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Open Access Efficacy of iron-fortified Ultra Rice in improving the iron status of women in Mexico

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Background. Universal fortification of staple foods with iron has been widely promoted as a cost-effective strategy to reduce iron deficiency in developing-country populations. Nonetheless, relatively few efficacy trials have been reported to date to demonstrate impact on iron status. The Ultra Rice technology provides a means of delivering fortificant iron via rice.

Objective. The objective of this study was to test the efficacy of rice fortified with microencapsulated, micronized iron pyrophosphate to improve the iron status of women in Mexico in a randomized, controlled intervention trial.

Methods. Nonpregnant, nonlactating women 18 to 49 years of age were recruited from six factories. The women received a daily portion of cooked rice 5 days per week for a period of 6 months, before and after which iron status indicators were determined in venous blood samples.

Results. The average intake of iron from the fortificant was 13 mg/day. Mean plasma ferritin concentration and estimated body iron stores were significantly higher, and transferrin receptors were lower, in the iron-fortified rice group following the intervention. Mean hemoglobin concentration also increased in the treatment group, but the increase was significant only when the analysis was restricted to those with baseline hemoglobin < 12.8 g/dL. The absolute reduction in anemia and iron deficiency was 10.3 and 15.1 percentage points, respectively. Total iron intake from fortificant was a significant covariate of change in body iron stores. The overall prevalence of anemia was reduced by 80%.

Conclusions. Fortification of rice with iron using this technology is an efficacious strategy for preventing iron deficiency.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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