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Clinical Trial
, 128 (5), 855-9

Iron Nutritional Status Is Improved in Brazilian Preterm Infants Fed Food Cooked in Iron Pots

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Clinical Trial

Iron Nutritional Status Is Improved in Brazilian Preterm Infants Fed Food Cooked in Iron Pots

E V Borigato et al. J Nutr.

Abstract

To determine the efficacy of cooking food in iron pots to prevent anemia in premature infants, a longitudinal study on iron nutritional status was conducted in preterm, healthy infants from families of low socioeconomic level between mo 4 and 12 of life. The infants were divided randomly into two groups. The study group consisted of 22 infants whose food was cooked in iron pots; the control group consisted of 23 infants whose food was cooked in aluminum pots. Supplemental iron [2 mg/(kg.d)] was recommended from 15 d to 12 mo of age for both groups. At 12 mo of age, the group fed food cooked in iron pots had significantly better hematologic values than the group fed food cooked in aluminum pots. Differences included hemoglobin (116 +/- 16 vs. 103 +/- 20 g/L, P = 0.02), hematocrit (0.35 +/- 0.04 vs. 0.31 +/- 0.05, P = 0.005), mean corpuscular volume (72.1 +/- 10.4 vs. 62.7 +/- 11.1 fL, P = 0.005), free erythrocyte protoporphyrin (0.78 +/- 0.60 vs. 1.46 +/- 0.94 mol/L, P = 0.006) and serum ferritin (median 5 vs. 0 g/L, P = 0.001). No significant differences between groups were observed in serum iron concentration, total iron-binding capacity or transferrin saturation. Iron deficiency anemia (hemoglobin </= 110 g/L) was observed in 36.4% (8 of 22) of infants in the group fed food cooked in iron pots and in 73.9% (17 of 23) of the infants fed food cooked in aluminum pots (P = 0.03). These results indicate that the iron added to food cooked in iron pots is bioavailable. However, this increased iron availability was insufficient to satisfy the high iron requirements of this group of preterm infants.

PIP: A longitudinal study on iron nutritional status was carried out among 45 preterm, healthy infants 4-12 months of age from low-income families in Sao Paulo State, Brazil. The aim of the study was to determine whether cooking food in iron pots has the potential to prevent anemia in premature infants. 22 infants were randomly assigned to receive food cooked in iron pots, while food for the 23 controls was prepared in aluminum pots. Mothers of infants in both groups were instructed to administer 2 mg of ferrous sulfate starting at 15 days of age. At study onset, when infants were 4 months of age, there were no differences between these two groups in hematologic parameters. By 12 months of age, the children fed food from in iron pots had significantly more favorable hematologic values than control children. These differences included mean hemoglobin (116 vs. 103 g/L), hematocrit (0.35 vs. 0.31), mean corpuscular volume (72.1 vs. 62.7 fL), free erythrocyte protoporphyrin (0.78 vs. 1.46 mol/L), and median serum ferritin (5 vs. 0 g/L). There were no significant differences between groups in serum iron concentration, total iron-binding capacity, or transferrin saturation. Iron deficiency anemia (hemoglobin of 110 g/L or less) was found in 8 infants (36.4%) in the group fed food cooked in iron pots and 17 infants (73.9%) fed food prepared in aluminum pots. Although these findings indicate that the iron added to foods cooked in iron pots is bioavailable, the amount obtained through this process is insufficient to replenish depleted iron stores during the first year of life. This intervention merits consideration, however, as an adjunct to programs aimed at preventing iron deficiency in premature infants.

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