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Pregnant Women Who Are Not Anemic Do Not Benefit From Iron Supplementation – Study

March 2, 2011: 11:39 AM EST
Unless pregnant women are deficient in red blood cells or hemoglobin – in other words, anemic –
iron supplements have no measurable benefit, Belgian researchers found in a study of 1,000 pregnant women in Burkina Faso. Prenatal iron supplements are routinely recommended worldwide, but especially in Africa, where as many as half of all women are anemic. Forty-three percent of the women in the study were anemic. Women in the study randomly consumed either  60 mg of iron with folic acid or 30 mg of iron, folic acid and other vitamins and micronutrients. By the end of the study, however, all of the women had about the same amount of iron in their blood. "The benefit of iron supplements in nonanemic women is unclear," the authors concluded.
Dominique Roberfroid, et al. , "Randomized controlled trial of 2 prenatal iron supplements: is there a dose-response relation with maternal hemoglobin?", The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 02, 2011, © American Society for Nutrition
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