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Nutrients. 2013 Nov 7;5(11):4399-413. doi: 10.3390/nu5114399.

The influence of vitamin A supplementation on iron status.

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Department of Food Science and Experimental Nutrition, School of Pharmacy, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-900, Brazil.


Vitamin A (VA) and iron deficiencies are important nutritional problems, affecting particularly preschool children, as well as pregnant and lactating women. A PubMed (National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA) literature review was carried out to search for clinical trials published from 1992 to 2013 that assessed the influence of vitamin A supplementation on iron status. Simultaneous use of iron and vitamin A supplements seemed to be more effective to prevent iron deficiency anemia than the use of these micronutrients alone. Some studies did not include a placebo group and only a few of them assessed vitamin A status of the individuals at baseline. Moreover, the studies did not consider any inflammatory marker and a reasonable number of iron parameters. Another important limitation was the lack of assessment of hemoglobin variants, especially in regions with a high prevalence of anemia. Assessment of hemoglobin variants, inflammatory markers and anemia of chronic inflammation would be important to the studies investigated. Studies involving different populations are necessary to elucidate the interaction between the two micronutrients, especially regarding iron absorption and modulation of erythropoiesis.

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