The effect of timing of iron supplementation on iron absorption and haemoglobin in post-malaria anaemia
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Phiri, Kamija S.
Zimmermann, Michael B.
Hurrell, Richard F.
- Journal Article
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Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Background In sub-Saharan Africa, children with Plasmodium falciparum malaria and anaemia are often given iron supplementation at the time of malaria treatment. Inflammation during and after malaria may decrease iron absorption, thus, absorption might be improved if the start of supplementation is delayed. The study objective was to measure iron absorption from iron supplements started immediately or delayed by two weeks after completion of therapy against uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. Methods Malawian toddlers (n = 48; age 12–24 months) were alternatively assigned to two groups according to their appearance at the health centre: group A was provided iron supplements (30 mg Fe daily) as a FeSO4-containing syrup for eight weeks starting immediately after malarial treatment; group B was given the iron after a two-week delay. Iron absorption from the syrup was measured on the first day of iron supplementation, and after two and eight weeks in both groups. Haemoglobin (Hb), iron status and inflammation were assessed every two weeks. Fractional iron absorption at each time point and cumulative absorption was quantified by measuring erythrocyte incorporation of 57Fe and compared using mixed models. Results Comparing group A and B, geometric mean iron absorption did not differ on the first day of supplementation (9.0% vs. 11.4%, P = 0.213) and cumulative iron absorption from the three time points did not differ (6.0% vs. 7.2%, P = 0.124). Hb concentration increased in both groups two weeks after malaria treatment (P < 0.001) and did not differ after eight weeks of supplementation (P = 0.542). Conclusions In anaemic toddlers after uncomplicated malaria, a two-week delay in starting iron supplementation did not significantly increase iron absorption or Hb concentration. Iron absorption is sufficiently high in the immediate post-malaria period to warrant supplementation. These findings suggest there is no need to change the current practice of immediate iron supplementation in this setting. Trial registration This trial was registered at Pan African Clinical Trials Registry (pactr.org) as PACTR2010050002141682 Show more
Journal / seriesMalaria Journal
Pages / Article No.
SubjectAnaemia; Iron supplementation; Toddlers; Malaria; Plasmodium falciparum; Stable iron isotope; Haemoglobin; Malawi; Inflammation
Organisational unit03957 - Zimmermann, Michael / Zimmermann, Michael
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