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Iron supplements might harm infants who have enough
Date:5/4/2008

ry and other visual-motor measures.

Lozoff noted that not many infants in Chile had high hemoglobin levels at the time since there was no iron-fortification program for infants and that more than 5 percent of U.S. infants might have high hemoglobin levels in early infancy.

In this randomized study, healthy infants without iron-deficiency anemia were given formula with either 12 mg or 2.3 mg iron from 6 to 12 months and followed to 10 years. The next step is to test the participants again at age 16, Lozoff said, who says that no such study has been conducted in the United States or elsewhere.

Iron deficiency occurs because babies grow so quickly they often "grow out" of the amount of iron they are born with. Breast milk is thought to contain the iron a baby needs for 4-6 months, Lozoff said. Other important sources of iron for infants include iron-fortified infant formulas and cereals, iron drops and meat.

Infants are typically not tested for hemoglobin or iron levels before 9-12 months. It would be premature to recommend earlier testing or to avoid supplemental iron based on the study's results, Lozoff said. She expects parents to be concerned, but stressed that results must be reproduced in other studies.

"At this point there's no basis for changing practice, but it's really important that we have continued research on this issue," she said.


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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-647-1848
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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