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Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007 May;10(3):329-35.

Iron requirements, absorption and metabolism in infancy and childhood.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Sciences, Pediatrics, Umeå University, SE-90185 Umeå, Sweden. magnus.domellof@pediatri.umu.se

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Iron deficiency is a significant public health problem in young children due to their high iron requirements, and iron supplements are therefore often recommended. During the time period in focus for this review (2005-2006), there have been additional advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of iron absorption and metabolism. It has also been suggested that iron supplements may have adverse effects in children.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Recently discovered molecules, for example hepcidin, lactoferrin receptor and heme carrier protein may be important for iron metabolism in children. There are possible metabolic interactions between iron and several other minerals. Many studies show that iron deficiency in young children is associated with impaired neurodevelopment but it is not clear whether this can be prevented by iron supplementation. Oral iron supplements given to young children in malarious regions may lead to increased risk of death or severe infections, especially in those who are iron replete.

SUMMARY:

More research is needed to identify those children who will benefit from iron supplementation and to better determine iron requirements during early life. Clinical trials should include functional outcomes. Better knowledge about molecular mechanisms and nutrient interactions may lead to new diagnostic tests and preventive strategies.

PMID:
17414503
DOI:
10.1097/MCO.0b013e3280523aaf
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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