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Iron reduces fatigue in non-anaemic women
[Posted: Tue 10/07/2012 by Gillian Tsoi www.irishhealth.com]
Iron supplements may reduce fatigue by almost 50% in women who are low in iron but not anaemic, according to new research.
Experts carried out a study involving 198 menstruating women between the ages of 18 and 50 years.
The women were split into two groups: one took daily oral supplements of 80 mg of slow-release ferrous sulfate (a type of iron used to treat iron deficiency anaemia), and the other group took a placebo.
Neither the women nor their healthcare providers knew which group was receiving the supplement versus placebo.
The women who were given an iron supplementation for 12 weeks saw a decreased fatigue by almost 50%. Meanwhile, those who took a placebo experienced a decrease in fatigue by only 19%.
Fatigue is common in patients in primary care practices, with 14% to 27% suffering from fatigue and 1% to 2% of visits specifically for fatigue.
Women are three times more likely than men to report fatigue. Positive effects on hemoglobin, ferritin and other blood levels were evident as early as six weeks after iron supplementation.
According to the researchers, iron did not affect anxiety, depression or the physical and psychological performance of the women in the study.
The research was carried out by Dr Bernard Favrat, from the Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and colleagues.
"Iron deficiency may be an under-recognised cause of fatigue in women of child-bearing age," they said.
"If fatigue is not due to secondary causes, the identification of iron deficiency as a potential cause may prevent inappropriate attribution of symptoms to putative emotional causes or life stressors, thereby reducing the unnecessary use of health care resources, including inappropriate pharmacologic treatments," concluded the researchers.
The results of a clinical trial were published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
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