paediatric programme, ISSN 1661-6677, Vol. 65, 153-165 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Due to high iron requirements, young children are at risk for iron deficiency anemia. Iron supplements are therefore often recommended, especially since iron deficiency anemia in children is associated with poor neurodevelopment. However, in contrast to most other nutrients, excess iron cannot be excreted by the human body and it has recently been suggested that excessive iron supplementation of young children may have adverse effects on growth, risk of infections, and even on cognitive development. Recent studies support that iron supplements are beneficial in iron-deficient children but there is a risk of adverse effects in those who are iron replete. In populations with a low prevalence of iron deficiency, general supplementation should therefore be avoided. Iron-fortified foods can still be generally recommended since they seem to be safer than medicinal iron supplements, but the level of iron fortification should be limited. General iron supplementation is recommended in areas with a high prevalence of iron deficiency, with the exception of malarious areas where a cautious supplementation approach needs to be adopted, based either on screening or a combination of iron supplements and infection control measures. More studies are urgently needed to better determine the risks and benefits of iron supplementation and iron-fortified foods given to iron-deficient and iron-sufficient children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 65, 153-165 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-38491DOI: 10.1159/000281159PubMedID: 20139680OAI: diva2:378367
Available from: 2010-12-15 Created: 2010-12-15 Last updated: 2011-04-18Bibliographically approved

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