Background: Hemoglobin levels slightly below the lower limit of normal are common in adults in the general population in developing countries. A few human studies have suggested the use of antioxidant vitamins in the correction of mild anemia. The objective of the present study was to investigate the association of vitamin E supplementation in mildly anemic healthy adults with post-supplemental blood hemoglobin levels in the general population of Karachi, Pakistan.
Method: In a single-blinded and placebo-controlled randomized trial, 124 mildly anemic subjects from the General Practitioners' Clinics and personnel of the Aga Khan University were randomized into intervention (n = 82) and control (n = 42) group. In the intervention group, each subject was given vitamin E (400 mg) everyday for a period of three months, while control group subjects received a placebo. Eighty six subjects completed the trial. Fasting venous blood was collected at baseline and after three months of supplementation. Hemoglobin levels and serum/plasma concentrations of vitamin E, vitamin B12, folate, ferritin, serum transferrin receptor (sTfR), glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, creatinine, total-antioxidant-status and erythropoietin were measured and analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA and multiple linear regression.
Results: The adjusted regression coefficients (β) and standard error [SE(β)] of the significant predictors of post-supplemental hemoglobin levels were serum concentration of vitamin E (0.983[0.095]), gender (- 0.656[0.244]), sTfR (- 0.06[0.02]) and baseline hemoglobin levels (0.768[0.077]).
Conclusion: The study showed a positive association between vitamin E supplementation and enhanced hemoglobin levels in mildly anemic adults.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02181348.
Keywords: Pakistani population; anemia; haemoglobin; randomized trial; vitamin E supplementation.