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Eur J Clin Nutr. 1998 Jun;52(6):383-8.

Determining factors in the iron status of adult women in the SU.VI.MAX study. SUpplementation en VItamines et Minéraux AntioXydants.

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Institut Scientifique et Technique de la Nutrition et l'Alimentation, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France.


The iron status of a national sample of adults living in France and participating in the SU.VI.MAX cohort, was assessed using serum ferritin and hemoglobin concentrations. Complete data were obtained for 6648 women 35-60 y old and for 3283 men 45-60 y old. Assessment of iron dietary intakes was realized on a subsample of 3111 women and 2337 men who reported six 24 h dietary records during a one-year period; 22.7% of menstruating women and 5.3% of post-menopausal women presented a total depletion of iron stores (serum ferritin < 15 microg/l). Iron-deficient anemias were found in, respectively, 4.4% and less than 1% of these women. Three-quarters of the anemias were related to iron deficiency in menstruating women. In men, iron depletion and iron deficiency anemia were very rare. Post-menopausal women had much higher serum ferritin levels than menstruating women. In menstruating women, those using intrauterine devices had significantly lower serum ferritin levels than those without contraception, and much lower than those using oral contraception. The frequency of iron depletion reached 28.1% in women using intrauterine devices, but only 13.6% in those using oral contraceptives. The mean iron intake was 16.7 +/- 5.7 mg/d in men and 12.3 +/- 3.4 mg/d in women. Heme iron represented respectively, 11.1 and 10.4% of iron intake. Ninety-three percent of menstruating women had dietary iron intakes lower than recommended dietary allowances (RDA); 52.6% consumed less than two thirds of these RDA. In post-menopausal women and men, respectively 27.7% and 3.6% had dietary intakes lower than RDA. Serum ferritin was positively correlated with meat, fish and total iron intake, and negatively correlated with dietary products consumption, calcium and fiber intake.

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