Bern: Iron supplements lowered fatigue by almost 50 percent in women who are low in iron but not anaemic.
Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, dizziness, pallor, hair loss, irritability, weakness, brittle or grooved nails.
"We found that iron supplementation for 12 weeks decreased fatigue by almost 50 percent from baseline, a significant difference of 19 percent compared with placebo, in menstruating iron-deficient non-anaemic women with unexplained fatigue," writes Bernard Favrat, who teaches community medicine at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and study co-author.
The study, a randomized controlled trial involving 198 menstruating women aged between 18 and 50 years, included daily oral supplements of 80 mg of prolonged release ferrous sulphate as well as placebo, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reports.
The trial was double-blinded, meaning neither the participants nor the health care providers knew which group was receiving the supplement versus placebo, according to the results of a clinical trial, according to a Lausanne statement.
Fatigue is common in patients in primary care practices, with 14 percent to 27 percent suffering from fatigue and one to two percent of visits specifically for fatigue. The authors note that iron did not affect anxiety or depression scores or quality of life indicators such as physical and psychological performance.
"Iron deficiency may be an under-recognized cause of fatigue in women of child bearing age," write the authors.
Women are three times more likely than men to report fatigue, says the report