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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jul;66(1):177-83.

Weekly micronutrient supplementation to build iron stores in female Indonesian adolescents.

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  • 1Regional South East Asian Ministries of Education Organization Center for Community Nutrition, University of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.


Different supplementation schemes to build iron stores in female Indonesian adolescents were investigated. Subjects were 273 high-school girls allocated randomly to four treatment groups. During a 3-mo period one group received 60 mg Fe, 750 micrograms retinol, 250 micrograms folic acid, and 60 mg vitamin C per day; a second group received 60 mg Fe, 6000 micrograms retinol, 500 mg folic acid, and 60 mg vitamin C once a week; a third group received 120 mg Fe and the same amount of the other three micronutrients as the second group once a week; and a fourth group received only placebos. All subjects were dewormed and supplement allocation was double blind. Blood samples were collected at baseline, after 2 and 3 mo of supplementation, and 6 mo after the last supplement. After 2 mo of supplementation, groups supplemented weekly and daily showed similar significant improvements (P < 0.001) in hemoglobin and retinol concentrations, and supplementation for 3 instead of 2 mo did not significantly increase these two indicators. After 3 mo, the increase in ferritin was approximately equal to 27 micrograms/L in the daily and 14-15 micrograms/L in the weekly groups (P < 0.001), the latter having a final concentration of 42-45 micrograms/L. At 6 mo postsupplementation there were no significant differences among daily and weekly groups, but the ferritin concentration was still approximately equal to 10-12-micrograms/L higher (P < 0.001) than in the placebo group. The group supplemented weekly with 60 mg Fe complained less about side effects than the other supplemented groups (P < 0.05). Weekly supplementation with 60 mg Fe and 6000 micrograms retinol for 3 mo was optimal for improving the iron status of the adolescents for approximately equal to 9 mo.

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