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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1987;81(3):421-5.

Micronutrient deficiencies in the aetiology of anaemia in a rural area in The Gambia.

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  • 1University of Cambridge, UK.


Early studies in a rural community in The Gambia led to reports of anaemia in certain sections of the population. More recent investigations concerned with identifying micronutrient deficiencies have elaborated these earlier findings. The major determinant of anaemia is an iron deficiency, leading to a microcytic hypochromic haematological picture. However, riboflavin deficiency, which is very widespread, and which leads to clinical signs in some subjects, appears to impose some limitations on absorption and utilization of iron. A subclinical deficiency of ascorbic acid is also observed and this may further compromise iron status. In addition very poor folate status leads to a macrocytosis in some individuals and may limit the haematological response to iron supplementation.

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