The Benefits and Risks of Iron Supplementation in Pregnancy and Childhood

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Abstract

Iron deficiency is the most common micronutrient deficiency in the world and disproportionately affects pregnant women and young children. Iron deficiency has negative effects on pregnancy outcomes in women and on immune function and neurodevelopment in children. Iron supplementation programs have been successful in reducing this health burden. However, iron supplementation of iron-sufficient individuals is likely not necessary and may carry health risks for iron-sufficient and potentially some iron-deficient populations. This review considers the physiology of iron as a nutrient and how this physiology informs decision-making about weighing the benefits and risks of iron supplementation in iron-deficient, iron-sufficient, and iron-overloaded pregnant women and children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-146
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual review of nutrition
Volume39
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 21 2019

Keywords

  • infancy
  • iron
  • malaria
  • neurodevelopment
  • pregnancy
  • supplementation

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