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Treats low blood iron or anemia by helping your body make red blood cells.

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The effects of oral iron supplementation on cognition in older children and adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

This review found some evidence that iron supplementation improved attention and concentration in women and adolescents and intelligence in women and children who were anaemic at baseline. No effects on other cognitive outcomes were found. Further longer term trials were needed to confirm the findings. The review was well conducted and the conclusions appear suitably conservative.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2010

Routine iron/folate supplementation during pregnancy: effect on maternal anaemia and birth outcomes

The authors concluded that preventative iron supplementation significantly reduced the incidence of anaemia in mothers and low birthweight in infants. Differences between the included studies and the studies' unclear quality mean the authors' conclusions should be treated with caution.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2012

Effect of combining multiple micronutrients with iron supplementation on Hb [haemoglobin] response in children: systematic review of randomized controlled trials

This review found the addition of multiple micronutrients to iron supplementation may only marginally improve haemoglobin response in children, compared with iron supplementation alone. However, addition of "other micronutrients" may have a negative effect. Several methodological shortcomings of this review indicate that these conclusions may not be reliable.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2009

Effect of iron supplementation on physical performance in children and adolescents: systematic review of randomized controlled trials

This review evaluated the effect of iron supplementation on the physical performance of children and adolescents. The authors concluded that oral iron supplementation may have a positive effect on the post-exercise heart rate, blood lactate levels and treadmill endurance time. These conclusions have to be viewed with caution given the small number of studies and participants included.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2007

Effects of daily iron supplementation in primary-school-aged children: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

The review concluded that iron supplementation safely improved haematologic and non-haematologic outcomes among primary school aged children in low or middle income settings, and was well-tolerated. The authors’ conclusions may be affected by potential biases in the evidence, and some results were derived from a small subset of studies; the reliability of the conclusions is uncertain.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2013

Intravenous versus oral iron supplementation for the treatment of anemia in CKD: systematic review and meta-analysis

The review concluded that patients with chronic kidney disease on haemodialysis had a better haemoglobin level response when treated for anaemia with iron intravenously compared with oral administration, but the benefit was small for those not on dialysis. The authors' conclusion reflected the evidence presented, but the differences between trials and the short follow-up period should be borne in mind.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2008

Anaemia, prenatal iron use, and risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis

The review concluded that daily prenatal use of iron substantially improved birth weight in a linear dose-response fashion, probably leading to a reduction in risk of low birth weight. An improvement in prenatal mean haemoglobin concentration linearly increased birth weight. These conclusions are likely to be reliable.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2013

Effect of iron supplementation on mental and motor development in children: systematic review of randomised controlled trials

This review concluded that iron supplementation has a modest effect on mental development, in particular for intelligence quotient scores in children 7 years or older, and in those who are initially anaemic or iron-deficient anaemic. Limitations in the review process, along with wide variation amongst the studies, mean that the reliability of the authors' conclusions is unclear.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2005

Routine Iron Supplementation and Screening for Iron Deficiency Anemia in Children Ages 6 to 24 Months: A Systematic Review to Update the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation [Internet]

In 2006, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concluded that the evidence was insufficient to recommend for or against routine screening and supplementation for asymptomatic children ages 6 to 12 months at average risk for iron deficiency anemia but recommended routine iron supplementation for those at increased risk.

Evidence Syntheses - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: March 2015
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Routine Iron Supplementation and Screening for Iron Deficiency Anemia in Pregnant Women: A Systematic Review to Update the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation [Internet]

In 2006, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended routine screening for iron deficiency anemia in asymptomatic, pregnant women but found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine iron supplementation for nonanemic pregnant women.

Evidence Syntheses - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: March 2015
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Vitamin and mineral supplements and thyroid cancer: a systematic review

The purpose of this study was to consolidate epidemiological evidence for the association between dietary supplements of vitamins and minerals and thyroid cancer development, as well as to contribute to evidence-based dietary recommendations for thyroid cancer primary prevention. We carried out a systematic literature review specifically for dietary supplement and thyroid cancer risk. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Dissertations and Theses were systematically searched to identify original epidemiological studies with a comparison group that investigated vitamin or mineral supplementation as an etiological factor for thyroid cancer. In total, 11 independent studies were identified and reviewed. Our qualitative summary showed conflicting results for common antioxidants including vitamins A, C, and E and β-carotene in relation to thyroid cancer. Similarly, results for dietary supplement combinations as well as other individual vitamins and minerals (vitamin B complex, vitamin D, iodine, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and iron) are largely inconsistent across studies. Overall, our review suggested that the current evidence to support any protective or hazardous effect of vitamin or mineral supplements on thyroid cancer development is inconclusive and additional studies addressing previous limitations are necessary to elucidate this possible association. In particular, reverse causality is of major concern and should be addressed by prospective studies with large and representative samples.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2013

What are dietary supplements?

“Vitamins strengthen our immune system,” and “Omega 3 is good for your heart”: Dietary supplements are often marketed using a number of different promises, and they are available everywhere, from pharmacies and supermarkets to the internet. But do we really need all of these tablets, powders and capsules? What makes dietary supplements different from medicine and can they also be harmful?

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: May 24, 2012

Folic acid supplements before conception and in early pregnancy (up to 12 weeks) for the prevention of birth defects

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate used in supplements and fortified foods (like wheat and maize flour) to reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects (NTDs). These include spina bifida (or cleft spine), where there is an opening in one or more of the bones (vertebrae) of the spinal column, and anencephaly where the head (cephalic) end of the neural tube fails to close. Supplementation with folic acid is internationally recommended to women from the moment they are trying to conceive until 12 weeks of pregnancy. Another option recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is that women of reproductive age take weekly iron and folic acid supplements, especially in populations where the prevalence of anaemia is above 20%. Supplementation may also reduce other birth defects such as cleft lip with or without cleft palate and congenital cardiovascular defects. Recently, 5‐methyl‐tetrahydrofolate (5‐MTHF) has been proposed as an alternative to folic acid supplementation. This is because most dietary folate and folic acid are metabolised to 5‐MTHF. Some women have gene characteristics which reduce folate concentration in blood.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2010

Dietary supplements for preventing postnatal depression

Postnatal depression is a common condition that affects women and may impact on their babies. Common symptoms of postnatal depression include fluctuations in mood, mood changes, suicidal ideation and preoccupation with infant well‐being ranging from over‐concern to frank delusions. There is currently not much evidence regarding interventions that might prevent or treat postnatal depression. A diet lacking in certain vitamins, minerals or other nutrients may cause postnatal depression in some women. Correcting this deficiency with dietary supplements might therefore prevent postnatal depression. Examples of possible dietary supplements aimed at preventing postnatal depression include omega‐3 fatty acids, iron, folate, s‐adenosyl‐L‐methionine, vitamin B12 (cobalamin), B6 (pyridoxine), B2 (riboflavin), vitamin D and calcium.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Vitamin, Mineral, and Multivitamin Supplements for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: A Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force [Internet]

In the United States, dietary supplements are commonly used to prevent chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer.

Evidence Syntheses - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: November 2013
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Dietary Supplements in Adults Taking Cardiovascular Drugs [Internet]

A substantial proportion of patients with cardiovascular diseases use dietary supplements in anticipation of benefit. This also poses risks of adverse events from supplement-drug interactions and nonadherence associated with polypharmacy.

Comparative Effectiveness Reviews - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: April 2012
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Use of a powder mix of vitamins and minerals to fortify complementary foods immediately before consumption and improve health and nutrition in children under two years of age

Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, particularly of iron, vitamin A and zinc, affect approximately half of the infants and young children under two years of age worldwide. Exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age and continued breastfeeding for at least two years are recommended to maintain children's adequate health and nutrition. After six months of age, infants start receiving semi‐solid foods but the amount of vitamins and minerals can be insufficient to fulfil all the requirements of the growing baby. Micronutrient powders (MNP) are single‐dose packets of powder containing iron, vitamin A, zinc and other vitamins and minerals that can be sprinkled onto any semi‐solid food at home or at any other point of use to increase the content of essential nutrients in the infant's diet during this period. This is done without changing the usual baby diet.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Effects of micronutrients on growth of children under 5 y of age: meta-analyses of single and multiple nutrient interventions

This review concluded that interventions containing iron only, vitamin A only, and combinations of iron and zinc, iron and vitamin A, or zinc and vitamin A, did not improve growth or weight gain in children under five years old. Due to limitations in the review methods and reporting these findings should be treated with caution.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2009

[Perioperative anemia management: a systematic review and meta-analysis]

Anemia is a risk factor for increased postoperative morbidity and mortality. International guidelines, therefore, recommend preoperative diagnostic work up and causal treatment of anemia. Iron therapy, however, is suspected to negatively affect disease progression in patients with cancer-associated anemia. The objective of our systematic review was to assess the efficacy and safety of perioperative diagnosis and causal therapy of anemia, and to determine the effect of iron supplement on disease progression of cancer.We systematically searched multiple electronic databases. Two persons independently reviewed abstracts and full-text articles. We rated the risk of bias using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool and assessed the quality of the evidence using GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation). Meta-Analyses were performed using the DerSimonian&Laird random effects method. Results indicate that preoperative therapy of anemia could reduce the need for blood transfusions (relative risk: 0,78; 95% confidence interval 0,61-1,02; number needed to treat: 6) For other patient-relevant outcomes the number of events were too small to detect clinically relevant differences. We could not find any evidence that iron supplements have an influence on the progression of tumors.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2014

Options for Treating Restless Legs Syndrome: A Review of the Research for Adults

This summary will cover: What RLS is Treatment options for RLS What researchers have found about RLS treatments

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: August 30, 2013

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