evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

Maize porridge enriched with a micronutrient powder containing low-dose iron as NaFeEDTA, but not amaranth grain flour, reduces anemia and iron deficiency in Kenyan preschool children.

In Under-nutrition on October 6, 2012 at 6:06 am

Macharia-Mutie CW, Moretti D, Van den Briel N, Omusundi AM, Mwangi AM, Kok FJ, Zimmermann MB, Brouwer ID

J Nutrition 142: 1756-1763, 2012

Abstract 

Few studies have evaluated the impact of fortification with iron-rich foods such as amaranth grain and multi-micronutrient powder (MNP) containing low doses of highly bioavailable iron to control iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in children.

We assessed the efficacy of maize porridge enriched with amaranth grain or MNP to reduce IDA in Kenyan preschool children. In a 16-wk intervention trial, children (n = 279; 12-59 mo) were randomly assigned to: unrefined maize porridge (control; 4.1 mg of iron/meal; phytate:iron molar ratio 5:1); unrefined maize (30%) and amaranth grain (70%) porridge (amaranth group; 23 mg of iron/meal; phytate:iron molar ratio 3:1); or unrefined maize porridge with MNP (MNP group; 6.6 mg iron/meal; phytate:iron molar ratio 2.6:1; 2.5 mg iron as NaFeEDTA).

Primary outcomes were anemia and iron status with treatment effects estimated relative to control. At baseline, 38% were anemic and 30% iron deficient.

Consumption of MNP reduced the prevalence of anemia [-46% (95% CI: -67, -12)], iron deficiency [-70% (95% CI: -89, -16)], and IDA [-75% (95% CI: -92, -20)]. The soluble transferrin receptor [-10% (95% CI: -16, -4)] concentration was lower, whereas the hemoglobin (Hb) [2.7 g/L (95% CI: 0.4, 5.1)] and plasma ferritin [40% (95% CI: 10, 95)] concentrations increased in the MNP group. There was no significant change in Hb or iron status in the amaranth group.

Consumption of maize porridge fortified with low-dose, highly bioavailable iron MNP can reduce the prevalence of IDA in preschool children. In contrast, fortification with amaranth grain did not improve iron status despite a large increase in iron intake, likely due to high ratio of phytic acid:iron in the meal.

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