Based on results from a study conducted in Zanzibar2 and other bodies of evidence, it was concluded that untargeted iron supplementation may increase child morbidity and mortality from malaria in the absence of monitoring and treatment programs. A sub-study analysis suggested that adverse events occurred in supplemented children who had not been iron-deficient. The WHO Consultation on Prevention and Control of Iron Deficiency in Infants and Young Children in Malaria Endemic Areas5 concluded that the safety of home fortification, as practiced at that time, is uncertain, whereas food fortification programs are still regarded as safe. In the above-mentioned study in Zanzibar, the negative impact on iron-replete children was demonstrated at levels of 12 mg Fe (as FeSO₄ supplement) per day. The bioavailability of FeSO₄ from a supplement is considerably higher than bioavailability from fortified food, where the amount of available iron depends on the food matrix. The children who showed adverse effects during iron supplementation had therefore been exposed to high doses of absorbed and unabsorbed iron.
For all devoted to nutrition.
Discover the science behind nutrition and our latest initiatives for a promising tomorrow.