Friday, March 23, 2007

Iron deficiency lowers women's mental abilities

Treating low iron boosts women's mental abilities Reuters/Yahoo!News 3/23/07 "Iron deficiency, even to a moderate degree, can hinder women's memory and learning -- but iron supplements can turn those problems around...researchers at Penn State University found that women with even moderate iron deficiency -- not severe enough to diagnose full-blown anemia -- scored more poorly on tests of memory, attention and learning than women with sufficient iron levels. Those with anemia had the worst scores...After 4 months on iron supplements, however, women who'd been deficient in the mineral showed an improvement in their mental acuity. Those who had a significant rise in an iron-storing protein called ferritin also improved their test performance by 5 to 7 times...the effects of iron deficiency are not limited to the developing brain. Moreover, they challenge the traditional belief that iron deficiency causes no apparent problems until it progresses to full-blown anemia...The recommended iron intake for women ages 19 to 50 is 18 milligrams (mg) per day, and 27 mg during pregnancy."

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