Development, prevention and treatment of iron deficiency in women

Amanda J. Patterson*, Wendy J. Brown, D. C.K. Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Women of childbearing age are at particular risk of developing iron deficiency due to the iron losses associated with menstruation and childbirth. Women in less developed country are often unable to obtain adequate dietary iron for their needs due to poor food supplies and inadequate bioavailable iron. In this situation, fortification and supplementation of the diet with extra iron is a reasonable approach to the prevention and treatment of iron deficiency. In Western countries however, food supply is unlikely to be an issue in the development of iron deficiency, yet studies have shown that many women in these countries receive inadequate dietary iron. Research has shown that the form of iron and the role of enhancers and inhibitors of iron absorption may be more important than total iron intake in determining iron status. Despite this, very little research attention has been paid to the role of diet in the prevention and treatment of iron deficiency. Dietary modification would appear to be viable option for the prevention and treatment of iron deficiency in Western women, especially if the effects of enhancers/inhibitors of absorption are considered. While dietary modification has the potential to address at least part of the cause of iron deficiency in women of childbearing age, its efficacy is yet to be proven.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-502
Number of pages14
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes


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