In a recent study, giving iron supplements to anemic children when they have a cold or other upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) significantly improved their iron status without increasing stomach upset or other side effects, says a Penn State nutritionist.
Dr. Namanjeet Ahluwalia, associate professor of nutrition and principle investigator on the research team, says, "Because of conflicting results from previous studies, physicians preferred to be cautious and generally withhold iron until a child was infection-free – which could delay the benefits of treatment if a child is iron deficient.
"Our study – the first controlled study in young children with recurrent URTI to date -- shows no increase in gastro-intestinal or other side effects from supplementation. In fact, children who received the iron supplement experienced 9 to 10 fewer sick days than those who did not. Those who did not receive supplementation were sick more often and for longer periods of time."
Barbara Hale | EurekAlert!
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