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J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Aug;17(4):351-5.

Iron status and non-specific symptoms of female students.

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1
School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the relationship between iron status and non-specific symptoms among female students.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SUBJECTS AND SETTING:

Data were collected from 255 female students, aged 15 to 30 years, attending Curtin University of Technology, Perth or secondary schools in the Perth metropolitan area.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Frequency of non-specific symptoms, psychological distress based on the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), and iron status measured by standard hematological and biochemical tests including serum transferrin receptor.

RESULTS:

Anemic subjects (hemoglobin < 12.0 g/dL) scored significantly higher on the GHQ than non-anemic subjects (p < 0.05). Using univariate analysis, iron deficiency (serum ferritin < or = 12 micrograms/L) was not associated with non-specific symptoms or psychological distress. Among iron-deficient subjects, those using the oral contraceptive pill reported significantly more symptoms (depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating) than non-users.

CONCLUSIONS:

The evidence of an association between iron status and non-specific symptoms was weak with the exception of iron-deficient women using the oral contraceptive pill. Further studies are warranted to determine the role of the oral contraceptive pill in the etiology of depression and other symptoms among iron deficient women.

PMID:
9710844
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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