Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

News > Research

Read more breaking news



No need for daily iron supplementation in pregnancy, says Cochrane

By Nathan Gray+


No need for daily iron supplementation says Cochrane review

Taking iron supplements one to three times a week instead of every day is just as effective at preventing anaemia in pregnant women, according to the findings of a new Cochrane review.

The systematic review – led by researchers from the World Health Organisation (WHO) – investigated the benefits and harms of intermittent supplementation with iron alone supplements, both alone and in combination with folic acid or other vitamins and minerals, in pregnant women.

Juan Pablo Peña-Rosas, department of nutrition for health and development at the WHO, and his research team compiled data from more than 4,000 women in 18 different clinical studies – finding that overall taking fewer iron supplements during pregnancy works just as well for preventing anemia as taking one per day.

"Intermittent iron supplementation could be considered as a feasible alternative to daily supplementation for preventing anaemia during pregnancy, particularly in developed countries where anaemia in pregnancy is not a public health problem and there is good antenatal care for monitoring anaemia status," said Peña-Rosas.

He noted that the review also showed that women experienced fewer side effects when taking iron supplements intermittently rather than daily.

Iron deficiency

A lack of iron can lead to low levels of haemoglobin in the blood – known as anaemia. In pregnant women this can potentially increase the risk of complications at delivery.

Peña-Rosas noted that it may also be harmful to their babies, through increased risk of low birth weight and delayed growth and development later in life.

However, he added that haemoglobin levels should be carefully controlled during pregnancy, because high concentrations have also been associated with an increased risk of babies being born early or with low birth weight.

Study details

The researchers analysed data from 18 trials involving a total of 4,072 pregnant women who took iron supplements alone, with folic acid or with multi-vitamin and mineral supplements.

According to the results, women who took iron supplements once, twice or three times a week on non-consecutive days were no more likely to suffer from anaemia by the end of their pregnancies than those who took them daily.

The team also found that their babies were no more likely to be born early or have a low birth weight.

Furthermore, those taking the supplements intermittently rather than daily were less likely to experience side effects including nausea, constipation and high haemoglobin levels during pregnancy.

Although the evidence is limited and the quality of the trials was low or very low, intermittent [supplementation] may be a feasible alternative to daily iron supplementation among those pregnant women who are not anaemic and have adequate antenatal care,” concluded the WHO reviewers.

Source: The Cochrane Library
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009997
“Intermittent oral iron supplementation during pregnancy”
Authors: J. P. Peña-Rosas, L.M. De-Regil,  T. Dowswell, F.E. Viteri

Related products

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars