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Blood. 2003 May 1;101(9):3359-64. Epub 2003 Jan 9.

The quantitative assessment of body iron.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160-7233, USA. jcook1@kumc.edu

Abstract

Current initiatives to reduce the high prevalence of nutritional iron deficiency have highlighted the need for reliable epidemiologic methods to assess iron status. The present report describes a method for estimating body iron based on the ratio of the serum transferrin receptor to serum ferritin. Analysis showed a single normal distribution of body iron stores in US men aged 20 to 65 years (mean +/- 1 SD, 9.82 +/- 2.82 mg/kg). A single normal distribution was also observed in pregnant Jamaican women (mean +/- 1 SD, 0.09 +/- 4.48 mg/kg). Distribution analysis in US women aged 20 to 45 years indicated 2 populations; 93% of women had body iron stores averaging 5.5 +/- 3.35 mg/kg (mean +/- 1 SD), whereas the remaining 7% of women had a mean tissue iron deficit of 3.87 +/- 3.23 mg/kg. Calculations of body iron in trials of iron supplementation in Jamaica and iron fortification in Vietnam demonstrated that the method can be used to calculate absorption of the added iron. Quantitative estimates of body iron greatly enhance the evaluation of iron status and the sensitivity of iron intervention trials in populations in which inflammation is uncommon or has been excluded by laboratory screening. The method is useful clinically for monitoring iron status in those who are highly susceptible to iron deficiency.

PMID:
12521995
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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