Asymptomatic giardiasis does not affect iron absorption in children with iron deficiency anemia

J Am Coll Nutr. 1996 Oct;15(5):434-8. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1996.10718621.


Objective: Malabsorption of iron has been reported in children with symptomatic giardiasis. The aim of this study was to evaluate intestinal absorption of iron in children with asymptomatic giardiasis and iron deficiency anemia.

Subjects: Based upon results of blood hemoglobin and stool examination, two groups were established: asymptomatic giardiasis and anemia, and anemia without intestinal parasitosis (control group). Patients were aged 1-6 years. There was no difference in age, weight, height, or iron nutritional status between the asymptomatic giardiasis and control groups on admission to the study.

Measures: Intestinal absorption of iron was evaluated using the iron tolerance test and the hemoglobin response to iron therapy. The serum iron tolerance test was based on the increment of iron level 2 hours after administering an iron load of 1 mg/kg of elemental iron in the form of ferrous sulfate, in comparison to the fasting iron level. Hemoglobin response to oral iron therapy was determined by the increment of hemoglobin on day 30 of therapy with ferrous sulfate (5 mg/kg/day of elemental iron).

Results: There was no statistical difference between the asymptomatic giardiasis and control groups with reference to the iron tolerance test (159.1 +/- 73.1 micrograms/dl and 154.5 +/- 76.5 micrograms/dl, respectively) and to the hemoglobin response to iron therapy (1.5 +/- 0.7 g/dl and 1.8 +/- 1.1 g/dl, respectively). The presence or absence of trophozoites of Giardia lamblia on duodenal aspirate did not affect intestinal absorption of iron.

Conclusion: Asymptomatic giardiasis did not affect the intestinal absorption of iron and the hemoglobin response to oral iron therapy in iron-deficient anemic children.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / complications*
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Giardiasis / complications*
  • Giardiasis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Iron / administration & dosage
  • Iron / pharmacokinetics*
  • Iron / therapeutic use*
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / complications*
  • Malabsorption Syndromes / metabolism
  • Male


  • Iron