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Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Apr;59(4):908-13.

Functional consequences of iron supplementation in iron-deficient female cotton mill workers in Beijing, China.

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  • 1Institute of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Beijing.


Eighty iron-deficient, nonpregnant female workers were randomly assigned to ferrous sulphate (60 or 120 mg Fe/d) or placebo treatment for 12 wk. Energy expenditure was estimated during 3 d by heart rate (HR) recording. Production efficiency (PE) was calculated as the ratio of productivity to energy expenditure. In the iron-treated group mean hemoglobin (Hb) increased from 114 to 127 g/L (P < 0.001), mean serum ferritin increased from 9.7 to 30.0 micrograms/L (P < 0.001), and mean free erythrocyte protoporphyrin decreased from 1.01 to 0.49 mumol/L (P < 0.001). Mean HR at work decreased from 95.5 to 91.1 beats/min (P < 0.001), which was inversely correlated with the change in Hb (r = -0.60, P < 0.001). PE increased significantly in the iron-treated group (P < 0.001) and its change paralleled the change in Hb (r = 0.58, P < 0.001). The results show that iron supplementation enabled these women to do the same work at a lower energy cost.

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