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Iron Supplementation Beneficial in Healthy, Full-Term Infants

Iron Supplementation Beneficial in Healthy, Full-Term Infants

Tuesday, October 7th 2003

Otherwise healthy infants born without iron deficiency benefit from iron supplementation, according to the results of an intervention trial published in the October issue of Pediatrics.

"Iron is required for many relevant central nervous system processes, the most studied being myelination and dopaminergic functioning," write Betsy Lozoff, MD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues. "Evidence for a cause-effect relationship between poorer behavioral/developmental outcome and early iron deficiency remains equivocal."

In this study, healthy, full-term Chilean infants without iron-deficiency anemia at six months were assigned to high- or low-iron groups or to high- or no-added-iron groups. At 12 months of age, the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia and behavioral and developmental outcomes did not differ between high- or low-iron groups. They were therefore combined to form an iron-supplemented group consisting of 1,123 infants for comparison with the no-added-iron group consisting of 534 infants.

At 12 months, iron-deficiency anemia was present in 3.1% of the supplemented group and in 22.6% of the unsupplemented group. Although global mental and motor test scores were similar in both groups, specific behavioral and developmental outcomes of motor functioning, cognitive processing, and behavior differed between groups. Infants who did not receive supplemental iron processed information more slowly, and they were less likely than supplemented infants to demonstrate positive affect, to interact socially, or to assess their caregivers' reactions.

Unsupplemented infants were less likely to resist giving up toys and test materials or to be soothed by words or objects when upset. Compared with supplemented infants, they crawled somewhat later and were more likely to be tremulous.

"Healthy full-term infants may receive developmental and behavioral benefits from iron supplementation in the first year of life," the authors write. "The results suggest that unsupplemented infants responded less positively to the physical and social environment. The observed differences seem to be congruent with current understanding of the effects of iron deficiency on the developing brain."

The National Institutes of Health supported this study. Abbott-Ross Laboratory provided the infant formula and vitamins.

Sourced from Pediatrics. 2003;112:846-854

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following supplements are all useful for a healthy infant:

Childrens Echinature
De Stuff for Kids
Eutherol
Ferr Phos Tissue Salt
Floravital Liquid Iron
Hi Strength Liquid Fish Oil
Immune Booster for Kids
Inner Health for Kids Powder
Iron4every1
Ironurse
Vitamin and Mineral Boost
Sambucus for Kids
Sniffle Juice

Related health information can be found here:

Breast Feeding
Childbirth
Fatigue
Fluid Retention
Labour
Mineral Power
Morning Sickness
Pregnancy
Pregnancy Nutrients
Water, the Elixir of Life

Related articles can be found here:

A New Baby, a New Body
Calm children at last
Critical Pregnancy Nutrition
Minerals: Critical for Well-being
Nature or Bad Parenting?
Red Raspberry eases pregnancy
Working with Children

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

 

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