Anemic primary school children can apparently benefit from iron supplements, given daily, according to a new study. The positive outcomes from the supplement are both physical and cognitive, according to the research findings.
The researched was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and noted that nearly 25% of school-aged children capable of being classified as anemic. The affliction is the result of an iron deficiency and can have lasting effects due to disturbing the development of the individual. The deficiency in iron is also associated with the impaired cognitive capabilities. In developing countries, the causes are not only from a lack of dietary iron, but also due to parasites like hookworm and schistosomiasis.
Researchers have noted concern over the negative health effects that are attributed to the lacking iron in diets, and have looked at using supplements to avoid deficiency. The current research results come from over 32 studies that utilized a collective 7,000 children. The research showed that those children that were given an iron supplement were able to show substantial improvements in IQ and other cognitive scores. Children with the supplement were also taller and had improved weight-for-age ratios.
“We found evidence of a benefit of iron supplementation on cognitive performance among primary school-aged children, including on IQ among children with anemia,” said Dr. Sant-Rayn Pasricha of the Royal Melbourne Hospital and a member of the faculty at The University of Melbourne. “Iron may also improve growth.”
Researchers have stated that daily iron supplements help decrease anemia prevalence by nearly 50% and reduce iron deficiency by 79% overall.
“Iron supplementation benefits global cognitive performance,” the researchers concluded in their study.
“Routine daily iron supplementation is likely to benefit cognitive performance in primary schoolchildren in developing settings where anemia is prevalent and testing hemoglobin before iron supplementation may not be feasible.”
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