Iron supplements found to have long-term behavioral benefits for low birthweight babies

feb7a262-c4b6-4fe5-be42-4e96f01f825barticleimage.jpg

28 Sep 2017 --- Babies classified as low birthweight (under 2,500 grams) are at risk of iron deficiency, which is linked to impaired neurological development. A long-term randomized study has now shown that providing such babies with iron supplements can prevent behavioral problems, lowering levels of aggression and rule-breaking behavior at school age.

"Our findings suggest that iron supplementation may have long-lasting effects on behavioral functions in children born of a low birth weight," says lead author Staffan Berglund of Umeå University in Sweden. “This clinically important benefit from early iron supplementation gives further support to recommend iron supplementation of all low birth weight children, including those with marginally low birth weight.”

The findings are part of ongoing Swedish research involving 285 late preterm and term infants who weighed between 2,000 grams and 2,500 grams at birth, and were defined as being marginally low birthweight. This group represents a significant number of all births. The babies were randomly selected to receive either no iron supplements, or specific doses from the age of six weeks to six months.

Research up until now has shown that those babies given iron supplements had a lower risk of suffering from iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia by the time they were six months old. When the participants were tested again when they were 3-and-a-half years old, the ones in the supplement group had fewer behavioral problems than those who went without extra iron.

In this study, 207 of the participants from the initial investigation were tested at the age of seven. 

Berglund and his fellow researchers wanted to see if the early iron intervention influenced the children's cognitive and neurobehavioral abilities. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children was used to assess the children's cognitive abilities. Their parents completed two standardized questionnaires about their children's behavior.

Although no major differences were found in the intelligence scores of the children in the two test groups, the magnitude of the intervention group to show externalizing problems was significantly reduced compared to that of the children in the other. They had lower levels of aggressive and rule-breaking behavior and did not suffer as many thought problems. 

The thought problems in question were recently shown to be the best independent predictor of autism spectrum disorders. This suggests that the behavioral and emotional profiles of low birth weight children who did not receive iron supplements include different symptoms of subclinical neurodevelopmental problems.

On the population level, this finding is important, since marginally low birth weight infants represent a relatively large proportion of all births. Up to five percent of infants born in high-income countries and fifteen percent of those in low-income countries are defined as such.

The study is published in the journal Pediatric Research.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

Family awareness highlighted during World Diabetes Day

14 Nov 2018 --- Four in five parents have trouble recognizing the warning signs of diabetes, according to research by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). To mark this year’s World Diabetes Day, IDF is seeking to raise awareness of the effect diabetes has on the family, with a particular focus on prevention and management of the disease. 

Health & Nutrition News

Bone broth growth: Essentia taps healthier alternative trends with new organic beef bone broth powder

14 Nov 2018 --- Trends toward high-protein, low carb foods are driving innovation at Essentia Protein Solutions which is tapping into the growing popularity of bone broth as part of its showcase during the forthcoming Food Matters Live, in London next week (20-22 November 2018). The company will be presenting a range of nutrient-rich applications including a new organic beef bone broth, a collagen peptide-based cordial drink and a high protein pork crunch snack.

Health & Nutrition News

Supplement use in China could ease the double burden of malnutrition, researchers note

14 Nov 2018 --- Despite the Chinese population displaying deficiencies in some key nutrients, such as vitamin B2 and calcium, research has shown that the use of nutritional supplements is relatively low. The involved researchers suggest that adequate supplementation could help to ease the double burden of malnutrition facing the country. 

Health & Nutrition News

How vitamin D and fish oil reduce heart attack, stroke and cancer risk: Long-awaited VITAL study bears first results

13 Nov 2018 --- Omega 3 fatty acids can aid in reducing the risk of heart attacks, especially among African Americans, while vitamin D can reduce cancer deaths over time. These are among the long-awaited findings of the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) study. VITAL is the first randomized clinical trial of a general population large enough to adequately address questions surrounding the effects of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids derived from fish oil, in high doses, on the risk of diseases such as heart attack, stroke and cancer.

Health & Nutrition News

Beef extract obtained from cooking process may boost exercise performance, mice study finds 

13 Nov 2018 --- An extract obtained by cooking beef could improve exercise performance and lessen post-exercise fatigue, a mice study published in Nutrients has found. The study sought to evaluate the potential beneficial effects of beef extract on exercise performance, as well as the related role of the gut microbiota. Although the extract was found to improve exercise performance by preserving muscle glycogen, it was independent of any relationship with the gut microbiota.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/iron-supplements-found-to-have-long-term-behavioral-benefits-for-low-birthweight-babies.html