Navigation Links
Routine iron fortification of infant formula linked to poorer development

This press release is available in Spanish.

CHICAGO -- A 10-year follow-up study examining iron-fortified vs. low-iron infant formula suggests that infants with high hemoglobin levels who received iron fortified infant formula have poorer long-term developmental outcomes.

The study, conducted in Santiago, Chile, was published online today ahead of print in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine and raises questions about the optimal amount of iron in infant formula.

"The high prevalence of iron deficiency in infancy has led to routine iron fortification of infant formula and foods in many countries," says lead study author Betsy Lozoff, M.D., a behavioral pediatrician at the University of Michigan Health System and research professor at the University of Michigan Center for Human Growth and Development.

"These interventions help reduce iron-deficiency anemia and iron deficiency without anemia. However, the optimal amount of iron in such products, especially infant formula, is debated," she says.

Iron deficiency affects roughly 25 percent of the world's babies. Some also have iron deficiency anemia in which a lack of iron causes problems with hemoglobin -- the compound that red blood cells use to transport oxygen through the bloodstream.

Lozoff has conducted award-winning research on functional development and iron deficiencies for more than 25 years in India, Costa Rica and Chile. Iron deficiency is the world's single most common nutrient deficiency.

The recent study provides a 10-year follow-up on 835 healthy, full-term infants living in urban areas around Santiago. They were randomized in the trial at 6 months of age to receive formula with or without iron.

The follow-up assessment included 473 children and researchers measured IQ, spatial memory, arithmetic achievement, visual-motor integration, visual perception and motor functioning.

Compared to the low-iron group, the iron-fortified group scored lower on every 10-year outcome measured.

Of the seven tests administered at the 10-year follow-up, two (spatial memory and VMI) showed statistically significant lower scores in the iron-fortified group compared to the low-iron group, and four (IQ, visual perception, motor coordination and arithmetic achievement) showed suggestive trends that did not reach statistical significance.

No statistically significant differences were found in iron status at 10 years, and only one child had iron-deficiency anemia. Less than 10 percent of infants in the iron-fortified group met criteria for iron deficiency.

The authors also found that children with the highest hemoglobin levels at 6 months of age had lower 10-year scores if they had received the iron-fortified formula, but those with the lowest 6-month hemoglobin levels had higher scores.

"In conclusion, this study indicates poorer long-term developmental outcome in infants with high hemoglobin concentrations who received formula fortified with iron at levels currently used in the United States," the study authors write. "Optimal amounts of iron in infant formula warrant further study."

In an accompanying editorial, Parul Christian, Dr.P.H., M.Sc., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, writes that the importance of the study "lies in its evaluation of the long-term developmental outcomes of an early-infancy iron intervention."

He notes, however, that, "Caution is needed in generalizing the results of the follow-up study by Lozoff et al, which stands, as yet, alone in showing small-sized negative consequences on developmental outcomes among iron-sufficient children exposed to iron-fortified vs. low-iron formula during infancy.

"Whether iron deficiency in infancy, manifest largely due to deficiency in utero, can be overcome with supplementation during infancy for improving central nervous system development and function needs to be further examined in rigorous studies of short and long duration," he writes.

Contact: Shantell M. Kirkendoll
University of Michigan Health System

Related biology news :

1. Study: Carbon monoxide exposure can be reduced during routine anesthesia in kids
2. Capitol Hill briefing to focus on Denmarks ban on routine antibiotic use in food animal production
3. Even healthy cats act sick when their routine is disrupted
4. Study finds routine periodic fasting is good for your health, and your heart
5. Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital expand national childrens study to Bristol County
6. Biomarkers for identifying infant infections
7. Baby talk: The roots of the early vocabulary in infants learning from speech
8. UNC, Yale partner to study effects of cocaine use on mother-infant relationships
9. UNC expands brain imaging study of infants at risk for autism
10. Vitamin D deficiency in infants and nursing mothers carries long-term disease risks
11. Benefits of breastfeeding outweigh risk of infant exposure to environmental chemicals in breastmilk
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/20/2015)... November 20, 2015 NXTD ) ... on the growing mobile commerce market and creator of ... Pereira , was recently interviewed on The RedChip ... on this weekend on Bloomberg Europe , Bloomberg ... --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... PHILADELPHIA , Nov. 18, 2015  As new ... in children, doctors and other healthcare providers face challenges ... counsel families and patients. In addition, as more children ... into a patient,s adulthood and old age. ... The Children,s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) . ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... November 17, 2015 Paris ... 2015.  --> Paris , qui ... DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a inventé ... passeports et empreintes sur la même surface de balayage. ... et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un seul ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... November 25, 2015 Studies reveal ... human plaque and pave the way for more effective treatment ... cats     --> ... diagnosed health problems in cats, yet relatively little was understood ... collaborative studies have been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 2015 , ... A long-standing partnership between the Academy of ... formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. , AMA Executive Director ... Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at AMA Headquarters in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) ... research organisation (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing ... lower margins but higher volume share for the ... and scale, however, margins in the CRO industry ... (CRO) Market ( ), finds that ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" ... reported financial results for the quarter ended September ... in Canadian dollars and presented under International Financial ... States ," said Andrew Rae , ... regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: